Questions for the IT Guy

By | Sep 3, 2008

Or girl as the case may be.

As an administrative assistant, part of your duties is to maintain and safeguard your boss’s files, including electronic files.  I will be writing a series of posts on managing computer security and maintenance for administrative and executive assistants.

Before you start on the wonderful world of safeguarding your electronic files, you need to gather some information.  If you are lucky enough to have an IT (Information Technology) department, this is where you should start.  If you work for a small company without an IT department, you’ll first need to find out who handles those duties.  If no one handles those duties, then congratulations!  You just acquired a new job.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Jacob Bøtter

So, let’s start at the beginning.  What office IT information do you need from the IT Guy or Gal?

  1. What files are backed up? Are only the network files backed up or are the files on individual PCs backed up as well?  If only network files are backed up, then you want to be sure all files are kept on the network.  IF PC files are backed up, when is the backup performed?  Should you leave your PC on but logged out at night for the back-up?
  2. How often are files backed up? If backups are only performed once a week, you want to consider performing your own backups in between.
  3. Does IT perform regular computer maintenance such as scan checks and defragmentations?  If not, you need set a schedule to do them yourself.  If they do, when are they performed?  Do you need to leave your PC on and logged off at night for the maintenance?
  4. Does each employee have a secure (i.e. private) network drive? If so, can you have access to your boss’s drive (with his permission, of course).  It’s a huge help to have access to your boss’s files so that the two of you aren’t keeping different versions of the same file.
  5. Can you get access to your boss’s e-mail (again, with permission)? Some company’s have policies against this, but many bosses do want their assistants to manage their e-mail for them.  If you are using Outlook, he can give you permissions to his e-mail.  Other e-mail systems have different rules for sharing.  You’ll want to explore that with your IT contact.
  6. How is e-mail backed up and archived? Are attachments backed up along with the e-mail.  Not all systems will backup attachments.  If IT isn’t backing up and/or archiving e-mail, then you need to put a system in place to do so.

One of your best friends should be the IT person responsible for your office.  Make friends with that person, bring him cookies, remember her birthday.  Remember, when an IT disaster happens, you want to be at the top of the list for help.  Always stay on the good side of IT.

What other vital IT information do you consider essential?

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1 Comment so far
  1. Christa (2 comments) October 6, 2008 5:31 pm

    Love your post!  I’ve been reading this blog for the past few months but this post was particularly interesting to me. I co-own a computer consulting business with my husband and I run the admin/marketing side.   We provide computer support and maintenance services to other small businesses.  It runs the gamut from server installations to automated maintenance and management of an entire network.   I have some suggestions on how businesses can save money on your IT costs:1) Have an outsourced IT company (like ours, of course!) rather than an in-house IT Director.  This is especially cost-effective for the 60 user or fewer business environments.2)  Run 24×7 automated management, monitoring & maintenance program on the network that does all the tasks mentioned in the post so that you get guaranteed defrags, anti-virus protection, temp file deletion, etc.  This is a very reasonable cost.  (Note:  If you want to try this for free for 30 days, log onto our website at http://www.axicom.net and sign up for the AxiGuard program.  Test drive before buying to see what’s out there!  Since it’s a remote service, it’s not location specific.)3) Turn off your computer on the weekends.4)  Run VMWare on your server to save on energy consumption.

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