WOOF! Newsletter

May 13, 2021

Moving Offices? Follow This "IT Move" Checklist for Minimal Stress and Maximum Uptime

Planning an office move? When it comes to moving your IT, it’s easy to miss critical steps that can cause you unexpected downtime...and even lost business. Learn the IT Move tips of the pros, and be your company’s office move hero!

TIME TO READ: 10 MINUTES

 

Moving your company’s IT is more complicated than one might think. One false move can literally result in an IT disaster. If you’re in charge, you need to follow a thorough checklist to make the move a smooth one.

This checklist covers all areas of IT you’ll need to address:

  1. What to consider before you even sign the lease / buy the property
  2. Internet Service
  3. Network Hardware
  4. Cabling the New Office
  5. Moving Computer Equipment
  6. Wireless Access Installation
  7. Remote Work Setup
  8. Telephony & Conferencing


Before Signing a New Office Lease or Buying Commercial Property

When deciding whether to lease or buy a new property for your company, make sure to factor in the availability of internet service and reliable power. Some of our customers leased or purchased new offices…only to find out later that they didn't have fiber available, or dirty power resulted in unexpected power outages there for years.  Both of those situations can be deal breakers.

Due to the proliferation of cloud services and hosted voice (for phones), we recommend a fiber Internet circuit in most situations. 

TO DO:

  1. Call your ISP and ask if they have fiber service to your prospective new locations.
  2. Check with the local power company and find out how many power outages have occurred at that location in the past 2 years.  Unexpected power outages wreak havoc on IT equipment and staff productivity. 


Internet Service

When it comes to setting up new Internet service, work with an IT Consultant from the very beginning. This gives you access to deals & expertise you wouldn't have otherwise. ISP contracts typically last for 2-3 years—you want to make sure you have enough bandwidth over the course of the contract!

TO DO:

  1. Have your IT Consultant determine how much bandwidth you will need at your new location.  This is not as straight-forward as you might think and will be based on a wide range of factors.
  2. Solicit multiple bids from ISPs, through the IT Consultant. Since they speak the same language, they can make sure to request the correct service & get the best pricing.
  3. Switching Internet providers with the move? Find out what your early termination fees are for the current Internet service.
  4. Place your order early—fiber circuits can take anywhere from 30-120 days to install.  Don't worry; you can cancel at no charge all the way up to the day of installation.


Internet Turn-up

TO DO:

  1. You will need your IT Consultant or your in-house network engineer available for the Internet test & turn-up.
  2. If you're moving the same Internet service to a new building, make every attempt to do a "hot cut" – transferring the service, but keeping the same IP addresses. This minimizes the number of changes.  If done right, a “hot cut” can often avoid downtime entirely.

PRO TIP:  If you're moving to a new office, hang onto your older ISP's hardware!  When canceling the contract, ask the ISP what they want you to do with it. If they say, "Go ahead & get rid of it," get that in writing.

We've had customers receive notices 1 year after contract end, asking for the hardware back. If they don’t have it, they get a very large invoice.


Network Hardware

Will you move all your network hardware (firewall, router, switch, Wi-Fi) to your new location? 

TO DO:

  1. Ask your IT Consultant or in-house network engineer to review your existing network hardware. You may need new hardware for the greater bandwidth, or some of your network gear may be end of life. You'll also need to calculate the number of IP addresses the new office needs.
  2. If needed, order new hardware while you wait. The new hardware can be configured and ready for install prior to your new network turnup. 
  3. Schedule the network transfer as close to your users relocating as possible.

PRO TIP:  Order new network gear early. Expect supply chain delays due to COVID.


Cabling the New Office

Make sure to hard-wire the Internet connectivity for your users' desks, conference rooms, common work areas, and rest areas. It's more stable, secure, and avoids slow/dead Wi-Fi spots.

If the new office has cabling in place, you might be able to use some of it. However, cabling has a lifespan like other IT hardware, which means not much of it will be usable in a new office layout.

