Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

    What questions do you ask when starting work on a pre-existing network / IT infrastructure? In otherwords, what questions do you ask yourself and others to make sure you aren't stepping into a clusterfuck, or disturbing that 20 year old legacy server that happens to run that one REALLY vital program that the whole company depends on?

    Years ago I saw an awesome list that had a couple hundred questions and sub-questions (tree format). Hoping someone may recall the list I'm talking about and provide a link.

    Here's a section of my list. Can't find one I made a while back so I'm re-making it from scratch. Yes, it's intentionally missing some vital questions, eheh Feel free to add your list!

    Server / PC Questions
    • Naming convention of servers / PCs
    • How many Servers / PCs / users?
    • What make(s) / model(s) are supported?
    • What operating systems are supported?
      • OS Patches
        • Are they up to date? If not, why?
        • What updates them (Windows Update, WSUS, other)?
        • What is the patching strategy - what testing is done before deployment etc.
    • Any custom hardware?


    Virtualization
    • Is it being used? For what?
    • What type(s) are being used? Hyper-V, VMWare, etc?


    Anti-Virus / Malware Questions
    • What AV / malware tool(s) do they use?
    • Auto updated or via central config tool?



    Network Questions
    • How many routers / switches / APs / etc?
    • Router/Switch/AP - IPs (AP Channels and Power Setting)
    • Brand / OS of each?
    • Is it all command line access, or is there GUI access? Any remote access?
    • Are the configs backed up somewhere?
    • Network configuration
      • Any odd exceptions?
      • VPN access?
    • Cabling conventions being used, including cable type (Cat 5e, Cat 6, fibre), termination type (eg for fibre, does an ST plug mean singlemode and an LC plug mean multimode?), colour coding, documentation.



    Printing Questions
    • Make and Model of printers / printing devices (label makers, plotters, MFPs, etc)
      • Are the printers on the network?
        • If so, are they on a print server?
          • If so, are they on a print queue?



    Monitoring Questions
    • What is in place (if anything) to monitor servers / network equipment?
      • If it exists: Does it send out email and/or SMS / IM alerts?
        • If it does send out alerts: What are the thresholds for the alerts?
        • Who are the alerts sent to?



    Physical Questions
    • # of physical locations and their geographical locations / address
    • Info on each location (Physical / PC / network security, ISP info, network schema, AD schema, DC(s) onsite or file server or nothing(?), VPN access, etc)



    Backup Questions
    • Is data getting backed up? If no, why not?
    • Who's backing it up?
    • What's getting backed up, and what isn't (and why on both accounts)? (Sidenote: are backups complying wifth local / state / federal / country laws?)
    • Where are the backups being stored? Locally, at someone's house, multiple geographic locations, the cloud?
    • When do backups occur, and how often?
    • How? RAID, tape, DVD, cloud?
    • Differential, partial, full (etc)?



    Email Questions (yes, I'm assuming every company has email)
    • Is the email server internal or external (e.g. rented out Exchange server, or Google Apps for Business, or other)?
    • Storage limits
    • Email Size Limits
    • Spam Control
    • What mobile platforms are supported and how do they sync email (if at all)?



    Policy Questions
    • What policies are in place regarding IT?
      • Acceptable Usage
      • Data Storage
      • Data Rentention
      • Compliance Requirements (If any)



    Maintenance Questions
    • Any current maintainance contract in place?
      • If so - What's the specs of the contract? 9-5 M-F, 24x7x365, 4 hour turn around, etc?
    • Contact list of suppliers / support companies.


    Application Questions
    • What applications are considered business critical? e.g. Accountanting software, line of business software, etc.
    • Any custom software?



    Last but CERTAINLY not least:
    • Where's the closest bathroom and/or pizza place?
    • Where's the work experience kid with my coffee?
    • Is the Espresso machine on a 4 hour SBD warranty and if not why not?
    Last edited by Wired; 18th July 2010, 02:31. Reason: Updated
    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

  • #2
    Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

    Is virtualisation being used?

    Cabling conventions being used, including cable type (Cat 5e, Cat 6, fibre), termination type (eg for fibre, does an ST plug mean singlemode and an LC plug mean multimode?), colour coding, documentation.

    Originally posted by Wired View Post
    -What operating systems are supported?
    --OS Patches
    ---Are they up to date? If not, why?
    ---What updates them (Windows Update, WSUS, other)?
    What is the patching strategy - what testing is done before deployment etc

    Originally posted by Wired View Post
    Last but CERTAINLY not least: Where's the closest bathroom and/or pizza place?
    Where's the work experience kid with my coffee?

