Author Topic: Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?  (Read 900 times)

blurkraken22

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Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?
« on: January 06, 2022, 07:50:38 AM »
TLDR: How can I learn to manage IT for a small business (10-20 employees) using Microsoft hosted products (AzureAD, Office365)?

So, first off, the good news: I proposed scaling back work to the boss man and he was 100% receptive. We talked about me switching to a purely project basis (a few months on project, then a break, then take on a new project). He said he would prefer if I didn't entirely disappear (unless there's a need) and wondered if I would be open to working x hours per week/month where x is almost entirely up to me. One way that could work for a shop that mostly does project work would be for me to take on the IT maintenance and best practices work. Currently all the IT work is "done" by the boss, but he has never grown any comfort with the Microsoft hosted stuff. I know there are many IT people in the community, so I was hoping I could get advice from folks in the know.

I'm trying to define what this role would require and how many hours I would probably need to commit.

About us:
  • Software consultants, so everyone is fairly competent with computers and accustomed to solving their own problems. We remote/vpn into customer systems, so having decent security standards on our side is critical to our work.
  • 10-20 employees, all remote (US/Canada) using company laptops
  • AzureAD, Office365, Microsoft365
  • Nobody has IT duties at this time, but I think a guy who just left was the guy the boss called when he didn't know what to do.

Here's what I think I would need to do:
  • Ensure we meet best practices and standards for security. This type of info is often requested by customers before we get access to their systems. Antivirus, password policy, data retention. This is the main thing of interest to the boss.
  • On/off-boarding procedures.
  • Maybe: Monitor Azure cloud resource usage. We have at least one or two IaaS deployments in Azure for internal testing.
  • Maybe: Help with other random IT stuff as it comes up.

I started Microsoft's online cloud platform training and after a few days/modules it seems poorly targeted to my main responsibility above.  I was working through the content for Exam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. If I'm going to a decent job of this as a part-time job I probably need to educate myself better.

Here's my list of questions:
  • What have the boss and I missed above in terms of what needs to be done?
  • What's the fastest way to gain the required skills for the tasks listed above?
  • What kind ongoing steady-state time commitment is reasonable to keep the ship sailing once I have learned the basics?

Many thanks for your help and opinions.

blurkraken22

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Re: Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2022, 12:16:51 PM »
Still working on this. I found a better training path within the Microsoft system and have been working through the MS-900 Ms365 Fundamentals stuff instead.

I'm a bit surprised nobody here has anything at all to say, not even face punching. Is there somewhere else on the internet I can ask this question? Time to make a throwaway reddit account?

gooki

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Re: Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2022, 01:44:35 PM »
My comment was going to be walk away from that responsibility. Been there, done that. From my experience it's a thankless task. When anything goes wrong they blame you, even it it's totally out of you control like someone drove into a telephone pole and your companies internet is down.

Better off to tell the boss to outsource it, then concentrate on your day to day job. Now if this is your day to day job, then ignore my comment above and learn as much as you can.

Quote
Is there somewhere else on the internet I can ask this question?

Stackexchange.

alm0stk00l

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Re: Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2022, 03:26:34 PM »
I believe you are overthinking it. This is a small company where being "good enough" is good enough. There isn't any specific training you need to handle such a small shop unless you have an interest in improving your skillset. Generally, the tools provided by cloud service providers include recommendation engines and best practices analysis. Decide on the amount of time you want to spend and then just follow the suggestions provided.

Overall, if it were me, I would spend ~10 hours a week helping support a company like this based on how much time I want to spend researching relevant infrastructure improvements (e.g., cloud cost optimization, network security, DR/BC setup, ransomware prevention, etc.)

travel2020

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Re: Career help: How to be the IT guy for a small business?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2022, 09:13:10 PM »
I do this for a small business (owner), mostly focused on Office365 and not so much Microosft365. Overall things are very straightforward and I like that once I did the basic configuration, I didnít really have to worry much about much as a lot of things like security are taken care of by Office365. Mostly my work is just adding/deleting users, assigning  and removing licenses etc. and thatís not very frequent. I donít deal much with laptops so that may be some additional work but my (limited) understanding is thatís also all very configurable and you can setup custom policies to meet your organizational needs.

There are administrator courses for the different areas so those may be more appropriate as the next step after the fundamentals. You can probably also find relevant videos on YouTube and inexpensive courses on Udemy.