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By far the most common recommendation from the Spiceworks forum is to review and document everything before jumping into making changes. You’ll want to find and familiarize yourself with any existing documentation left by your predecessor—and verify that this documentation is still accurate and up-to-date. Make sure that recorded passwords still work and update as appropriate.
2. Assess and Verify Network Security
If you’re coming to a new workplace, it will be important to assess your current network security and make sure it’s appropriate for your organization. Check that your spam and anti-virus definitions are up-to-date. You’ll need to know if there are particular laws or regulations (such as HIPAA) that this industry is required to uphold and verify that your network infrastructure is able to do all that’s necessary. And you need to be on the same page as management with regard to how secure your network is while also being able to serve the needs of users.
3. Review or Establish Disaster Recovery and Backup
As part of your documentation review, you’ll probably come across any existing backups and disaster recovery plans. If you don’t find these, you should probably make it a priority to create them. If they are in place, you’ll still want to verify that they’re up-to-date and functional. Test your DR plan to ensure it works and that it can restore your network in an appropriate timeframe if necessary. Plan for any changes you think are necessary.
4. Talk to & Listen to the People You Work With
You might be in a situation where you don’t have formal training from your predecessor, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people around who know a lot about the organization. Get to know them and find out what they know. Are you taking over an existing IT team that you’ll be managing, or are you coming to a small organization where you’ll be the whole IT department? If you’re on your own, think of your end users and management as your team—partner with them to learn about the network and to plan for their needs and requirements as well as the network’s security.
5. Don’t Take Work Home
This idea might seem hard to follow, particularly for a new manager. You’re probably under a lot of stress to figure things out, get up to speed, and start running things like a seasoned veteran of the IT trenches. So it might feel natural to work 80 hour weeks, to stay at the office far too late, and to toss and turn in bed at night worrying over how you’re going to solve some network problem.