What Your IT Documentation Needs to Include, and Why
It is important that you have a handle on the technology that your business utilizes, which will require you to maintain comprehensive documentation regarding it and its support. Here, we’ll go through what a managed service provider includes in this documentation, as well as how it is used.
What Does This Documentation Include?
In short, everything there is to know about every piece of technology you rely upon to function. This can easily be divided between your hardware and software resources:
This documentation covers all the information about the physical devices you use.
Serial/Model Numbers — This allows for simple identification of the technology that needs support, as well as the kind of device it is for your support team’s benefit.
Purchase Dates — Knowing when a piece of hardware was acquired can help you to make decisions when weighing the cost benefits of repairing or replacing it if something were to go wrong.
Warranty Information — Knowing whether a piece of equipment is still under warranty can also help the above decision-making process. After all, why buy something new if you can get it replaced or repaired for free?
Installation Dates — Again, like the purchase date of a piece of hardware, knowing when it was installed can help with the troubleshooting process if it were to need support.
Physical Locations — Knowing where a piece of IT is located not only helps your support team to service it more easily, it enables you to keep better track of where your assets are.
Device Names — Standardized technology deployments can make it challenging to confirm if the right device is in the right spot. Naming the device helps to differentiate it from the others just like it.
IP Addresses — Much like it helps you to know the physical location of each device, knowing the IP address simply helps you to identify a device on your network.
Support Information — Finally, keeping your hardware documented makes it easier to locate the appropriate support information, should it ever be needed.
Meanwhile, this documentation covers all the critical information about the software you possess.
Product Licenses — This is effectively the same as the serial number on a hardware solution. This tells you the individual identification number of the copy (or copies) of the software you are able to use.
Purchase Dates — Again, knowing when you acquired something is an invaluable data point concerning its support, as it helps define if your solution is under warranty and other important variables.
Install Dates — Similarly, knowing when a software solution was installed can provide a variety of important information, particularly involving any weaknesses in its programming.
Subscription Details — Or, in other words, how many of a software’s capabilities are you able to use, and for how long? This is vital to know if you want to keep these tools available to your users.
Usernames — Speaking of your users, you need to define who can access each software title with their username. This will help you keep track of each user’s capabilities and permissions.
Version History — Finally, keeping track of the current version of each of your software will allow you to know if an update is called for, or if there are any vulnerabilities that you need to be concerned about.
Of course, you should also maintain documentation on the proper procedures to maintain all these solutions, as well.
What is the Benefit of All This Documentation?
With the help of a managed service provider like Datalyst, these in-depth records immediately become worth the effort. In addition to simply keeping this documentation up-to-date, an MSP will also refer to it as a resource.
Let’s assume that one of your hardware solutions begins acting up. It doesn’t really matter which, as the MSP working with you has up-to-date records of all of them. So, as your desktop/router/server is acting up, the MSP not only has a historical record to help them shape their approach, they have additional data to help guide their decision.
For instance, if this piece of technology has required you to spend excessive time on it over a given timeframe, you will have that data tucked away in your documentation. As a result, the next time an issue arises, you will be able to determine if it is more economical to replace said technology than it would be to continue repairing it.
In many ways, documentation simply serves as a better alternative to relying on memory.
If you’re interested in learning more about how working with Datalyst can benefit your business processes through improved documentation and so many other means, give our team a call at (774) 213-9701!