Battening Down the Hatches

We’ve talked about disaster recovery and backup strategies. Now that you’re prepared for the worst that can happen, you can turn toward educating yourself about what you’re backing up so that you can maintain it efficiently and head off small problems before they become large ones. I’m talking about audits. Yay! I love doing them. No, really.

I like to run a tight ship. If I’m going to be responsible for supporting an ECM solution, I want to know as much as I can about it or, at the very least, gain a basic understanding of how it works and know where to get help. What does it do? What are we doing with it? How is it configured? Who has access to what? What are our avenues of support? Even more important than answering these and other questions is ensuring that the answers are documented somewhere. This is especially important in the more complicated environments where there are too many settings to remember clearly on top of all the other regular duties. And, of course, I’d like to be able to go on vacation without an electronic leash.

If you’re worried about documenting yourself out of a job, don’t be. Most people hate writing and maintaining technical documentation. If you are willing and able to write so that your co-workers can clearly understand how to support the product, you will be worth your weight in gold, my friend. Also, nothing solidifies the understanding of something more than trying to teach it to someone else.

So, how does one do an audit? If it’s the first one, by crawling through all of the settings including relevant ties to external applications (e.g. Active Directory, ArchiveLink, etc.) and service accounts running supporting services. In other words, your goal should be to be able to recreate the environment from scratch. Clearly, this is a time intensive project, but most definitely also a worthwhile one. Documenting the results in readable form will take days but, once armed with your baseline audit, subsequent audits should be much easier. Since you’re supporting the environment, you’ll have a feel for what areas might have changed since the last one and can focus your efforts there. Unless your environment is particularly volatile, I would recommend doing a comprehensive audit every three years and a targeted audit annually.

For our OnBase customers, if you want the audit but don’t want to DO the audit, this task is among our service offerings. I’ve had the pleasure of doing performance audits for a number of our customers over the past few years and seeing into so many environments provides an interesting perspective on what works and what doesn’t in different scenarios. In addition to the basic and comprehensive audits outlined in the brochure, we also offer a la carte audits wherein we work with you to determine which specific areas you would like reviewed including the option of digging into workflow life cycles. Contact your Sales Rep for more information about the type of audit that meets your needs. As always, we’re here to help!

About Jennifer Siegel

Jennifer (aka Pixie), OCI, OCWE, OCWV, has over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field, which includes 13 years of Systems Administration, 15 years of developing and implementing technical documentation and training, and 10 years supporting OnBase deployments. She has extensive experience with SQL and a firm foundation in computer science. Despite this, she considers herself a well-adjusted nerd with hobbies including archery and knitting in public.

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