TO DO:

  1. Schedule a walk-through of the office with your IT Consultant or in-house IT team.
    • Where will the network gear go?
    • Where will the servers go?
    • What are the desk locations?  Will each workstation and conference room require ethernet cabling?
    • Is Wi-Fi needed throughout the office?
    • Will you need Wi-Fi access in outdoor areas? Where?
    • Where will the printers go?
    • Will you need new phone equipment?
    • Will you move networked surveillance cameras from the old location, or install new ones instead?
    • Moving to the cloud?  This is also a good time to hybridize your IT.
  2. Hire a team to do the cabling, preferably from an IT Support company who does this kind of work (like PlanetMagpie).
  3. Make a Visio diagram (or floor map) of the cabling, with notations for each user's outlet.  Include user names for each office location, and a unique number for each. Then you can label each user's equipment and check it against the map.

PRO TIP:  If you’re building a new office, don’t let the builders close up the walls and ceilings before you finish cabling!


Moving Computer Equipment

Some moving companies will move your IT hardware.  However, we recommend having an IT support company move your IT hardware, to guard against damage and IT chaos.

Since IT professionals know how to handle IT hardware already, they're more apt to save you headaches from mismatched peripherals, broken computers/monitors, tangled-up network cabling, etc. They also know how to note important network details, so they can rebuild your infrastructure at the new location quickly.

TO DO:

  1. Determine which computer equipment you'll move to the new location:
    • Workstations
    • Workstation monitors
    • Servers
    • Network hardware
    • External/USB drives
    • Conference room monitors
    • Printers
    • Phones
    • Cameras
    • Peripherals (cables, mice, keyboards, headsets)
  2. Tag each item with a name/department, and a unique number. Put the number on a map of the new office where it should be located.
  3. Determine who moves the computer equipment to the new location, and the process they should follow.
  4. If you don’t want any workweek downtime for your team, schedule the office move on a weekend.
    • Make sure your IT movers include time for testing everything they install.

PRO TIP:  If either location has carpeting, make sure workers wear anti-static straps and use anti-static bags for monitors, workstations, keyboards, network hardware, servers, hard drives, etc.  Walking on a carpet can build up enough static electricity to fry some electronics!


Wireless Access Installation

Avoid a big work disruptor and make sure your new office has ample Wi-Fi signal everywhere! 

TO DO:

  1. Make sure your IT Consultant or internal IT team knows your goals with respect to Wi-Fi in the office.
  2. Schedule installs for Wi-Fi access points throughout office and common areas.
  3. Conduct signal testing throughout the new location, BEFORE users move in (test for dead spots, mixed Wi-Fi routers).


Remote Work Setup

Make sure your remote workers can access the network and stay productive. 

TO DO:

  1. Do you have a hardware VPN?  Install the VPN in the new building, and then test it with any remote users.
    • Any users still in the old building are technically “remote” at this point, so you can test with them!


Telephony and Conferencing

Using an old PSTN system for voice calls? This move may be the impetus you need to move to a modern solution like Microsoft Teams. These systems give you more call features with less setup time...provided you have an IT Consultant who knows them and can help you pick & implement the best option.

TO DO:

  1. Meet with your company’s leadership team. See if a new telephony solution or conferencing upgrade makes sense for the new location.
  2. If so, obtain a quote from your IT Consultant. Include your timeline as well.

PRO TIP: It takes 30 days to port numbers between telephony providers, so keep that in mind when deciding on a new solution.

PRO TIP: Desktop phones are becoming a thing of the past, with many businesses opting for headsets instead.  They cut down on office noise, and work perfectly for hybrid/remote work scenarios.


Relocate Your IT and Your Team Safely with This Checklist

This checklist comes directly from our own expertise, moving IT for many customers over the past 20 years.

Why share it now? Because we’re seeing lots of businesses downsizing their office space, shifting to hybrid offices, or relocating and expanding.

When the time comes for your office to move, we hope this checklist helps you conduct the move smoothly, and helps you be ready-to-go on Opening Day!

 

Looking to improve your IT operations' efficiency this year? Contact us for a network review (no obligation!) at woof@planetmagpie.com.