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What kind of monster is lurking under your desk?

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Submitted by Steven Conyers from CMIT Solutions of Brooklyn North on Monday, June 20, 2011

Ever rush home with your latest greatest coolest new thingy for your home entetainment system, then spend the better part of an afternoon working through that tangled maze of cables and wires trying to figure out how it ever got this way? Wouldn’t it have been better if everything had been neatly organized and labeled?

NetworkTangle-300x199I am amazed how frequently I see the same situation with client computer networks the first time I visit. Cables laying on the floor just waiting to be kicked by someone stretching their legs, poor labeling of the network cables connected to routers and switches, and happhazzard wiring of networks are just a few examples. These all contribute to both the risk of the network going down as well as the cost in time and money to troubleshoot problems and repair or install equipment. Technicians waste time trying to puzzle the network out, delaying the resolution of system downtime. One business owner told me of a zealous janitor mopping vigorously splashing bleach onto a switch laying on the floor and frying his POS network.

To avoid the expense of a technician puzzling through the spaghetti of cables, we recommend you take a few hours to set up your environment neatly. Using inexpensive cable ties and cable oranizers make sure all your cables (and switches etc.) are up off the floor out of harms way. Color code and/or label all your network connections at routers and switches to ensure quick traceback from desktop locations. This will help ensure you can get back up and running quickly avoiding the time consuming task of mapping the networkout in the middle of an outage.

Don’t forget to organize your critical vendor and equipment information. For vendors you’ll want to have the vendor name, products, contact info, account numbers and passwords handy. You’ll need the network addresses and login credentials for your key network equipment like routers, firewalls, managed switches and servers. I recommend this infomation be kept handy in a binder in a secure location onsite. Don’t rely on electronic document as your sole source as it may not be available when you need it most.

Keeping your environment and information neatly organized will keep your systems more reliable and enable you to recover more quickly from any disruptions, so make the time or have your trusted IT consultant do it for you.

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