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Learning Network Manager Thread, New School, No IT staff, New manager, any pearls of wisdom? in Technical; Hi, I have just today taken over a schools IT department. Sadly the previous Network manager died during the Summer ...
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    bencole's Avatar
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    New School, No IT staff, New manager, any pearls of wisdom?

    Hi,

    I have just today taken over a schools IT department. Sadly the previous Network manager died during the Summer holidays. The school has had a council technician in simply firefighting issues as there are no other members of ICT staff.

    Luckily I have managed to get hold of the Admin Passwords so this is not an issue. I have ran ip sniffing software to get server and switch names and IP's and now have access to everything.

    I plan to build a linux box to run a fog server and run NeDi.

    Does anyone have any advice for me in this situation?

    My main projects are to upgrade to windows 7 and office 2013 and also I must install wireless across the school. In any normal school I would go for a site licence but I am reconing we only have 140 computers including all admin staff etc. The servers also need upgrading as there is one on 2008 and the rest on 2003. Non are virtual and I'm not fussed about load balancing.

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    VeryPC_Colin_M (11th November 2013)

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Assess security weaknesses first (AV updates, firewall updates etc) - This is a big thing, and for some reason people look at last
    Check everything is licensed as it should be
    Check with staff for any pressing issues they feel need doing (give all staff an email, and what is their most urgent job) - this gives you a feel for the staff, their needs etc, and some work for your helpdesk
    If no helpdesk, install one
    Document everything when possible, server name, IP ranges, dhcp ranges, subnets etc
    Have a test upgrade machine, test it with children and staff alike. Find out the needs of both and tweak images to suit

    That should keep you going for a month or two.

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    bencole (11th November 2013)

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    bencole's Avatar
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    cheers nephilim

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Another aspect beyond the technical, manage expectations. You have a hell of a job ahead so don't agree to (or pressure you into) delivering everything at once. Use the old engineers trick, work out roughly how long something will take and add a bit.

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    bencole (11th November 2013)

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    bencole's Avatar
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    Good Advice TechMonkey

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    In addition to @nephilim's comments check backups and that backups are running. Last thing you want is to have something go wrong and have no way to recover.

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    Hi Ben,
    Firstly let me say welcome, and I hope our members can help you in any way they can. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first as it may help the answers you get given.


    1. Is this your first educational IT role?
    2. What is your previous experience (just so we can let you know about things you may not be aware of)?
    3. Do you have any specialist educational network management software in use such as RM, Impero, NetSupport School etc.
    4. What is your backend (amount of servers, backup devices etc.)?
    5. Do you have locally hosted email, web or is it external?
    6. Who provides your internet (RBC or commercial ISP)?
    7. Any idea of your budget?
    8. What size and type of school is it (high school, academy and amount of users)


    And that's about it for now. Oh, and my advice is not to change anything until you know how it all fits together!

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    bencole (11th November 2013)

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    I would suggest that you should have fortnight meetings with a representative of SMT to disuse how it is going.

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    bencole's Avatar
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    1. Is this your first educational IT role? No been a schools IT technician for 2 years howver it was a new build all the latest and most up to date kit etc. never made any massive purchases
    2. What is your previous experience (just so we can let you know about things you may not be aware of)? quite a lot
    3. Do you have any specialist educational network management software in use such as RM, Impero, NetSupport No RM thank god, spent the last 2 years de RMing a school(apart from RM software for information management system)
    4. What is your backend (amount of servers, backup devices etc? Minimal, its a small school (special educational needs) 20 classrooms plus a number of special facilities suites (physio and hydrotherapy)
    5. Do you have locally hosted email, web or is it external? internal email however 1st port of call is moving to office 365 free version. We have no printers with scan to me etc so can foresee no issues immediately
    6. Who provides your internet (RBC or commercial ISP) council managed service, smoothwall etc. No chance of changing. local authority decision however I have been working for another school in the same council
    7. Any idea of your budget? budget is as and when needed, as its a special school all things money related are taken on a case by case basis.
    8. What size and type of school is it (high school, academy and amount of users) 20 class rooms 140 students ish about 100 staff.



    And that's about it for now. Oh, and my advice is not to change anything until you know how it all fits together!
    no plans to change anything yet for obvious reasons mainly looking for any software anyone knows of that's free which may help me with auditing etc. Just managed to crack open the original spice-works but now i'm locked out

    My first task is to get into Joomla I am in the server but just trying to find where it stores everything.

    Also I don't know the server local admins passwords, I can crack a normal password with UBCD anyone done a local server password before?


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    bi weekly meetings at the moment lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by bencole View Post
    My first task is to get into Joomla I am in the server but just trying to find where it stores everything.

    Also I don't know the server local admins passwords, I can crack a normal password with UBCD anyone done a local server password before?

    Joomla passwords should be stored as a hash in the database, if you find out what encryption it uses to hash, you can rebuild a hash of your own and replace it.

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    bencole (11th November 2013)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    You can use the same tools (offline password changer or whatever it is) for all server OS's too. Same process exactly.

    One thing that doesn't appear to have been mentioned is that you *must* do what your predecessor failed to do. Document everything. Make sure the relevant passwords are kept in a safe for the exact reason you are struggling now.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 11th November 2013 at 03:29 PM.

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    bencole (11th November 2013)

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    On it like a tramp on chips for documentation. The heads getting copies of everything.

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    Red Bus file keep some where safe and sealed Red Bus envelop containing passwords in safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bencole View Post
    The heads getting copies of everything.
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

    Here we have 3 levels:
    - Essential documentation (IP info, site maps) goes on walls for quick reference
    - All documentation goes in a shared area for IT staff and SLT have read access. We are also creating a hard drive copy just incase.
    - Secure documentation (admin password, admin username, emergency contacts) goes in sealed pack, signed and locked in a safe.

    Might be cynical but giving them everything either means it gets left around, gets passed to someone else or gets played with to see what it does. Either way, things start to break mysteriously and no one owns up.

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