As an IT professional, like anyone else, mistakes are inevitable. Unfortunately, with your business’s growing reliance on digital data and digital workflows to communicate with colleagues, suppliers and customers alike, every mistake in the IT realm that impacts the operations of laptops, devices, servers, applications and networks makes everyone’s job more difficult.
With that in mind, here are eight common IT asset management mistakes to avoid:
1. You change device settings without thinking it through.
You might think you’re making a simple change. But every change has a domino effect. Before making a change, make sure you plot out who and what might be affected down the chain.
2. You change settings without first taking a backup.
Backing up the current state of the system before changing settings is a critical step for risk management. Performing a backup also gives you an opportunity to review the current state and current settings. This might prove to be invaluable information if problems do occur from the change.
3. You forget to save after changing a setting.
Although it’s a very simple mistake, this failure happens a surprising amount. Depending on the network equipment and business application, there are things that return to the previous setting when the equipment is restarted unless you explicitly save them. Try to make saving changes a part of your overall routine.
4. You don’t document your changes.
Once you have built or managed a system, be sure to leave documentation on the system. And update previously created documents as things change.
5. You forget to notify the user of the change.
Avoid changing the system without contacting the user in advance. No matter how small the change, you should not make it without the actual user’s permission. In addition to problems that might be created, there is a danger of losing the user’s trust not only in you as an individual but also in the entire IT department.
6. You apply changes to a production environment without testing.
Are you tempted to make a change directly in the production environment? Just say “no.” You should use the testing environment instead. Users rely on the production system to work properly at all times, so changes should be first verified in a separate environment in a way that doesn’t interfere with business operations.
7. You attempt to correct something before conducting a complete assessment.
Don’t rush to judgment. Instead, assess the problem and current situation. Doing otherwise is a shortcut to disaster because you may miss an important element that is actually the culprit that needs to be changed.
8. You forget to close the loop with the user.
You did a complete assessment. You correctly targeted the configuration changes that needed to be made. You tested them in an offline environment and confirmed their impacts, and then you applied them to the production environment. You may feel like your job is complete. But you would be wrong to close down for the day and head for home. Don’t forget to ask the user to test the changes on his or her end to ensure that not only is the issue fixed, but also that the user understands how to use it and what the new, corrected outcomes will be.
Mistakes are avoidable as long as you follow this checklist as you make changes or fix issues within your environments. Have a good workday with all systems go!