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7. Documenting IT
 

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Information Technology Digest:
Establishing
Stable Computer Environments
by Wolfgang Blauen, CISSP
7. Documenting IT (continued)

The rest is really only the legwork to compile the information and fill in each section with the appropriate content.

Finally, you need to make a decision on the document format and where to keep it. Well, if you use standard word processing software, you have the choice to either create one huge document that needs updating every time something changes or a collection of smaller, subject oriented documents. The most flexible approach, however, is to produce an HTML formatted document package that links components in more manageable chunks and allows you to maintain pages of information separately. This is specifically useful when you think about combining static information like the Overviews with frequently changing information for configuration data. Modern HTML authoring tools work very similar to Word processors and are quite inexpensive if not free. You want to store the latest version (and only the latest version) of this information in a protected, access controlled location accessible only form your local network. You also want to keep a non-volatile copy of this information off site to support your Disaster recovery processes (i.e. on CD or DVD media). Apply version control and archive or destroy any outdated versions of the documentation. And do yourself a favor and include the documentation in your standard backups.

Good documentation does not mean lots of pages but rather information that is accurate, well structured, purpose oriented and available where and when it is needed. And think about it this way: How can you understand the value of a proposed improvement if you donít have a reference that lets you understand the status quo? 

(read on ...) 

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