IT Documentation for Restaurants

Written by
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I find that IT documentation is often a very haphazard process for SME restaurant bars and coffee shops. They generally do not have dedicated IT staff to undertake this function. Often, even the external IT contractors they do use, have a tendency to not really document their setups very well. Even if they do, this is only for their setups and not for the overall IT environment. Usually the restaurant manager’s notes are very sparse on such subjects too. All of this is fine until an issue arises. Then this lack of documentation and focus makes troubleshooting very much more time consuming and therefore expensive.

IT documentation process does not need to be hugely onerous. At SME level, you generally do not need special software to undertake this function. Some simple text files containing key information and some concise diagrams are all you really need. These brief documents will help the management team to understand and visualise how their networks and IT vendors sit within the scope of their business. They can also assist in helping IT vendors not to undertake setups that may conflict with other vendors.

Documenting key information like internal subnets, DHCP ranges, gateways, DNS servers, switch configurations, VLAN's, fixed IP addresses for key devices etc. can be really helpful. Not doing this will slow down work when IT vendors come on site. They will be required to work out the network topology and setup by viewing device configurations and piecing things together manually. Worse still, if they are in a rush, they may not even bother to do this. With no documentation or rule sets to go on, they may simply setup or repair their kit how they see fit, regardless of any other network devices.

Documenting key IT passwords is also a mission critical process. However, it is important that this documentation is kept secure at all times based on the confidential nature of the information. You do not want unauthorised personnel having the ability to reconfigure important network devices. That said, you also want to avoid having to reset hardware devices and rebuild configurations from scratch, just because the logon passwords have been lost or forgotten.

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MWDC Service Provision

"In my capacity of a pay-as-you-go IT manager, concise and precise documentation is an absolute must. If I am doing my job well, and setting up robust systems, I am often not required to attend sites for months on end. Sometimes even years. However, when returning to sites I rely heavily on network diagrams and site documentation to get me back up to speed with these networks quickly. Any changes to the IT devices or topology needs to be pedantically updated on configuration notes and diagrams. Whilst I securely store the IT configuartion notes for sites as and when they need them, I always send out updated cabling schematics to restaurant teams so that they can assist them with day to day troubleshooting. "