They say you never realize how much stuff you have until you move. That’s true for homeowners, renters … and businesses.
It’s especially true with moving your technology.
Your business is almost certainly dependent on technology. That makes moving your computers, servers, cables, and the rest one of the most critical parts of moving your company’s offices to a new location.
And yet, most businesses don’t plan for it, or don’t plan well enough. They plan for the furniture, the potted plants, the paintings on the wall … but not for their all-important IT systems.
Moving Mistakes … and How to Avoid Them
As a result, they make mistakes. They don’t contact their ISP or other vendors in time, for example. That’s one of the most common. Or the moving company moves all the computers but doesn’t set them up.
Moving your IT is not like moving chairs and desks. You need someone experienced who knows what they’re doing.
Without that experience, Internet lines and other systems aren’t ready by move-in day, creating undesirable downtime. Staff gets frustrated because they can’t get back to work for days or longer.
And for a small or medium-sized business, a day or more of downtime can cost you big time.
That’s why you’ll benefit from having experienced IT moving professionals get involved, even if you have an in-house IT team.
Unlike a regular mover, for instance, a managed IT services provider can move and set up a server room in one smooth workflow. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of thing we do at PC Professional.
In short, if your company or organization is planning to relocate, you need to start thinking about your IT at the beginning of the planning process.
Here are nine tips to help you do it right.
Move Your IT the Smart Way
1. Audit your current IT systems.
Your first step should be to conduct a complete inventory of your current IT infrastructure. It’s essential to know how much you actually have. Then you have an accurate basis for all your other decisions down the line.
Your servers, routers, desktop computers, networks, and telecom equipment all take up space and use power, and you need to know how much. That’s why it’s a good idea to take this first step before you even start shopping around for a new space. You need to know how much IT space you need in the new office.
Your IT includes many items and systems you can easily overlook. Here’s a list to start with as you plan your move:
- Telephones & PBX system
- Fax machines
- Printers & copiers
- Internet service & lines (T1, ISDN, etc)
- Conference room speakerphones
- Peripheral devices (drives, etc.)
- Monitors & stands
- Server room equipment
- Power supplies
- Equipment cabinets
- CCTV systems (cameras & monitors)
- Safety control systems
- TV sets
- Audio equipment (mics, speakers, cables, etc.)
- Projectors, screens, whiteboards
You’ll want to label all equipment so doesn’t get lost in the move. It’s helpful to label both the end of each cable and the port it’s plugged into. Then you won’t need to waste time wondering what gets plugged in where in the chaos of a big move.
2. Make changes.
If you’re planning to upgrade or replace any of your systems, now is a really good time to do it. Why waste resources moving bulky equipment you’re going to replace soon anyway? Your inventory will help you see what you need.
Many companies move to a new space as part of right-sizing their operations. As more employees work remotely, fewer may come into the office. So you may not need as many workstations as you have now. Instead, you may need to upgrade your team software or device management and mobile security.
If you’re replacing or adding computers or other hardware, you’ll need to review potential spaces with this new equipment, not the old, in mind.
You’ve taken inventory and decided what to move or replace. With steps 1 and 2 complete, you now know what you need to look for in a new space.
3. Review potential spaces.
As you visit potential new spaces, inspect them from an IT perspective.
Is the server room large enough, with adequate ventilation, climate control, and a sprinkler system? Who is the building’s ISP and what Internet access will you have? Does the space require new wiring, ports, phone lines, or other structural changes before you move in?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask.
If any structural work needs to be done, now is the time to find that out and get started. It can take weeks or months to schedule your ISP or telecom provider to install new cables or switches in the new site.
Overlooking this important step is one of the most common mistakes companies make when moving. As a result, they move in and then must wait weeks to become fully functional.
4. Back up all your data.
All of it.
You should be doing this regularly anyway. But you need one last, comprehensive backup of all your apps and data before you move.
The offsite backup is your failsafe. Keeping copies onsite, however, will help you restore data faster if there’s an issue during moving, when you may not have Internet or cloud access yet.
5. Review and update your DRP and BCP.
Your Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan should get your company back up and running with little or no downtime if there’s a disaster during the move. So it’s a good precaution to refresh your memory of these plans beforehand.
More importantly, however, the plans may need to be updated for your new environs. The new building will certainly have a different layout, and maybe different structural or safety features that could impact the plans.
6. Review and update your cybersecurity.
Review your existing firewalls, email encryption, vulnerability assessments, software patches, and the rest. Make sure you can incorporate them in your new space. And like your audit in Step 1, if you’re planning major upgrades or changes to your security, now may be a good time.
7. Assign people to moving tasks.
Have you assigned roles and responsibilities to all IT staff? People whose regular duties may be interrupted during the move can be reassigned to help facilitate it instead.
IT staff can work with other employees to make sure all the technology at their desks is properly labeled and packed for moving. This could be part of the audit and inventory process.
As with any technological change, engaging and involving your staff throughout the process can make the transition easier and more efficient.
8. Plan the actual move.
Even if you plan everything perfectly following the steps above, moving day presents its own set of challenges.
This is where an experienced IT mover can save the day. Important things the average non-IT person wouldn’t think about.
For instance, you need to plan the timing of the transition. Servers and other equipment may need to be powered down in a certain order, not just shut off all at once.
Also, do the old and new offices both need to be running at the same time during the move? You and your service providers need to figure out how that will work. Changing your IP address and updating DNS servers can take time, and requires correct timing.
9. Give yourself enough time.
This last item is actually the first and foremost.
Give yourself plenty of time to plan your move. As we said above, it can take months to schedule the installation of cables, ports and outlets, PBX systems, or conference room audio and video.
But mainly, mistakes happen when you’re rushed. When you move your IT infrastructure, those mistakes can be costly.
If you start planning your IT move from the outset, you can carry it out smoothly and with less stress all around.
Make Your Move
Your IT is critical to your company’s operations and success. After a move, it needs to be up and running the moment your employees sit down at their new desks to try and get back to work.
PC Professional will make sure that happens. From consulting to moving day and beyond, we’re experts at packing, moving, and re-setting up your IT.
We’re seeing a lot of companies relocate these days, and PC Professional has moved a lot of them over the years.
Drop us a line and let us help you get moving today.