My level of involvement will not always be the same but most of my clients like me to help them administer their IT.
Fix any immediate problems.
I am usually called into a new job because something or a bunch of things are just not working and need some immediate attention to get people productive again.
Getting to know the business, Survey and create an IT Site Document.
I will usually spend sometime learning about you and your IT. I like to survey the entire setup, this involves creating an inventory of hardware and software. While I work my way around your office capturing serial numbers and specifications of your computers and devices I will at the same time talk to staff, find out a bit about what they do and find out if they have any problems.
Software is often the hardest part, working out which computer has which license and knowing all the serial numbers and online logins. Once documented I will maintain and keep it updated all the time. I never let anything go undocumented. I will usually use an area of a file server (your own usually) for IT where I will store software installers and track your serials. I do this so it is quick to reinstall software.
Any business will have dozens of logins for various online services ( like Adobe, your website hosting provider, Microsoft, Skype Manager, Google Analytics, etc..) relating to IT, I usually document these so we waste no time resetting passwords or loosing out on things.
Internal configurations, admin passwords are all carefully documented.
I share the IT Site Document with you. If you ever get fed up of me there will be no need for knowledge transfer as the documentation will have it all (though I would of course support anyone replacing me).
The IT Site Document must be kept secure at all times, it provides the information for access to your entire system, I keep these documents encrypted including on my own backups.
Backups and Business Continuity.
Part of my survey I would take notes about your backup setup and capacities of your data, where necessary will make sure your backups are sufficient and highlight any holes in business continuity should there be a problem.
Set myself up with remote support capabilities.
With your permission I will usually allow myself remote access (Using VPN) to your office and enable remote support of all your computers. I will make sure I can access things like routers, switches, wireless access points, etc…
Where possible I will backup configurations of things on your network, like routers, wireless access points and servers. This will help quickly reinstate something if it should fail or need resetting.
I usually will spot a few things that you might want to address, sometimes these are only small and sometimes a bit big like getting a new backup solution or even a new bigger server. I usually tend to present a couple of options and will work with you to settle on a solution. I will pull prices from online resellers for budgeting, when settling on a solution I can then help you by sending the shopping list to different suppliers for them to quote on. Sounds easy but it is good to have someone like me to administer the purchasing as suppliers will often try to up-sell or alter quote in some way, sometimes suppliers are not even sure of what they are selling.
Once I have my head into your system and have it all documented things are usually quite smooth. I hate wasting time so will make sure that everything is well documented at the time, I will not say pop in and install new software without first taking a copy of the installers (saving to your fileserver’s IT area) and document all the serials. If I deploy a new computer I will take note of the purchase date, supplier, serial and configuration (some of this information can be passed back to your asset register).
Having an inventory with purchase dates means we know roughly when we ought to retire them, we can use this information to plan your IT spending well in to the future.