If you have a full time employee who serves as your "IT Person" or you have an outside firm here are 5 things EVERY business owner should know about their computer system:
- Keep a log of important passwords. It can be on paper or electronic - but keep it updated. Important passwords include: Your Domain Admin password (For windows servers) or root password (for Unix systems), The password for your internet domain account (your website/web address), the admin password for your firewall, the admin password for your phone system (if it has one), the admin password for your website or web services you are using (like salesforce.com), the admin password for your accounting program ... you get the idea.
- Gather contact information about important technology venders. This should include - your internet service provider, your telephone system provider, any IT contractors you have used (including the friend of your IT admin who helped with that project that one time...), The company who you purchase computer products and software from, your website provider, the company who installed/configured your accounting software.
- Know where your backups are. Are they offsite? On site? Where are they stored? You need to know this incase there is an emergency or your IT person is unavailable. If someone takes your backup home for safe keeping, make sure you are diligent about that procedure.
- Ask that reports of successful backups be emailed to you (or get a monthly report of your backup log). Have some oversight to make sure that your data is being backed up daily.
- Estimate the replacement cost of your computer system - make sure you have enough insurance to cover the replacement costs should a disaster strike. Make sure to include software and labor to have a new system setup. Update it every couple of years.
You don't have to be tech savvy to have this information documented. When the need arises - you will have to pass this information on to people who know what to do with it.
This may also come in handy should you have to fire your IT person... but we'll save that for another post.