As a business owner, you likely depend on your IT employees to manage technology issues within your organization — but what would happen if these people suddenly left your company? Do you have the knowledge to keep IT operations running smoothly? If you’re anything like the average small business owner, the answer is probably “no.”
So, how can you ensure the unexpected departure of an employee doesn’t result in catastrophe? Here are a few precautionary steps:
Keep written network documentation. This includes things like passwords, network diagrams, maintenance routines and warranty information. Know where to locate (and how to reset) all passwords following an employee’s resignation. Make sure you have an up-to-date network diagram that clearly outlines the configuration of your current IT resources. Familiarize yourself with restore procedures and maintenance routines, including regularly scheduled backups and updates. All equipment warranty information should also be kept in a safe place. By staying organized from the beginning, business owners can avoid the nightmare of trying to figure out where to find important information in a pinch.
Have a list of vendors. Do you know who services your printers? How about who your phone vendor is? Vendor information is oftentimes undocumented, leaving the business owner to sort out the mess following an employee’s departure. Keep detailed lists of all vendor information, including your primary contact at the company — and make sure you have his mobile phone number, not just the office number.
Maintain thorough records of all licenses and credentials. Keeping track of all software licensing information is just as vital as maintaining good financial records. Failure to do so can be quite expensive, as running unlicensed programs can result in a hefty penalty — and the chances are good that you will be caught. In fact, the Software Alliance (BSA) even ran a “Bust Your Boss!”campaign, enticing workers to report employers running unlicensed software with cash rewards.
Proper licensing isn’t always simple, and tracking down invoices, original packaging and product keys are the last things you want to worry about when facing a BSA audit, so it’s best to maintain detailed records from the get-go.
Hold your employees accountable. Create a system for sharing quarterly updates about anything concerning your IT system with all decision makers. While you may not understand or care about IT, it’s important that you’re in the loop about what’s happening within your company. Never rely solely on one employee to keep track of all IT matters. When that one employee leaves, so does all the information about your IT.
Avoiding an IT catastrophe in the wake of an employee’s exit ultimately comes down to preparation. The more organized you are up front, the smoother the transition will be.
This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.