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IT Pro Mark Crawford's management dos and don'ts

Mark Crawford shares the following tips he has collected as a network support specialist.

IT Pro
Mark Crawford
IT administrator Mark Crawford has been in the IT trenches for over 20 years. Along the way, he's learned some important IT survival strategies. He shared the following tips, which he practices regularly as a network support specialist for Keystone Health Plan Central in Camp Hill, Penn.

Do have at least one fallback plan, Crawford said. Ask yourself: "What is the worst that can happen?" Plan to use that answer as a basis for saving your system if anything goes wrong.

Do provide adequate justification for new product purchases. Management is going to ask why new products are necessary, and you must be prepared to answer them in a language they can understand. "Make sure you can convey your justification in non-technical terms," Crawford said. Often, managers simply nix anything they can't understand. To get adequate funding, you'll need to talk in terms they understand, such as return-on-investment and total cost of ownership.

"Don't upgrade for the sake of upgrading," said Crawford. Only upgrade when the new system or software provides new features you need or fixes problems you are having.

Do spend a generous amount of time during the budgeting process to plan for everything you may want to do during the following fiscal year. Crawford recommended keeping a "budget folder" filled with ideas to propose and explore during the budgeting process, he said.

Do keep your disaster recovery plan up-to-date, Crawford said. Test it at least once a year. "Make sure you can actually restore data from all those tape backups you perform," he advised.

>> Read Mark Crawford's IT Pro File.

>> Read Doug Paddock's IT Pro File.

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