IT01: Guide to Selecting IT Support
Identify your goals and make a plan.

Step 1: Gathering Information and Making Plans

Standardize

What brands of gear, anti virus and office suites do you have? It’s best to have your PCs, Servers, Printers, and Network all be within their each brand. Mix matching those areas can cause headaches for support. I’d also suggest choosing specialists for your business software and Operating Systems. 

Rolling Replacements

However many devices you have, you might set them up on a rolling term of upgrades. That is, within roughly 5 to 7 years (what I hope you can get from a business PC), there would be a budget for new devices to replace. You would not do the entire business at once, but phasing by date or department. Hopefully, there is some sort of inventory of the equipment with its acquisition date (fixed assets list) that you can refer to.

Identify future plans for improvement. 

Are some of the units past their prime and need replacing? What about hosting your accounting software in the cloud? Have you considered the possibility of having a private on-premise or hybrid cloud? These can save you money over what you have now.

Are there plans for expansion? If so, when might they happen? Plan now to be certain the infrastructure is ready, which includes your internet provider bandwidth.

Considerations

  • Establish a generic email account for registering software and hardware

  • Software and hardware and registered to the company

  • All hardware should have an asset number and date of purchase on the back 

  • Software kept by name, keys, machine, and release in a spreadsheet

  • Maintain all copies of software CDs and downloads 

  • Administrator passwords kept in a spreadsheet

  • Register licensing, maintenance, and other related terms in a universal calendar

  • Create a document of who to call for support by device or software with codes

  • Escalation chart of what to do for failures with names and complete phone numbers


Next Step: Profile of your needs


This paper is one of a series created to help educate and support IT and other decisions for businesses for over 40 years. 

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IT01: Guide to Selecting IT Support
Cletus Robinson 23 July, 2020
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