It’s a new year. Time to wipe the slate clean, and approach things with a fresh perspective. But clearing that slate may require a few steps. Here we offer some essential resolutions for the IT Administrator:

  1. Complete Your Migration Plans
    Microsoft Windows 2008 and 2008R2 will reach End of Support on January 14, 2020. So if you haven’t laid out a clear plan for decommissioning and upgrading, now is the time to make it happen. And while Windows 7 mainstream support has long since ended, extended support ends (EOL) in January 2020. Have you cleaned house? (Read about Migrating Backup Solutions)
  2. Security Patches and Driver Updates
    It’s never a bad time to go through your infrastructure from the top-down to ensure that the latest updates and patches have been applied to plug those security holes that malware loves to exploit. Check the firmware versions of network devices, as well as device drivers that may be out of date.
  3. Test Local/Offsite Backup Recoverability
    Test the restorability of local backup by importing full backups and mounting system image backups, then performing restores to alternate drives and machines. Offsite backups are another critical part of any DR plan, and your ability to recover within a reasonable amount of time must be verifiable.
  4. Reevaluate Access Permissions
    It sounds simple but keeping a handle on access controls to provide the lowest level of privilege required for files and network shares, can go a long way to limit the effectiveness of ransomware and other malicious acts. Administrator accounts should be used sparingly and only by those who absolutely need them.
  5. Better Leverage the Cloud
    Whether you are considering a move to Exchange Online or better collaboration with Sharepoint, there’s numerous ways to increase productivity through improved use of the cloud. Perhaps you are even considering moving servers off premises to a colocation facility, but hopefully you’ve done your planning first.
  6. Use Virtualization Where Possible
    Virtualization offers us a new level of management flexibility and drastically increased CPU and storage efficiency. Is it time to replace some dated physical machines with virtual ones? Or perhaps you are even thinking about a hyper-converged environment.
  7. Complete IT Certifications
    Not all improvements need come in the way of technology itself. Completing the necessary training (Microsoft 365, CCNA, CCNP, Security+) to raise your skills to the next level means that you bring added value to your team and credibility to your IT plans in 2019.
  8. Streamline Communications
    Whether it’s an outdated phone system, or every department using a different system for chat – better communication will make your whole year easier. Is everyone making the most out of Project Management Software and CRM? Now is the time to look at the workflow and collaboration of your business teams.
  9. Clear Out Last Year’s Annoyances
    There were times in 2018 where resolving IT problems quickly took the highest priority. The result may have been a few things held together with popsicle sticks and duct tape. And what aging hardware needs replacement ASAP? Schedule some time on your calendar for tying up these loose ends.
  10. Take a Vacation
    How busy did you get in 2018? Odds are that even with an improved environment, you are going to be slammed in 2019. Why not get a date on the calendar right now to give yourself something to look forward to, and give the old SysAdmin a few days to decompress? You deserve it.