As an expert in IT support for small business, I routinely work with clients looking to fully establish an IT department after previously relying for years on the collective efforts of multiple employees from other departments. Establishing a dedicated IT department is certainly no small undertaking. But it is necessary for a small business with IT tasks that have evolved into full-time work.
Whether establishing the IT department for the first time or looking to improve an existing department, I encourage my clients to look at the policies they have in place. Every small business IT department should have a least six fundamental policies that govern how the department accomplishes its mission. Those six policies are explained below.
1. Acceptable Use of Technology
Workers in the IT department have access to all sorts of technology during working hours. A policy outlining the acceptable use of said technology is critical. This policy defines how computers, mobile phones, fax machines, the internet, e-mail, and other technologies are used, along with penalties for misuse.
2. IT Services
In order for the IT department to effectively do its job, staff need to know the full scope of their mission. A comprehensive IT services policy establishes this. It outlines a supervisory structure and addresses the various tasks the IT department will be responsible for.
3. General IT Security
A general security policy outlines how networks and data is protected. It covers things like the proper use of data, the need for confidentiality, and so on. It also creates various levels of access and establishes guidelines for user names and passwords.
Creating a policy that includes guidelines for all in-house networks makes it easier for IT workers to know how those networks are configured, how employees are added and removed, how software is licenced, etc. A good networks policy can answer many of the questions not covered in the other five fundamental policies.
5. Technology Standards
This policy outlines how software and hardware is purchased and used within the company. It also includes policies regarding any technologies that are banned in the workplace.
6. Disaster Recovery
Every IT department should have a solid disaster recovery policy in place. This policy dictates how the IT department will recover in the event any kind of disaster threatens network integrity or stored data.
Making the IT Department Work
Every small business IT department should have at least these six policies in place. It is fine to include additional policies as-needed, but these six are non-negotiable. They provide the foundation for making the IT department work efficiently and securely. I would be more than willing to discuss all your IT support needs, including developing comprehensive policies to govern your IT department. Remember that the success of any small business IT department depends heavily on the policies in place and how strictly those policies are followed.
By Bob Lewis-Basson.
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