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Sun, sea and summer IT

Now that the weather is hotting up, the office is no doubt dreaming of far off places and a much deserved break from work.

Of course IT pros also require a break and setting up a strong summer IT infrastructure is just as essential as setting the out of office reply.

For IT pros, preparation is the key to ensuring all bases are covered before jetting off on holiday for a few weeks. The below top tips are designed to help IT pros organise their work life before packing their flip flops!

Prepare for the worst

An inevitable part of any holiday for sysadmins is the phone call from the workaholic in the office who has an “emergency” right as they’re about to leave for the airport. The solution may be as simple as the clichéd “turn it off and on again” or simply locating a lost file or folder, but sometimes ‘that’ workaholic colleague has brought down a critical system.

While we aren’t suggesting sysadmins require psychic ability to take annual leave, they can at least make a good guess as to what systems might fail. Polling colleagues ahead of time as to what systems are critical during a break can help shed some light and help ensure that these are in top working condition before they leave for a well-deserved break!

Prepare the network

High network availability is critical, especially over the summer period with colleagues logging on remotely. IT pros need to ensure they have a backup line in place, which is ready to kick in should the primary one go down.

For business continuity, assessing the risks in advance and having recovery plans in place is essential. For fault tolerance, have secondary routers and firewalls on standby. It’s important to think not only of recovery, but also to plan ahead for process and performance restoration.

For unplanned network configuration changes and errors, the IT team should have the control and means to restore configuration settings to earlier states.

Prepare others’ expectations

Ensuring colleagues know when IT support will and won’t be available is essential. Many colleagues are probably guilty of not paying attention to the holiday dates in their diary until they are frantically attempting to contact someone with an IT meltdown, but the more prepared the IT pro is the better.

As such IT pros should create emergency contact sheets and email these to managers and department heads so they know who to call for assistance and the sort of response time they can expect over the summer period.

Prepare the help desk

While the IT team will be on hand to handle any issues while the IT pro is away, it’s important to ensure the workload is balanced. Getting the right person working on each task will minimise downtime and maintain customer satisfaction.

Employing good help desk software can help streamline this by automating distribution of help desk tickets. Make sure the organisation is set up with software that creates rules to forward tickets to the right resources based on the type of work expected.

While the summer period can be busy, both in the office and in the sun, it is important to ensure IT infrastructure is set before the out of office is turned on.

A robust summer IT infrastructure takes a little preparation but will avoid challenges of connectivity and business performance in the long run.

Vinod Mohan, Product Marketing Manager, SolarWinds

Image source: Shutterstock/Willow Dempsey