You Just Inherited IT – What Now?

Dealing with a new IT setup that you don’t know anything about? Here are the top 5 questions that need to be answered.

Picture this: you win an end-to-end, used IT system at auction from a business that went under. A great deal, right?

You have everything you need to build an IT infrastructure – a server, desktops, monitors, peripherals, routers, Wi-Fi endpoints, etc. – and you didn’t have to buy it all separately, or even at full price.

So, what do you do now? Watch some YouTube videos and set it up by yourself? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all going to meet your needs or work properly without being effectively configured.

In order to make sure the system gets up and running properly, you have to know the right questions, before you can find the answers. Only then can you be sure that everything is going to work exactly the way you need it to and when you need it to.

What Are The Top 5 Questions To Answer About Inherited IT?

  1. What’s the state of the hardware?
    As step number 1, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Just try to turn everything on. Is everything plugged in? Do the monitors have the right cables to connect to the towers? Can you connect to the Internet?

    All of this is certainly basic, but if you can’t get everything turned on and running properly, then there’s no need to move on to the following steps without having to replace the hardware.

  2. Is the software up to date?
    Now that you’ve determined how functional the hardware is, the next step is the software. Even if this technology hasn’t been turned on in a week, there will likely be some updates that have to take place.

    Updates are important because they correct existing errors and mistakes in software, and patch potential flaws that could leave it vulnerable to security threats.

    One by one, open up each program you would plan to use on a regular basis. If there are updates that need to be installed, a pop-up window will likely open on start-up. However, if the previous owner turned off that automatic function, you’ll need to manually check for updates, which can be done in the program preferences.

Warning – installing multiple updates can take a long time. The longer that this technology has been sitting unused, except for a much longer update process. This could potentially be hours or even an entire working day in some situations.

  1. What is the status of licenses and warranties?
    After double-checking that everything is up to date, the next step will be to confirm the status of any existing licenses and warranties.

    Depending on the type of business, there may be specific software needed for daily operations. It could be Quickbooks for accounting and bookkeeping or Oracle Micros for restaurant Point of Sales, but the bottom line is that if you need it to get work done, you should know whether you can actually use it.

    See, while the program may be installed on the hardware you inherit, that doesn’t mean that the licenses originally purchased for it won’t have expired. The most direct way to check if the license is still in good standing is often just to try to use the software. If that doesn’t answer the question for you, then try looking at the About page for the software.

  2. Are there any security measures in place?
    The key here will be to determine whether there’s just standard, baked-in security in place, or actual additional software. Check for the following security solutions:

    1. Firewalls
    2. Anti-virus
  • Anti-malware
  1. Password managers
  2. Multi-factor Authentication

On top of that, you’ll want to update all passwords on hardware and accounts specific to what you’ll be using this IT for. It’s common sense in password policy to ensure all necessary credentials are updated with strong, complex and unique passwords.

  1. Are there backups and contingencies in place?

Again, what the backup plan will really look like could vary. It could be a simple external hard drive that gets updated on a daily or weekly basis. It could be an automated backup through a consumer solution like Google Drive. In the best of cases, it would be a fully automated backup to a business platform like Microsoft Azure. In any case, you’ll want to find out how the previous owner handled backup if any of that data is necessary for you to continue using the technology, and what you’ll need to install, configure and deploy for a backup going forward.

Bottom line – setting up an IT system, whether it’s inherited, or brand new, is an intensive process, and there’s plenty to consider. Make sure you have a step by step plan in place so that you don’t have to backtrack, or start all over again.

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