The New Year is upon us and, for IT administrators and tech professionals, it’s time to set some goals for 2015. But while you’re budgeting for new hardware and requesting new staff, take some time set some personal goals that will aid both your broader organization and your personal sanity at the same time.
1. Get certified
Every year, IT admins acknowledge they need to get a cert or two, and then put off takings the prep courses or the exams for another 12 months. Make 2015 the year you actually get that cert you’ve been wanting or needing.
2. Actually listen to users during helpdesk calls
Look, we’re all tempted to declare support ticket an ID-10T error and suggesting the universal resolution, but reflexively dismissing the particulars of every user complaint presents more ill effect than just coming off as a smug jerk. You might miss an actual malfunction or, worse, security breach, because you did not take the time to understand the root cause of a user issue. Make 2015 the year you listen to every complaint and concern of your end users, even the ones that really are PEBKAC issues.
3. Deprovision old users and accounts
Speaking of looking after users, there are few bigger security issues than unused or ignored user accounts. In 2015, make it a point to deprovision all those old user accounts kicking around your various systems, and resolve to remove any user that departs this year before 2016 rolls around.
4. Purge old files
Do you really need those old server logs from 1997? You know, the ones from the Exchange server you replaced with Google Apps in 2007? The answer is almost certainly no, so go ahead and purge that data—and update your retention policy while you’re at it.
5. Organize and archive the files you don’t purge
Every administrator has admonished users for lazily duping every file to the desktop or downloads folder, but how many of us are just as guilty of stashing crucial data in odd places that no one else would ever think to look for it? It’s time to go clean up that shared folder structure for everyone on the network, then archive the old files no one is actively using.
6. Create and test a DR/BC plan
Most of you probably have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, but how many of you are actually confident you DR/BC systems will actually work, or that you can really achieve your restore-time objectives? Until you’ve practiced your disaster recovery plan, all you really have is a disaster recovery theory. 2015 should be the year you put that theory in practice. Test your DR plan by actually recovering data from backup—with all your folder structures intact. Test your business continuity plan at scale, and time yourself. Then add 25% to that time, because that’s probably what it will take to execute your recovery plan after or during a natural disaster or wide scale data and/or power outage.
7. Sunset old hardware
There is always a server or three (and more than a few workstations) that have no business still remaining in service, but because they haven’t crashed, you haven’t bothered to replace them. That’s an open invitation for Murphy’s Law to pay a visit. Make a 2015 resolution to put old tech out to pasture, before it puts you under fire.
8. Create a better dashboard
All of these resolutions are great, but in the event you actually pursue them, how will you track your progress—and how will you show off that progress to your boss? There is perhaps no greater 2015 tech resolutions for smart IT admins than to build a master dashboard of all you key metrics, and to share that dashboard with your boss. Network uptime, users protected by backup systems, orders fulfilled - whatever numbers matter most to you, and to your company, you can report on them better. There no better time than now.
9. Learn to delegate
A shocking number of IT administrators have left their systems and organizations vulnerable to a bus attack—as in, if you get hit by a bus, the system can’t continue to function without you. While that may be great for your job security, it’s terrible for your stress levels and potential for advancement. After all, you can’t get promoted if no one can do your job after you move up. Resolve in 2015 to train up some staff to support you, so that you have time to work on all the other tech resolutions on your list.
Short of IT superhero, there is no job out there that hones every desired technical skill, or fulfills every tech desire. But, as a technology professional, there are countless organizations that could use your time and talents in service to a good cause. Resolve to volunteer your IT skills in 2015. You’ll broaden your horizons, burnish your credentials and do some real good in the word. You can’t beat that.
Every New Year is a chance for a new start - even for old IT tasks still left undone. What are your tech resolutions for 2015?