To those who have taken over IT from another admin...

gonzoflickgonzoflick Posts: 52Member ■■□□□□□□□□
I am starting a new job in a week and am taking over full IT admin duties for a company of about 75 users. There are four server 2003 machines and thats about all I know so far. My question is, what type of things should I ask the outgoing admin before he leaves. The obvious ones that come to mind are passwords and vendor lists.

To those who have gone into a company knowing little to nothing about their existing infrastructure, what would be the first questions you ask? Thanks a lot

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Get as many passwords, documentation, diagrams, procedures, storage locations, etc. as you can. Figure out all the services that are running and what they do. Try and decipher all the group policies. Some stuff will unavoidably get overlooked, but try to get as much as you can. If no, or little, documentation exists, try and create as much as you can before he leaves. I'd say passwords are the biggest though. If you can get into a server or device, you can usually figure out what's going on. Don't overlook things like firewalls, printer web admin interfaces, etc.
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Posts: 538Member
    dynamik wrote: »
    Get as many passwords, documentation, diagrams, procedures, storage locations, etc. as you can. Figure out all the services that are running and what they do. Try and decipher all the group policies. Some stuff will unavoidably get overlooked, but try to get as much as you can. If no, or little, documentation exists, try and create as much as you can before he leaves. I'd say passwords are the biggest though. If you can get into a server or device, you can usually figure out what's going on. Don't overlook things like firewalls, printer web admin interfaces, etc.

    I can't stress that enough. Get a list of all devices and their passwords, so you can atleast see what's going on with them. Thats the first step in taking over any network.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Also, inquire about their backup solution. As soon as you get the slightest clue about the infrastructure, check behind them and make sure that it is really being backed up correctly so that every app and their supporting infrastructure can be restored... been burned by this before.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    This is a prime example why every company should have a good set of documentation.

    I would look into the suggestions the previous posts have said. If the other IT guy leaves before you start then contact your new management to ensure they have these types of things!

    Good luck with the new role!
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    One of the things I would say should be top on your list is a way to contact him if you have any questions.
  • t3ch_gurut3ch_guru Posts: 166Member
    One of the things I would say should be top on your list is a way to contact him if you have any questions.


    I would have to agree with that. That is what I did. Also the vendor list and the contact person which I just got done typing up is really key. Their email contacts would help you as well just in case they forget to tell you something.
    Knowledge is Power.
  • hypnotoadhypnotoad Posts: 915Banned
    Find out about their project management "ecosystem" and see if it's something you can cope with!
  • tierstentiersten Posts: 4,505Member
    One of the things I would say should be top on your list is a way to contact him if you have any questions.
    Thats assuming that the previous person has left on good terms and is willing to help. I've been in positions before where the previous staff have left on not so good terms and refused to help on the hand over.

    You'll want to find where all the documentation, passwords and procedures are kept and if they're up to date. Whether there are any undocumented tips or tricks that you'll need as well. If there are any custom in house tools in existance and where the source code + compilers are.

    If you need to cover the actual network infrastructure as well then floor plans and diagrams showing the network topology are essential. You don't want to be working out where all the cables go when you've got a major network outage.

    What blargoe said is important. You need to know that the backups are good and that you know how to recover them.

    If you can, you should shadow the old person for a week on their regular duties and compare to the documentation/procedures. Usually stuff gets altered and never documented because the person doing it was the one that altered it and they know that step 4b is wrong and you need to click the button 3 times instead of 4 because of the new version etc...
  • joey74055joey74055 Posts: 216Member
    find out where all of the contracts are and when all contracts and services are up.
  • pipemajorpipemajor Posts: 65Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I was hired for a short term contract back in 2000 to "restore" a trashed NT infrastructure when their previous admin failed to validate any of the backups she was taking were actually backing anything up. They lost their Exchange server and all of their customer information stored.

    No hope in getting that electronically restored but we did get a lot back by just asking around and reconstructing from paper records.

    All of the user Win95 workstations were infested with the Word macro viruses. This company decided to save some money and hired a lot of database programming support from resources in India. That was one source of their virus issues. No enterprise anti-virus tools at all. Some users had an evalutaion version of AV but the signatures were 6 months out of date.

    The FAT 16 file structures on all the workstations were also in very bad shape. No one had ever instructed the staff in performing periodic CheckDisk or Defrag maintenance. Took me about 2 months to get everything cleaned up.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    One of the things I would say should be top on your list is a way to contact him if you have any questions.


    I hope you plan on paying them some consulting fees. I know if I no longer worked somewhere I wouldn't be helping out with infrastructure issues for free!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    tiersten wrote: »
    Thats assuming that the previous person has left on good terms and is willing to help. I've been in positions before where the previous staff have left on not so good terms and refused to help on the hand over.

    It's not assuming....
    gonzoflick wrote:
    My question is, what type of things should I ask the outgoing admin before he leaves

    .... it's reading comprehension. icon_wink.gif
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Just because he hasn't left yet it doesn't mean its on good terms. He may still hold resentment towards the company or any number of things.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    I hope you plan on paying them some consulting fees. I know if I no longer worked somewhere I wouldn't be helping out with infrastructure issues for free!

    Please re-read my post. I did not say call for help, I said call for information. Meaning he did not document a password for a managed switch, "Hey old admin, what's the password for this switch?" It's impossible to document everything, no matter how hard you try. I have no problem giving people who have taken over my old positions advice and information within reason and neither has any person from whom I have taken over. Any person who seeks to be a good professional would do the same.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    Just because he hasn't left yet it doesn't mean its on good terms. He may still hold resentment towards the company or any number of things.
    If he is still there and is involved in training the new admin, resentment is not a valid reason to withhold information. I can understand if the situation is so dramatic that he quit with no notice or was termed, but to be such a poor professional as to make someone who has nothing to do with that suffer for it. So, I believe that is a safe assumption. Besides, my reply was more of a little joke than actually intended to be taken seriously.
  • KaminskyKaminsky Posts: 1,235Member
    Learn to suck your teeth and ask "sheesh! what cowboy did this?"

    It's the same for every industry the world over. Particularly plumbers and garage mechanics for some reason but IT is rife with it.
    Kam.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    If you have the option, spend that week you're waiting to start at your new job doing an audit of the gear you have to work with (doesn't matter how good the documentation is, it's out of date and missing something, I guarantee it. The time to find out there's a device you didn't know about is not when it's causing a problem). Even if it means doing it without pay. Once you have a complete inventory of what you're responsible for, review the documentation you have on hand. If it's non-existant, get a head start on it, at least make notes good enough for you to reference so you can tell how everything fits together.
  • Tin_ManTin_Man Posts: 77Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    This actually happened to me with my current gig. It was a complete nightmare. Though it is manageable. I spent my 1st 2 weeks there throwing together some quick doc's. I used to keep a little scratch pad in my back pocket so if I came across something I could just jot it down instead of having to go look for something to write it on. None of the servers were labelled, had cables going everywhere. There was no Network diagram at all.

    Sometimes you get thrown into the trenches and you have to suck it up and do the best you can with what you have.

    You should almost expect to walk into a IT center that is in complete shambles like this and have a game plan in your mind on how your going to deal with it.
    WIP: 70-647 (5%)
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Posts: 1,096Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Kaminsky wrote: »
    Learn to suck your teeth and ask "sheesh! what cowboy did this?"

    lol That's exactly it. I've spent all year cleaning up after the last IT admin, but I reckon if I left now, the next guy would complain about the mess I left it in.
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