Well, this is a question I get a lot. The simple answer is that there is no clear answer. I like to call myself a creative geek or an IT enabler. But that does not explain what I do either. Please have a quick look at my background, to see where I am coming from.
Here are some of the things find myself doing regularly:
Planning & Workflows
Setting up individual computers is usually not hard. But after some time, as a company grow, they usually end up with more and more external hard drives, daisy-chained networks and computers that starts to feel slow.
All of above can be avoided by some basic planning. The customers I am involved with I help grow and make sure they have the equipment needed for their size.
Installation & Hardware
Installing machines, upgrading hard drives and RAM, installing PCI-e cards for added functionality. Extending your screen to another room, access video and share screens remotely or locally, wirelessly and securely. I know how to get it done and what you need.
Backup & Storage
Data that only exists in one place is not data. Every hard drive will fail.. eventually. Not to mention that hard drives formated with Mac OS Extended (HFS+), the default formatting on a Mac, are lightly to develop file structure inconsistencies over time. There are many ways to fix this with solutions ranging from Time Machine, cloned systems, "cloud" solutions, central storage with backup, tape archiving to mention a few.
In real life usually you only become interested in this after it is too late, and after a data rescue session the need for a good storage strategy going forward usually becomes a top priority (or at least it will start to look more economical). I have the know how and experience with setting up sustainable solutions and it is something I deliver continuously to my customers.
Shared storage involves making sure you get a storage solution protected with either RAID 0, 5 or 6 or in some cases 50. Preferably with a RAID system that has redundant controllers and failover.
Networking & Performance
Working on a single machine is all good. Until you realize you need more speed to edit 3-4 channels of video simultaneously, or you need to work together over the network. A lot can be done to optimize ethernet networks, and there are many alternatives when you outgrow that as well: Xsan, metaSAN, iSCSI etc. There are also a number of direct attached (DAS) options available: USB3, FireWire, eSATA, Thunderbolt to mention a few connection methods. A chain is never stronger than its weakest link and unfortunately the bottle-necks in any network / storage solution keep changing due to number of clients and load. The importance of building the right solution from the start and knowing how to expand it is huge.
Servers & Security
In many cases the widely available options for email, web-site hosting using online services can be fine for individuals or smaller companies. If you however need extra security and flexibility one option is to get your own server. Having that will allow for encrypted passwords, flexible account creation, no more limits on email and storage. You can also get features like automatic setup of iPhones and iPads, remote wipe stolen products, network home-directories (allowing you to log in on any machine with your own user kept intact) and much more. I have a lot of experience in these areas and can help getting a workflow and system up and running. Most of my existing customers with these setups have their own IT person, who I help get up and running. But some keep me as their single point of contact.
As with anything that changes as fast as technology, issues comes and goes, hardware fails and are repaired, new machines gives new options and new technologies develop. A large part of my work involves thinking fast, isolating issues and coming up with workarounds.
If there is one thing I have learnt the last 10-15 years it is to expect the unexpected.
For details about how to work with me, please see here.