Some Year end IT tasks.

December 23rd, 2010 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Back ups

With year end audits coming, make sure you have a copy of year end data. Test recovery of your back ups – this is seldom done and there is no better time.  

Clean up systems

Review users work stations. laptops usb drives, extermnal hard disks etc.Are all external devices protected by anti virus?  Maybe time for selected scans.

 Just how many versions of software are you supporting. How many Gb of old windows update patch files are you storing on each PC.  Clean up unwanted and temporary files, defragment hard disks, registry, and databases. Reindex etc. .

Educate users not to store large files on their desktops where they go straight into memory. Teach them to create one folder for shortcuts and to put shortcuts to their key files in this.

Data Purge

Consider your  data retention policies. What should be archived, purged etc to improve systme performance- what are the corporate, auditor  and statutory requirements?.

IT Policies

Review your IT policies. Do these need to be updated for social media, cloud access, mobile access etc.

Review useful unused software

Do your users know how to  use e.g. One Note,  Infopath, Groove, Microsoft Project- most users don’t even master the basics of Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint – maybe start the year with some training to improve efficiency e.g.use of  use of quickparts, templates, toolbar set up and some of the pc based  system administration tools.

Emails

Consider a tool like Exclaimer to merge a signature block with outgoing emails- This allows you to enforce a corporate house style , have a consistent email disclaimer and add marketing messages to all mails.

Get users to sort their Outlook mail boxes and to get rid of those large files with attachments, jokes, etc Don’t forget to check the send and delete folders. Do they use the journal feature or woul it improve performance to switch it off?

Do any mailbox sizes need renewal?

Should you consider planning to  put your emails in the Cloud with Office 365, or Google Appas to remove constraints on mailbox size?

Security

In the wake of Wikileaks it is time to review security. Consioder tools like FideAs for group policy based encryption of shared files, or Spectorsoft to finf out what user really do all day.

Use up that remaining budget

Think about it dont spend for the skae of it but if it was approved inthe first place it was probably for a good reason.  for want of a nail…. etc.  Almost every organization has the “use it or lose it” clause in the budget. Should there be any space left in a budget, it may be a good way to get any additional miscellaneous things, such as cables, tools, or utility software. The unused dollars in a budget may not seem like much, but they can be useful if they let you stock up on little things that are not available next year — especially if the budget for 2011 is smaller than 2010’s!

Keep  your software and hardware maintenance up to date

Make sure that all of the maintenance agreements are in order a  din next year’s budget. Ina dditon oyur erp systems don;t forget Microsft licences, as network switches,  tape drives, printers, and any other IT service that has a service agreement. Aside from support, these usually entitle customers to updates and version upgrades.

 Check for obsolete components

, “Is this still going to be here in good order at the end of next year?” This can be anything from a tape drive, storage array, or server. The best approach is check the product lifecycles for all the devices and software in use, making sure nothing is falling to end-of-life status. I have seen compoanies paying  lease invoices  for fax machines that awer long ago rpelaced by a  fax server, or for pritners that are in disuse. 

Check for powered off systems

Nothing is more unsightly than a rack filled with mostly powered-off servers. Consider virtualization and consolidated of servers. Make it an objectivefor 2011  to save enrgy and floor space.

Rearrange racks and servers

Consider  a new arrangement for the equipment in the data cente and rrevisit the domains of failure. While a rack fully loaded with equipment is visually impressive, it also is a single point of failure in itself. Consider dispersing the workload across the datacenter.

 Updates BIOS, firmware, versions

Tricky if you’re on holiday but there is sledom an opportune time.. Don’t  underestimate the value of a BIOS firmware update for computers, servers, and storage. In fact, when For current products, there is a daily build of the BIOS that goes to the products in the test labs. Year is a good time to plan out any updates to low-level drivers and to software in the operating system. This can be management agents as well as hardware management suites, such as Dell OpenManage and HP Systems Insight Manager.

Old operating systems

Windows 2000 has ended its extended support phase, but it is really time to map out the plan to remove this operating system. This will be similar to how Windows NT was removed, a necessary evil; but it is definitely time. Aside from the operating system being obsolete, if this system is on physical hardware, that too may be obsolete.

Organize workspace and tools

A good time to clean up workspaces. Do we really need old posters on our walls? IT pros are not usually noted for their clean work environments, but a professional appearance is good for any profession. Think of it as spring cleaning in the middle of winter. Try the Japanese 5 S approach for your IT department. Think of it as part of your personal marketing and be proud ot show it off..

 And if you have any time after that have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year because you will deserve it.

 2011 will be here before we know it

These are a few ways to get ready for 2011

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