by Chip Manning
Layers of wiring infrastructure that have been around for years may lead to future trouble for your organization. It may not be the most glamorous of IT tasks, but it needs to be cleaned up, sooner rather than later. The best way to deal with this is to dive right in—locating, sorting, documenting, labeling, and clipping up the mess. Ignoring or procrastinating will only make matters worse and hurt your business in the long run. Here are some of the best ways to handle all those old wires.
Locate and Conquer
There’s no time like the present to start tackling the project. A long weekend or a week-long closure will give you enough time to bring order into the wired wilderness. First it’s best to trace the end point of every cable to find out where it leads to. Track every pair or circuit and identify its purpose. If it’s still something in use, locate the jack, cable or device where it connects. Discovering where the cables go and where they terminate is usually a process of elimination and is time consuming, but it’s a vital part of cleaning house. This task will give you a clear understanding of all the cables, their purposes, and their end points. It’s important to get all the details of this neater infrastructure down on paper for your records and future reference. In fact, documenting the specifics builds up an inventory that will help for migration or transfer activities that might occur later.
Label, Label, and Label Some More
While building an inventory, make sure you label everything as you go along. Figure out which cables and wires are working and which are not and tag them accordingly. You may also discover some cables are already marked as not working properly from past clean-up efforts. Take the time to replace old wires with new and update existing labels. Some of the older cabling may not need to be replaced and will now be useful because of the new wiring you installed. The labeling process will make sure anyone coming in can identify what’s what. Add any new additions to your inventory to build a more comprehensive list for documentation.
Houston, We Have a Problem
Malfunctioning equipment often leads to loss of continuity in business. It is vitally important to have proper protocols in place to manage these disruptions. IT teams need to focus their efforts on dealing with any equipment or infrastructure failures. Using this three-step approach will simplify the matter:
- Understand—Figure out what’s going on and the extent of the problem.
- Act—Define decisive steps to take the appropriate action.
- Manage—Migrate or replace cables depending on the need.
The Effects of Cleaning House
The clean-up process may be overwhelming to tackle, but the payoff is huge. It is an important time-saving step when doing repair and restoration work. You are not only more familiar with where everything goes, but all wiring is now neat and properly labeled, which makes repair work less stressful for everyone. Plus, a complete inventory of equipment, devices and wiring will reveal how IT can make future improvements in the infrastructure.
Wrestling the nest of wires and cables may seem intimidating at first. It can also be a painstakingly slow process that calls for an acute attention to detail. But it is a necessary task to help any business run smoothly. It will make any future repairs easier and will keep the infrastructure up to date and manageable.
A periodic closet clean-up might seem like an activity of limited value, but the effects will ripple across the entire organization.