Holiday Survival Guide for the IT Professional

Holiday Survival Guide for the IT Professional

IT personnel dread the holiday tradition of receiving “that phone call”. It always comes right as holiday celebrations are about to begin.

Often the problem is as simple as someone who is supposed to be on vacation can’t access VPN or their email. Often the fixes for these pseudo-emergencies are as simple as locating a lost file. Unfortunately, that phone call could be significant enough to bring down a critical system.

Either way, an IT-related interruption to holidays with the family can really put a damper on a IT professional’s holiday spirit. How does an IT professional survive the holiday season, knowing there may be issues that may interrupt holiday fun?

Tip #1: Expect the Unexpected

As an IT Professional, you can’t look into a crystal ball and see which systems will go critical so you need to expect the unexpected. Email the managers of each department, as they are your customers, to find out who will likely be working over the holidays, when they will be working, and on which applications. This will provide you with a good indication of which systems will be in use over the holidays and what to expect in case of an outage.

Tip #2: Manage Expectations

Make sure each department manager knows whom to call in case of an emergency and what kind of response time they can expect. Managing expectations is a key component of customer satisfaction at any time, but it can be especially important for maintaining you and your customers’ sanity during the holiday season.

Tip #3: Automate Your Help Desk Offering

Even though OP5 doesn’t supply help desk tools, it behooves us as a developer of automation infrastructure to mention the importance of automating your help desk schedule and failover.

Don’t burn out the one IT staff person the team can’t live without. Balance the load according to skill sets over the holidays, regardless of who is on call. If a request comes in about a crashed Linux server, it makes little sense to make the Windows desktop support person struggle for hours trying to fix it. Get the right person working on each task to minimize downtime and maintain customer satisfaction.

Implementing a good help desk solution can help accomplish this by automating distribution of help desk tickets. When choosing help desk software for your organization, look for one that allows you to set up forwarding rules to get tickets to the right resources based on the type of work expected.

Tip #4: Provide IT Tools for Remote Access

There is a good chance that some employees will be in the office over the holidays. This means IT staff will need remote access to office computers to perform remote administration tasks. Comprehensive remote support tools will give IT staff the ability to initiate remote control sessions from anywhere. A crisis can be averted if someone is able to remotely restart a service or kill a runaway process. Sometimes the fix is simply unlocking the end user’s Active Directory account. Make sure to use a remote support tool that incorporates the ability to manage multiple AD domains and Exchange accounts from the software console.

Tip #5: Manage your Resources from a Smartphone

Most likely the holiday means packing up the family and traveling to a relative’s house, where you’re not sure what kind of technology resources you could access in case of an emergency. Do your IT tools have a smart phone application? Performing IT related tasks from smartphones is becoming easier with mobile administration applications. Some mobile administration applications provide a comprehensive set of tools that let IT staff perform all of their daily tasks from the most widely used mobile platforms. If a wired connection to the Internet is not available, look to a mobile administration solution to keep the office running smoothly while traveling.

Removing Holiday Stress

Working while trying to enjoy the holidays with family and friends is anyone’s least desire. By sharing and using this guide, your IT staff can address any office emergencies quickly and painlessly while still leaving time for their family and friends.

OP5’s Response

Do you have a tool that monitors your infrastructure allowing you to proactively monitor problems before they happen? Maybe the monitoring solution you have isn’t fulfilling all or your needs. Whatever the case, don’t let the stress of a looming holiday emergency keep you from enjoying your holiday plans. OP5 offers server monitoring solutions helping IT staff gain control over their operations and deliver more effective IT services for better business. Whether operating in a small but business critical IT environment or fulfilling the needs of a large enterprise organization the OP5 products provide a unified, scalable and hybrid monitoring solution to help the IT professional take control of your IT.

If you would like to know more about how OP5 can help solve your IT monitoring needs, click here to book a brief product demonstration, talk to a pre-sales engineer or just to get additional information.

by Jim Greenway 27 October