Help me think about why Network Admins Should have a laptop...

Hello Dopers,

I recently landed my first job as a Network Admin at a steel fabrication company. My 90-day evaluation was slightly above mediocre and I recieved an unexpected raise. The company’s network is in pretty good shape and it’s a great learning environment (for the most part) as I am WAY behind in some areas of technology. I.E. Phone systems/Server Administration and others… They got me for a pretty good price, and I feel my employment is beneficial to myself and to the company. I am working hard, learning all I can, staying out of office politics (or trying to, oh, but they always seem to find me somehow…)

I love being the tech chick, and I’ve already saved the day once when the server hard drive died, i produced a back up from the day before, etc etc…I believe I’ve shown my worth to the company,and they are treating me well in return.

but i really really really want a laptop… and i dont’ know how to ask for one. I’m fairly new to ‘business world’ (all i ever had to ask the retaurant manager for was a new name tag) I need help in all aspects of how to ask for a tool to get my job done more efficiently. Come on IT dopers, you know what I mean. I feel lost always trying to email myself from home to work, and missing bookmarks from one system. The pace of technology is mindboggling enough, and I am sure that a laptop is critical to the success of a nework administrator… (agree?)

I have some ideas. For example : Laptops are also great troubleshooting tools for network problems (The network spans 5 buildings and has a remote office with 4 more users… It’s really just a question of WHEN i am going to NEED a laptop)

I have some ideas, but more is better in this case and I could use some presentation pointers and help organizing my thoughts.

C’mon dopers… Help me get a new toy. …uhh… I mean, tool. :wink:


I work in IT and I have never heard of a network admin that DIDN"T have a laptop. If there is any job that requires one, it is a network admin and it should be self-explanatory as to why to the person you ask. You already gave some good reasons. How about saying that you need a laptop loaded with tools so that you can login remotely to fix problems off hours?

Hi Jenna,

I run the infrastructure support team for one of the business units of a steel company (maybe you’ve heard of us?). My team supports about 1200 users spread across around 30 sites.

Notebooks are very handy devices indeed. I wouldn’t be without mine, and here’s why:

  1. I can dial in from home, on the road, wherever. If there’s a problem and I’m not in the office, I can get in there and suss it out from wherever I am. Instant access. Mobility is the number one benefit. Stress that this means you can respond immediately to a problem, wherever you are. This is particularly true in a remote office scenario.

  2. Laptops make network diags easier (you’ve already said this, but it’s worth reiterating). Anything that makes fixing a problem easier generally translates into fixing it faster.

  3. You can carry all your “tools of the trade” software with you and it’s instantly accessible. You are not dependent on the network being functional to be able to get to the tools that will help you fix it.

There are other reasons too, including but not limited to, the fact that I can work from home when I feel too unwell to go to the office (but not so unwell that I can’t work) and the fact that I do a significant amount of travel and therefore a desktop isn’t practical.

If you are the only IT person in your organisation, you will undoubtedly find yourself in the position of having to justify expenses. You may be asked to present business cases if an expense is above a certain amount.

This is best done by evaluating the benefits and risks associated with whatever it is you’re trying to get money for. You must then present it from a business perspective: “If we spend $X we will achieve this benefit, with these risks, but if we spend $Y, we can go with a solution that mitigates most/all of these risks, and brings additional benefits.” Many benefits associated with IT projects are intangible - eg “if we go with solution X it will make life easier for the support people.” Try to turn that into hard dollars - easier means quicker. Quicker means less time spent. Less time spent means less money spent on support. It also means more time to spend on other tasks.

Remember that you must build a strong case for the solution you want, and you must be able to defend it. It will be scrutinised.

Hope this helps, and good luck in the new job! It’s lots of fun :slight_smile:


I’m not employed in the tech industry, and i don’t really know anything about doing your job, but it still boggles my mind that someone in your position wouldn’t have a laptop. Surely if anyone needs full-time remote access and mobility, it’s the person in charge of a company’s network?

Good luck!

Oh, not that I want to tell you how to do your job… but here’s some advice from one tech chick to another (feel free to ignore it, or tell me to get bent).

If a single hard disk failure causes downtime on a server, you’ve got an infrastructure problem. Namely, lack of redundancy. You should look at getting RAID 1 (mirroring) or better yet, RAID 5 (striping with parity, also generally quicker than mirroring). In either instance, a single disk failure won’t cause a server outage, which means your business can keep producing, and you can schedule downtime for the repairs.

Max :slight_smile:

Good Call, Max ! :cool:

Hard Drive Redundancy on my secondary server is my top priority during working hours. I have an ongoing thread on another board (tech board- mr&d reader forum) on lack of redundancy and I’m currently cramming my head on how to resolve this issue in the best way while trying to keep the end user problems at bay.

It’s the weekend…Back to the RAID problem on Monday… :frowning:


I’m a CIO, and not only did I fund my NA’s laptop, I pay for his monthly homeDSL so that he is online pretty much anytime. We have jobs that run all night, so even an hour or two of off-hours down time is a big deal. I think the investment has paid for itself many, many times over.

Obviously you need to be able to do all this securely - I assume I don’t have to mention VPN, etc., rather than using dial-in RAS, etc.

But understand the expectation - you won’t have a lot of reason NOT to be available if something comes up. Like a pager used to be, it’s another ball and chain.

I’ve had two NA’s over the years who have each pretty much doubled their salaries as they became more skilled and more critical to the success of the organization. It’s a great field to be in. Good luck.

My network stretches from Virginia to Maine (it’s the Public Switched Telephone Network) so either they give me a laptop or a helicopter. You network is not as large but you should still have a way to get in, in a hurry.

There are times when you might have a minor illness and prefer not to go into the office and spread it around. A laptop allows you to telecommute and save the company from paying your sick leave (or if you are salaried, at least they don’t lose your productivity).

  • how are you going to do on-site troubleshooting without a laptop that’s rigged for protocol analysis ? It’s a tool of the trade - for crying out loud, our interns have laptops. Just be sure to have a list of the SW you want to load on it if you’re asked to justify the investment.

It just makes it all that much easier for you to transfer the TONS of work you do at home back to the office.


But really, I hate to have things that I have developed or downloaded on my home computer, then get to work remembering what I need is still at home.

It’s all about being prompt, productive, and portable.

I used every single argument that was posted here to justify my boss getting me a laptop. He had absolutely no problems ordering it for me.

I get it this week and I can’t wait.

Like others, I’m shocked that an IT person wouldn’t already have a laptop. Hey, my company hands them out even to marketing managers like me! It’s not just so we can work from home (though they do appreciate us doing that), it’s so we can work on the road. Even if you don’t have regular travel scheduled, you may want to go to an industry conference or seminar. You’ll need a laptop. Forget about checking one out from the pool, having one of your own is much more efficient (and people in my office tend to treat the office pool laptops no better than rental cars, so your chances of getting one that’s all messed up are pretty good).

It sounds like you’re already doing a lot from home. Does your company mind you emailing files back and forth? We’re not really supposed to bring in any files that we’ve worked on using a personal machine (though we all do it), so that’s another reason we have laptops.

Any good presentation should include a list of the benefits to your company (sounds like you’ve got plenty of those), the cost of your request (c’mon laptops don’t cost much anyway), and a quantitative estimate of the benefits (increased productivity for you, savings to the company because you can fix problems quickly while out of the office, etc).

Many thanks for all the excellent suggestions and ideas.

Max - Got my hard drives ordered today! Looks like I’ll be working on a weekend soon :slight_smile: Thanks for sharing your great ideas and insight.