    And the question I once asked at a job: why are there gaping holes in these servers that once housed hard drives? It seems the day the previous IT guy had left, all of the servers suddenly started complaining about low disk space...
    Gareth Howells

    BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

    Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

    Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

    "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

      This is going to get messy if items get added like Gareth has just done with [QUOTES].

      Might I suggest that the whole post gets copied and when you add items using a different colour then a hypen and your name. This will help avoid or remove duplicates. I know this will make for a very long thread but this way there will be some semblance of order.

      Wired can then edit the colours out at various stages when he is satisfied with the onging result.

      EG:

      Server / PC Questions
      -Naming convention of servers / PCs
      -How many Servers / PCs / users?
      -What make(s) / model(s) are supported?
      -What operating systems are supported?
      --OS Patches
      ---Are they up to date? If not, why?
      ---What updates them (Windows Update, WSUS, other)?
      What is the patching strategy - what testing is done before deployment etc - GForce


      Anti-Virus / Malware Questions
      -What AV / malware tool(s) do they use?
      -Auto updated or via central config tool?


      Network Questions
      -How many routers / switches / APs / etc?
      --Router/Switch/AP - IPs (AP Channels and Power Setting) - Biggles77
      -Brand / OS of each?
      -Is it all command line access, or is there GUI access? Any remote access?
      -Are the configs backed up somewhere?
      -Network configuration
      --Any odd exceptions?
      --VPN access?

      Printers, Plotters etc? - Biggles77


      Monitoring Questions
      -What is in place (if anything) to monitor servers / network equipment?
      --If it exists: Does it send out email and/or SMS / IM alerts?
      ---If it does send out alerts: What are the thresholds for the alerts?
      ---Who are the alerts sent to? - Biggles77

      Physical Questions
      -# of physical locations
      -Geographical Locations - Biggles77
      --Info on each location (Physical / PC / network security, ISP info, network schema, AD schema, DC(s) onsite or file server or nothing(?), VPN access, etc)


      Backup Questions
      -Is data getting backed up? If no, why not?
      -Who's backing it up?
      -What's getting backed up, and what isn't (and why on both accounts)? (Sidenote: are backups complying wifth local / state / federal / country laws?)
      -Where are the backups being stored? Locally, at someone's house, multiple geographic locations, the cloud?
      -When do backups occur, and how often?
      -How? RAID, tape, DVD, cloud?
      -Differential, partial, full (etc)?


      Email Questions (yes, I'm assuming every company has email)
      -Is the email server internal or external (e.g. rented out Exchange server, or Google Apps for Business, or other)?
      1 1 was a racehorse.
      2 2 was 1 2.
      1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
      2 2 1 1 2

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

        Updated main post. Keep em coming!

        Biggles - Plotter - ???
        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

          What policies are in place regarding IT?
          • Acceptable Usage
          • Data Storage
          • Data Rentention
          • Compliance Requirements (If any)


          What applications (Server or Desktop) are considered Business Critical? E.g. accountancy packages, LOB apps, etc.

          Last and certainly not least, is the Espresso machine on a 4 hour SBD warranty and if not why not?
          BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
          sigpic
          Cruachan's Blog

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

            Originally posted by Wired View Post
            Updated main post. Keep em coming!

            Biggles - Plotter - ???
            http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=e...03%2C0%2C1%2C1

            Wired - Plotter - !!!

            Maybe a better subtitle would be Print Devices. ??
            1 1 was a racehorse.
            2 2 was 1 2.
            1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
            2 2 1 1 2

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

              Updated main post.
              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

                I usually ask two questions.
                Is there a network drawing and where is the documentation located.
                Marcel
                Technical Consultant
                Netherlands
                http://www.phetios.com
                http://blog.nessus.nl

                MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

                  Great list/thread Wired.

                  Not sure which section the following fits in,

                  Any current maintainance contract in place?
                  A contact list of suppliers or support companies.
                  Any important/bespoke software/hardware we need to be made aware of?
                  Last edited by Wired; 18th July 2010, 02:25. Reason: removed excess
                  Caesar's cipher - 3

                  ZKHQ BRX HYHQWXDOOB GHFLSKHU WKLV BRX ZLOO UHDOLVH LW ZDV D ZDVWH RI WLPH!

                  SFX JNRS FC U6 MNGR

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

                    To many questions.
                    All your answers should be found in the documentation... If it is written carefully.
                    Marcel
                    Technical Consultant
                    Netherlands
                    http://www.phetios.com
                    http://blog.nessus.nl

                    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What information do you gather first when you come into a new network?

                      Main post updated.

                      Marcel: You're assuming there IS documentation, and if there is, it's up to date and correct. No guarantees on that, especially if it's a small business and the former "IT" guy is the owner's sister's grandmother's cousin's nephew who is the "geek" of the family because he knows where the power button is, and he thinks it's the circuit breaker...
                      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X