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What would you do?

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Sparky, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Ok, so I’m involved in a couple of new projects just now. Basically two companies are downsizing and paying off their in-house IT staff and now outsourcing their IT support to us. It’s debatable if they need their own in-house IT staff but it’s not up to me at the end of the day.

    Anyways, I speak to the IT guy at the first company and he obviously is fairly pi55ed off at the whole situation but I tried to be as nice as possible about the whole thing. I’ve been there myself so I just wanted to get some info on the network and leave the guy to get on with job hunting or whatever.

    After a brief chat it turns out there was 3 IT guys and 2 just walked out when the company decided it didn’t need in-house IT which surprised me to be honest as I thought 3 staff members was perhaps overkill based on the size of the network.
    I asked for all passwords for firewalls, servers etc and the guy reluctantly gave them to me. After logging onto the DC I started to realise that the network was a total mess. <sigh>

    Then I asked for documentation on the network, was there any? Nope! Now this really pi55es me off. There was three guys there and not one of them documented any of the network, not one IP address, nothing! It’s not like they were rushed off their feet or anything. I asked a few more questions about the network which just got me a ‘um, ah, dunno’ . Great! :rolleyes:

    Now to my question...

    If you had any documentation on your network and you were leaving the company (for whatever reason) would you pass it on to the new IT staff or would you be as difficult as possible about the whole thing? :blink
     
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  2. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Technically speaking, all that information belongs to the company and is not the personal property of the IT staff. That said, a lot of IT staffers believe that they can build "job security" into their positions by being the only ones who know how the network is set up.

    The other side if it is that many technicians and admins are very good at creating and maintaining a network, they're just lousy at documentation. Of course, in a very busy environment, the staff just doesn't have the time to document, but that doesn't seem to have been the case as you describe it.

    The only thing you can do now is take the information you've been given and start your own documentation. Make sure to have both computerized and hard copies and keep a copy of all of your documentation at a separate location (if the IT department gets flooded, you want to have not only your backup tapes but your documentation kept safe).

    And yes, the only ethical move you should make when leaving a company (for good or for ill), is to make the documentation available to whoever is taking over.
     
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  3. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    The problem with this network is that there is no documentation and the setup is lousy! :biggrin

    I have now documented the whole network and given a copy to the MD and uploaded a copy to our own Sharepoint server. I keep finding new problems each day which makes me think I have to revise my own method of documenting a network. For example I have noticed that 3 of servers are suffering with RAID issues (one disk has gone in each RAID 5 config).

    The guy didn’t know what the password was for the firewall which annoyed me. He said he wasn’t responsible for it but I’m not sure if this is BS or not. It’s irrelevant now though as I was so pi55ed off I went out and bought a new firewall and ripped out the one that was there.

    I agree with the whole ‘job security’ aspect if some techs keep the whole network setup to themselves. I don’t know why they do it though, if you are good at your job then surely that is enough too keep you in that job? :blink
     
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  4. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I also agree with you guys, and I can imaging how horrible it must be going to some network which you have never administered and finding out that no documentation of any sort is available. Its kind of hard to believe. Any knowledgeable Admin knows that documentation is necessary.

    My friend's been in this situation before. It literally took him a week to just figure out the topology and it wasn't even a big server room. It was just not documented and very messy.

    Just like Trip said if the documentation does exist it belongs to the company and not the user.

    I just hate working in an unorganized area where everything is a mess, it kind of discourages you know one way or another.
     
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  5. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    This kind of **** is my absolute worst nightmare on a new job. I feel for you Sparks - there's just no way I could handle that on a regular basis like you must have to - it would drive me nuts.

    When i started my current job, it quickly became apparent to me that there was, basically, one bloke in the organisation who knew absolutely everything. He was fantastic technically, doing three jobs at once and just didn't have the time to document anything that he had put in place. The department is grossly understaffed anyway, but the rest of the staff's attitude just seemed to be: "oh well, I don't get paid enough to give a toss, I'll just potter along until something goes badly wrong then he can fix it for me".

    The net result of this for me was that when I started I had no documentation on how the network worked, nothing about name resolution, the PDCs/BDCs, the AD infrastructure that was sitting alongside the NT one almost unused because no-one could figure out how AD worked, nothing about the WAN infrastructure, yada yada yada. It took me nearly six months to figure everything out and - sadly enough, I haven't had time myself to document everything because - yep, you guessed it, We're STILL ridiculously understaffed. To give you an idea - we have 5000 users, 3000 workstations, about 150 servers and 120 sites - and the entire infrastructure department consists of myself and a mail admin.

    Writing the proper documentation helps immensely, and I have promised myself that, no matter what happens, when i move on I will dedicate the last month of my time there to writing everything down.

    The vast majority of the times I have seen this is because people are so scared of losing their jobs that they bogart any piece of information they can, thinking that they are untouchable because (for instance) no-one else knows the Firewall password. It makes my blood boil.
     
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  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I'd pass it on. I'd not have "hidden" it in the first place. You are right - if you are good, you don't need to rely on "hoarding knowledge without sharing it" in order to maintain job security. Thus, it's easy to figure out who are worth keeping around from who are just consuming air, floor space, and bandwidth.

    All that said... I was often so busy that I didn't always have time to get proper documentation in place. Things changed extremely rapidly so that the documentation would be out-of-date days (or less!) after updating it.
     
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  7. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    If I were in that position, I would make the transition as smooth as possible and give up any notes/documentation that I had accumulated.
     
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  8. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Yup some people do believe that withholding information somehow gives them more job security. I have never found this to be the case.

    We are a like minded bunch that freely give out information, as much as we have time to do, on a regular basis. I am the same in the real world and it has never compromised my worth to a company, on the contrary in fact.

    When i left the UK i had already documented everything, including the telephone switch set up, cabling, passwords, IP addresses, absolutely every detail that i knew, because i didn't want to leave the company with any issues at all. I had worked for them as the sys admin for 7 years but the transition to my successor was a very smooth one.
     
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