How to Manage IT Services as a Mere Mortal

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Sometimes we get stuck in a position that isn’t a part of our job description. Official “IT Guy” is one such position when the office doesn’t have an IT person to deal with network and PC issues, but needs someone to help fix minor issues.

In this scenario, the job usually goes to someone who has just enough information to tinker with settings until they work, or it’s the staff member who just happens to have the outside IT person’s phone number. Believe it or not, being in this type of position is a great start that looks good on a resume, but can also be a little overwhelming.

Here are some tips to make your daily tasks a little easier.

1. Get a Centralized Server for Backups

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is disregarding backups. A user’s hard drive crashes and you take the backlash for missing files. Several backup solutions are available on the market, but these can be expensive.

A simple solution is to have a main computer with a shared drive where users can backup their files. You then can schedule backups from this main server to either the cloud or a secondary hard drive. This not only secures users from lost files, but it also puts backup responsibility into the user’s hands because  they are responsible for putting their files on the main server.

If you don’t know how to do this, then you might want to consider learning about your backup options from the experts. You don’t have to be pursuing IT certifications to use CBT Nuggets training! Use CBT Nuggets as a useful guide for your on-demand training needs. For instance, you might want to dive into Microsoft Server 2012 with R2 updates to accomplish your tasks, or at least know how to direct the IT consultant.

2. Take Snapshot Images for Quick PC Deployment

Every new person who comes on board will need a new PC. You can spend hours installing all the software needed for the user’s job, or you can take a snapshot image that contains the operating system, settings, and software.

There are applications on the market that let you take snapshots and keep them on the network. You can then load these images every time a new PC is deployed,  saving you hours of time because  these applications load the image within minutes.

Configuring remote images will make your life easier, and it’s relatively easy to set up. CBT Nuggets has installation and configuration training for every recent Windows version.

Pick your OS, and be the backup hero.

3. Keep All Security Software Up-to-Date

You don’t have to be a security expert to keep most of the basic threats from affecting user PCs. Always keep antivirus software up-to-date and any patches for the operating system installed. This reduces bugs in outdated operating software and defends the entire business against common malware.

That’s the bare minimum. You can step up your IT security knowledge with the information provided in the CompTIA Security+ training, look under the hood of your firewall with Cisco and Juniper training, or go crazy with Ethical Hacking or CISSP training.

Unfortunately, if something goes wrong, all fingers will be pointing at you.

4. Be a Better Googler

Managing IT services means putting out fires. Hopefully, not too many, but that’s part of the job. You’re presented with a problem and have to find a solution, but what if you don’t know the problem?

In this context, being a better Googler means searching for the solution rather than having to research the problem first. You’ll eventually get accustomed to your system, but you might want to truly understand the system as it’s installed and configured. That requires education.

If you are one of those (unofficial) IT people who would like to learn more and be more effective, you can learn more through IT certifications and education. Certifications such as CompTIA’s A+ or Network+ educate you on basic PC hardware, troubleshooting, and network processes. Not only do you learn more about IT troubleshooting and maintenance, but you also can use these certifications to find future positions in the IT industry.

These entry-level certs will make you a better troubleshooter — and a way better Googler.

5. It Could Be Time for a Raise

It’s easy to get stressed out and forget that fixing IT issues isn’t in your job description, but if you navigate your new role properly, you might be able to ask for better pay. Depending on how far you take your added responsibilities, it could even be time for a raise comparable to an IT salary.

For instance, if you get certified, then it’s definitely time for a raise. Certifications benchmark your skills against industry standards, meaning that you’ve graduated from mere mortal to bona fide IT professional.

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