In a previous blog, we discussed how the calendar end-of-the year can be different for IT than the rest of the year. Because of a possible fiscal year-end, possible higher resource utilization, less staff due to holiday vacations and other factors, IT operations and procedures shift or change. So, let’s discuss some of the tasks IT people need to do to prepare for the end-of-year and the start of the next:
- Backup – We all knew this would be on the list and should probably hold a very high priority, so it is first on the list. We need to have a backup of the data at the year’s end. Unless you want one, you probably do not need a systems backup, only data. Our daily and weekly backups will take care of system state backups. What we do want is a complete backup of all data as it looked at the end-of-year. This backup will go somewhere safe. Odds are we will never need it, but we will have it just in case. In some cases, accounting and finance may need to utilize that backup to make sure they only have the previous year’s data without any from the current year.
- Lock Production – For all the reasons mentioned earlier and other reasons that drive company policy, production systems usually get locked until the end of the year. Only emergency alterations are allowed to production.
- Increase Support – Many companies are busiest during the holiday season. They are most likely the ones that have production locks. Being busier will increase IT support needs.
- Increase Operations – Those busy organizations may need an increase in operations to support the increase in business. IT will have to pay closer attention to utilization and daily operations.
- Staff Alterations – Due to higher vacation utilization at end-of-year, we may also be running on a smaller staff. There will be changes in support coverage and shift operations.
- Enhance Development – If production is locked, that does not mean we can’t touch the development environment (unless doing so will affect production). This could be a good time to update, clean, or just plain continue work in the development environment.
- Update Applications – Wait… Didn’t we say production was going to be locked? Well this may be one of those cases where we have no choice. There are software packages that require year-end updates or they will not have the functionality needed to operate properly. For example, accounting and payroll may need updates to tax tables for the next year.
- Budget – At this point, the previous year’s budget should be gone or close to it. In these last few weeks, you can finalize the budget estimates for the next year. If you had not started on this yet, now may be a good time to start.
- Reporting – Many business units are going to look for reports on the previous year to perform their required close-outs. So, reporting volume and support will most likely increase.
- Inventory – if production is locked, now would be a good time to inventory our software and hardware. This includes servers, workstations, laptops, printers and peripherals.
- Resource Review – This may sound like inventory, but it is a little different. This refers to utilization and consumption. We need to know how much power and computing resources we are currently utilizing and how that will affect the next year. This could occur during or after taking inventory. We should evaluate how much power our systems draw and whether we have ample power and power protection into the next year. We need to know how much of our server (and other hardware) resources we are utilizing to know what we will need for future endeavors.
- Nothing – We may not need to do anything different. Some organizations see no difference in activity in year-end from the rest of the year.
Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)|
Sr. Network Consultant
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