Need to do a full network and hardware survey

Posted on 2011-05-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello Experts,

I have recently started a new position for a small legal organization in multiple cities that I support by myself. Basically, I am the IT department for this company for our US operations. We have other locations overseas that are not in my scope of support. My predecessor left unexpectedly and as a result I am pretty much starting from scratch here and need to document all devices and network info in detail to include severs, firewall, ISP info, desktop hardware/ software, licensing, warranty and service contracts etc,  We have 4 locations and multiple servers at each location linked through VPN with about 200 users at any given time.  

The organization has been experiencing frequent IT issues because of years of band aid repairs and has now decided to create a budget to improve its IT operations and network infrastructure. Good news for me.

To get us rolling I need to begin to survey all of this as quick as possible so we can implement a budget asap. I have never needed to do a survey like this as I have always worked for well documented organizations in the past. They have given me the green light to bring in an outside network tech consultant to hire on an hourly basis to help me get this done as fast as possible.

So my question here is to ask you folks if you have any advice on  the best way to approach this? Do you have any templates you could share to do the survey and any advice on a good resource to seek outside help for getting this project done asap.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help a guy in a little over his head in work. I know once we get past this my life will be much easier.
Question by:kbellrose
    LVL 28

    Accepted Solution

    I'd propose an nMap scan of your network to identify all of the devices.

    Next, something like E-Z Audit to run on each of the machines.  It creates reports for hardware and software.

    Make sure the right information is being backed up.

    Get a list of all of the passwords.

    Make a list of licenses that the company owns.

    Get copies of the configurations on your infrastructure devices.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Make sure your off-site tape rotation is set up.

    Review the recent log files on your servers to identify any major poblems.

    Identify the risks to your network, then make plans to mitigate the risk.  Things like single points of failure, virus outbreaks, aging hardware, etc.
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    by:Ned Ramsay
    I know this is not condoned but if you are in a real tight spot. Licenses can wait. Having worked in IT for over  10 years I have never been license audited!

    As Asavener says, get some network scans running, programs like "Whats Up" have trial versions that will scan your network for devices. Also if your switches are all of a similar make things like "Procurve Manager Plus" will allow you full monitoring of the network with their trial software.

    In truth there is not a great deal you can do as these programs only give you a brief overview of your systems. e.g. Who knows whether that server you see is critical or not?

    I recommend starting with storage/backups if you can unify your storage so its all in one place, then at least the company data is safe. People can cope with "downtime" but if their data goes then you will be in trouble.

    Ive made a career out of this type of business. I go in, clear up the mess then move on before i get bored! Its tough work but you can really see the gains.
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    The licensing issue is mainly to see what products you're locked into.  If you have licenses for McAfee, and you prefer Symantec, you might be stuck.  If you have no licenses for antivirus, then you can probably make the case to buy Symantec and migrate, for example.

    Find all of your installation media.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you both.

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