Documenting Your Network – Part 1 of 5

Being in sales, it’s funny what you see out there talking to prospective customers and looking in their server rooms. (Not to sound like Jeff Foxworthy, but…) If there is a half-eaten ham sandwich sitting on the server rack, your network might be a mess. If you have to stand on the toilet and knock a ceiling tile out just to see the servers/infrastructure, your network might be a mess.

So let’s run through some critical documentation every business should have. First, the most basic but often overlooked, THE NETWORK DIAGRAM (Fig. 1). This is a map of the network with both logical and physical diagrams outlining the flow of data through and out of your network, as well as how the network puzzle is pieced together. This should not be a set of rough pictures doodled in pencil on a legal pad (seen it many times). It needs to be in Visio file format that uses a set of industry standard icons and descriptions so that any certified IT professional can accurately read and follow the layout should they need to step in and help resolve a network issue.

Fig. 1 – Network Diagram (if you don’t have this in your documentation, you need to ask your IT person why it is not there.)

Also, it can’t be the one from last year right before you upgraded everything. Just like I’m not going to show you my family portrait with two kids missing.

Tune in next time for Part 2…