The adage “behind every man there’s a great woman” could have a contemporary side: “behind every great SME there’s a highly integrated IT system”. Every aspect of a modern business is supported by a complex IT system, from basic e-mails, to CRMs, databases, LMSs, compliance systems, telephone systems, etc, within an organisation and across all its arms. To be without that sophisticated IT system is unthinkable.
When an office – or a whole department or company – moves, what it requires is a professional IT company to manage its relocation. An essential element of those relocation services is a comprehensive checklist for office IT relocation. A good IT relocation business generates the list and works through it with the person responsible for the move.
A full office IT relocation is a complex undertaking. The first task required is identifying what hardware is to be moved and generating a back-up plan for all data. From this a comprehensive migration strategy can be created. It makes sense to have the same IT support company undertake the entire IT relocation, from planning to the final positioning of last monitor.
Possible Sanitisation and Destruction
An IT relocation may include the movement of the same physical hardware; however, it may also include the installation of new hardware in the new location. If this second option is required then a detailed plan is essential for the deletion of all data on any hard drives (after back-up, of course), and a certificate of sanitisation.
Intellectual property is the contemporary equivalent of having full warehouses in the past; as such, it needs to be safeguarded. It is wise to request certificates of hard disc shredding, which is generally done off-site. In Australia, NAID AAA certification ensures industry standard destruction of sensitive data, whereas in North America the National Institute for Standards and Technology issues (NIST) 800-88 which is the American benchmark for secure data destruction. The UK cyber security centre provides detailed instructions on sanitising and destruction of data. The cleansing of data and destruction of hard drives may not be necessary – however, should it be, an enquiry into the standards being used and certification provided would be helpful.
Timeline and Risk Assessment
A good IT relocation company would provide a timeline for the move and a summary of how the relocation will happen. They would tag each piece of asset and as they dismantle it, and they would have a plan of where each piece goes in the transit process. It is strongly recommended that – prior to any contract being signed – the IT relocation service walks you through the process; ask to see the equipment that will be used to transport the hardware and ensure that it’s specialist equipment and not run-of-the-mill removalist equipment.
An essential aspect of any IT relocation is a thorough risk assessment. The purpose of the risk analysis is to identify what possible scenarios may happen and to plan for managing those and mitigating any possible risks. Such a plan would be the responsibility of the IT relocation services company; however, they would need a full understanding of the required outcome and people involved from the manager in charge of the move.
A rollback is the term used for restoring a piece of software or a database, or even a hard drive, to an earlier state; for example, the state it was in prior to the move. This may initially sound like an uninvited situation; however, it is one which a good risk assessment would plan for. If there are unintended outcomes, unforeseen problems in the relocation, the IT relocation service needs to be able to take the software back to its original state. This needs to be factored into the planning.
The planning should include a realistic timeframe for the work; most IT relocation services would indicate that the move can be managed over a weekend. However, the manager in charge of the move needs to provide certain information to the relocation service to make this possible, such as: number of goods lifts available, number of ramps available, access to and from the office, access to the electrical switchboard, priority for which pieces of hardware to be working on day one after the move, etc. It must also be borne in mind that for most moves cabling is required, which takes time as it may necessitate ceiling access. If new cabling is to be undertaken, it’s likely that the landlord of the new building will need to be consulted. Again, it makes sense to leave such discussions to the relocation company.
Relocation and Reassembly
Every IT relocation company would assemble all assets, connect them and of course, test them. In the case of desk PC and e-mails, this is reasonably straightforward. Where the time is needed is for server racks, the integration of all systems, especially with a focus on security.
A successful move boils down to detailed planning. Create a plan with a timescale and realisable objectives. Identify what information an IT relocation company needs, visualise the first day after the move and state what needs to be working and what the priorities are. Communicate to the IT company what hardware needs moving and classify the different software which needs to be backed-up and safely moved. Provide all this information to the IT relocation company and request a detailed plan of how they will manage the move.
Take Care of Moving Your Business Assets
Whilst a SME may have a project manager on staff, an IT relocation is highly specialised; it is necessary to use the services of a good IT support business. The cost of remedying a badly managed move is far higher than that of engaging an external IT support business. IT consultants derive a substantial part of their business from disaster recovery, especially from a relocation gone wrong. It’s worth doing once and doing right.
It is the job of the manager contracting the move to design the new space, the IT relocation business will work to those plans. One thing which is important is a list to provide to the IT relocation support, this list needs all the names and contact details concerned with the move, for example; line managers, electricians, in-house IT staff, vendors, security, landlords, telephone company, etc. In order to be up and running on day one, this list is vital for the contractor.
Plan – discuss with a qualified specialist contractor – budget – timeline including contingencies.