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Thoughts on Company Knowlegebase(s)?

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  • Thoughts on Company Knowlegebase(s)?

    Does anyone have experience setting up a knowledgebase for internal usage for your team? Perhaps standing up a Wiki of your own?

    The offsite nature of OneNote and Evernote isn't ideal for the sometimes sensitive info regarding how a particular customer's infrastructure is set up. The answer may be just having a bunch of CherryTree files?

    I'm envisioning something that would play nicely with adding screenshots for writing how-tos and reference material such as "On ABC platform of XYZ model running Software revision 1.2.3; where is the button to get verbose logging?" Or, "At our customer ACME Corp, how does their remote facility connect back to the HQ?"

    I feel this would also be helpful for on-boarding/ramping up the n00bs.

    Just wondering about people's thoughts.

    I hope everyone's having a great week!

  • #2
    Wikis are great for knowledge base documentation! So many companies have Confluence these days that it's usually my first suggestion because there is a chance it already exists. If not, an open source wiki tool would be easy to deploy, though, somebody has to document and maintain it once it's running, so keep that in mind in the decision process. Sharepoint could be an option if you have that, but permissions in Sharepoint can be a real pain and they are easy to screw up and leave things more open than intended.

    Many companies keep a lot of sensitive data in the Microsoft Office365 platform, so I'm curious what worries you about that with regards to OneNote?
    -AC

    ----
    Twitter: @AccidentalCISO
    Blog: https://www.accidentalciso.net/

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    • SenorWatsonSan
      SenorWatsonSan commented
      Editing a comment
      Right on! I was leaning toward a Wiki. Yes, I suppose you're right about OneNote....must just be my diy-ism that draws me toward prem-based.

    • Sandpaper
      Sandpaper commented
      Editing a comment
      My own reservation with O365 is appropriate ACLs. It’s all Sharepoint in the backend and I’ve seen it become a big mess with a variety of administrative groups for various teams ultimately having global access to other Sharepoint sites that are set up within the company.

      That aside, I do like the Teams front end with channels. It also saves in Sharepoint but when you set up a channel, you can share files with specific individuals who aren’t a part of the team (even a guest) as well as share at a file level and restrict download (file level only).

  • #3
    I like Wiki's and with a team willing to be fairly consistent they're great, but they can go to crap fast with the wrong people. I've been struggling with coming up with a documentation system that is structured and enforces conformity, especially for VPN documentation. We always seem to end up back to a mess of files in Teams/Sharepoint.
    --
    Ben Story
    @ntwrk80
    https://packitforwarding.com

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    • #4
      One place I worked actually used forum software for their knowledge base. At the bottom of a post, a bunch of applicable search keywords were written to help folks find the article later. It worked OK, I guess. Not as good as a wiki though, but it's another option.
      -AC

      ----
      Twitter: @AccidentalCISO
      Blog: https://www.accidentalciso.net/

      Comment


      • #5
        Various Wiki software are in common use. The value of the documentation is directly related to the willingness of the user to do self service. It is empowering and enables learning, but only if the user isn't lazy or stretched for time. Documentation is always a good thing. Understand the metrics of how value is created in a wiki and your expectations won't be inflated.

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        • #6
          Other thoughts on company wikis:

          Don’t allow everyone to have the the ability to create content. Have specific owners set at some level. Misinformation will be posted which is an ISO 9001 nightmare. Imagine a process being posted and other teams copy that to their own section for reference. It won’t get updated and you’ll have clones all over the place that don’t match. Or you might have someone post content in an unmoderated section that isn’t correct and could have consequences like financial costs to the company if followed.

          You could lose track of structure and have information lost in books and crannies of the wiki.l if it’s large scale. How many ancient, orphaned confluence wiki pages would some of you say you’ve come across? Where’s that process? It’s on the wiki somewhere. Oh, I’ll just create a new one because the original author left years ago and it was never tracked for updates.
          -
          Sandpaper

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          • coffeefueled
            coffeefueled commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd always argue for allowing everyone to create/suggest content, with approvals at the lowest possible level of ownership for any particular page/section (i.e policies would be by management, technical documentation might be a senior dev or dev team lead approval). If you apply too much top-down control you lose the benefits of a wiki and may as well just go back to word docs. If you apply too little, as you say, you get a mess made up of orphans and suggestion boxes.

        • #7
          Understandable. It all depends just like everything. Lowest level to create, edit, suggest, etc. promotes involvement and reduces pain to manage. The experience to which I’m referring was specifically related to teams creating their own copies of government customs rules to quickly reference; rules which if changed and not precisely followed, were very costly to the company or could even deny the company access to move goods to/from a country. The company had ISO 9001 certification around those processes so if an audit knew they weren’t being controlled and followed, there goes the cert as well. So if there is content that needs to be more strict make sure the controls are in place to manage it.

          I’m going to be investigating moving policies to git repos in the future using yaml files and conduct reviews via pull requests.
          -
          Sandpaper

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