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More for the hit-by-the-bus files

When I was just the high school tech guy, I started a "What-if-I-get-hit-by-a-bus?" file.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

When I was just the high school tech guy, I started a "What-if-I-get-hit-by-a-bus?" file. It wasn't big, but as I came across a particular task or bit of information that I realized should live beyond me, I typed it up and put it in a file folder. Administrative accounts and passwords, wireless access point passkeys, important static IP addresses, etc. Ideally, it's a minimal set of information that my replacement would need to get by if I, well, got hit by a bus.

Now that my purview extends to all of the schools in the district, it's obvious that the middle and elementary schools have been little islands of autonomous technology. This isn't uncommon; when we're out straight just trying to keep the lights on, the last thing we think about is documentation. The problem is that when staff move on, get promoted, or get hit by buses, new staff are left reverse engineering and/or reinventing the wheel just to keep things running.

So we all need "hit-by-the-bus" files and we all need a place to store these files that can live beyond both us and a local disaster (meaning a folder on the administrator account account of one of your servers probably isn't the best choice). Google Docs is a great choice, but of course, the way to access the particular documents needs to be readily available. A website, assuming it's hosted offsite is a better choice.

What should be in the data store?

  • Network schematics (even something simple representing the location of backbone hardware)
  • DHCP schemes (subnets, exclusion ranges, etc.)
  • Static IP address assignments
  • Administrative account information for servers, websites, email systems, etc.
  • DNS settings
  • What else? Talk back below.

Perhaps more important, though, is the idea of the "standard operating procedure." This is another one of those concepts that's nothing new in business. Half the reason I left the corporate world was the torture of writing SOPs. Of course, in retrospect, I see the value of them; if all of us techies in the district named our printers in the same way, named access points the same way, numbered our network drops the same way, etc., then documentation would be less of an issue. New staff just read and follow the SOPs, assume they've been followed in the past, and they're up to speed.

Anyone who feels like sharing SOPs (if you have them), give us a link below.

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