Resources, Tips and Knowledge

Chapter 1: What Network Documentation Is (& Why You Should Give a Bleep About It)

From Disasters to the Daily Grid, Why Document?

Network documentation isn’t just something that’s nice to have or helps you impress the bosses upstairs or any outside consultants they bring in. Good network documentation helps you meet KPIs, save the day, and go home on time (instead of missing the soccer game because the phone’s ringing off the hook and no one knows what, exactly, is down and what else is impacted.

Good network documentation helps you understand the network to survive employee churn, make intelligent business decisions, and quickly get important insights that impact everything from troubleshooting to keeping costs down.

  • Share Network Information with Stakeholders and Collaborate

    Ultimately, good network documentation empowers organizations to retain and, as needed, share key information about the network with all invested parties. Network documentation allows stakeholders to plan and collaborate in real-time — it also allows users to see what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t. It is a back-up policy that works for when key team members aren’t, for whatever reason, able to be at work (maybe they’re on a tropical island sipping a Pina Colada plotting their resignation letter, for example).

  • Stay in Compliance

    Network security protocols and compliance requirements are constantly changing — the need to stay compliant, however, is constant. Having up-to-date network documentation means you are ready for any audits and can avoid massive penalties that can result from not having a properly documented network.

  • Optimize Network Resources

    Network resources can encompass anything from budgetary (see: payroll (aka overtime) and needing to hire outside consultants) to spending on IT equipment, space, and power. Good network documentation gives IT professionals the insights they need to troubleshoot more quickly, prevent downtime when possible, smoke out zombie equipment (equipment taking up space and power but not performing any functions), and keep IT spending down with accurate insights.

  • Provide Management with Key Insights

    Good network documentation gives you the insights that you, and your management, need to make informed decisions about the future of the network — from purchasing to staffing to maintenance. When you can keep managers abreast of what’s going on in the network and what the network needs, backed by actual use data, communication with the folks upstairs is more efficient and productive.