Network setup and documentation is important for every business. It is especially essential for value-added resellers and service providers.
Documenting user networks provide valuable information for backup in case of network failure. It helps troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently. It can also help identify areas that need upgrading, assisting you in adhering to the industry’s best practices.
At Rete Consulting, we offer complete end-user services, meeting the needs of your entire team. While most people depend on proper networking documentation, they don’t understand how complex the procedure can be. It involves a number of steps:
Step # 1: Creating a network documentation policy, detailing all aspects which have to be documented. It communicates to each administrator what’s expected of them with regards to the policy.
Step # 2: Designing a network topology which maps each network segment, servers, gateways and other networking hardware connected to a segment. General network maps are created for larger networks, with specific ones for individual segments.
Step # 3: Names, roles and IP documentation are included for servers, placing this information in an appendix. Since each server can be allotted to multiple addresses, documentation of this information is also necessary.
Step # 4: Creating a change log for each server so that if a server fails, it can be traced back to recent changes. A log book can also be prepared, documenting each individual change for a server. This includes patch and application installations as well as any modifications made to the security settings.
Step # 5: Documenting versions and licenses of software running on each server. Adding a copy of the license will help in case a software audit occurs.
Step # 6: Hardware components are equally important and all the switches, gateways and routes must be documented. It should include information related to device connection, configuration, backups, firmware revisions and passwords.
Step # 7: Documenting active directory requires logging information regarding domain names, site structure, location of servers, location and content of group policies, and external trusts.
Step # 8: Backup procedures are also documented along with all the information related to their use. This will be helpful in emergency situations, in case data is compromised.
Step # 9: Documentation alone will be of no use if the hardware isn’t properly labeled. Labeling servers and other hardware equipment is necessary for future applications.
Step # 10: Evaluating documentation for accuracy and efficiency is important. Furthermore, it should be understandable for the end-user.
Most companies require selected network documentation. It depends on the type of your business. However, you will need end-user documentation, admin documentation and support contact documentation.