Is your IT System Knowledge Stored in the IT Person’s Head?

If an IT document solution can reduce risk and decrease cost, it is an essential business operations no-brainer, says Gerhard Conradie, MD of Evolv Networks.

Terry Childs famously refused to hand over the administrative passwords for core network devices after a dispute with the San Francisco Department of Telecommunications and Information Services in 2008.

Disgruntled worker taking revenge? Stand-up guy steadfastly protecting the network he built? Either way, Childs got jail time and the city incurred huge financial losses during its administrative lock-out.

A lock-out doesn’t need to be an act of commission; it can also be as simple and common as just one person holding… and losing… the keys to the “IT empire”. Some bad luck, a car crash or sudden illness, and that password living only in a single IT person’s head could be lost forever, says Gerhard Conradie, MD of Evolv Networks.

Painless IT documentation

With quick and painless action, this need not happen to your business. As part of its Service Solution, Evolv offers a best-practice approach to ensuring a client’s IT systems are properly analysed and documented for both system inter-dependencies, and for access management. What connects to what, what depends on what, what permissions need to be provided and how?

Critical system keys should meet all security standards so that weak passwords and set-ups don’t create a business data breach risk. Account permissions must be in place to give no more access and control than required to get the job done.

This must all be understood by employees and documented. With key administrator passwords safely stored offsite by a trusted third party, where they are kept encrypted, access is audited, and testing happens regularly, so you cannot fall victim to a ‘Terry Childs’ business calamity.

In other words, passwords should be stored in a secure place, not just in someone’s head, not on an Excel sheet and not on a Post-It note stuck in a desk drawer.

Manage your IT documentation, assets and passwords

With IT document solutions, you can easily manage your IT documents, assets and passwords, for data protection, for user privacy protection, for security compliance. There is a data encryption standard to keep critical data safe and a standard for who has the keys.

Now you control business risk and you save

  • Documenting what administrative accounts control what IT resources gives you the control to mitigate business risk factors.
  • Working with your IT solutions expert will aid in developing the IT documentation library, while at the same time benefiting from their economies of scale in terms of IT documentation licensing costs.

So, if an IT document solution can reduce risk and decrease cost, is it not an essential business operations no-brainer?

  • Where you need to store and share IT documentation data, you can.
  • Where you need to contain or protect data, you can.
  • When you need to protect your business from your IT documentation being held hostage, you can.

Together with ITGlue’s leading-edge document technology, Evolv Networks provide its clients with the most complete, reliable IT document solution available today.

Gerhard Conradie, a certified MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, NT4/2000) and CNE (Certified Novell Engineer, Netware 5), is the MD of the Cape Town-based business IT solutions provider Evolv Networks.