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A server care plan

When something is wrong with your server, you can bet that more than a few things are wrong with your business. Think disgruntled customers, lost revenues and perhaps long-lasting damage to reputations that can take years to rebuild. Businesses need to take all necessary steps to achieve as close to 100-percent server uptime as possible, or face the unpleasant consequences.

By regularly updating and following a comprehensive maintenance plan with scheduled checks and balances, server operation will be the least of your worries. Throw in routine exams of server security and application functionality—sort of like technological EKGs or MRIs—and you can rest easy in the knowledge that your computer network will continue to operate smoothly.

Rather than attempting to cram oblong equipment into cylindrical tubes, basic server maintenance involves an IT administrator reviewing such performance measurements as log files, hard disk space, redundancy, and operating temperature. It also involves ensuring that monitoring utilities are up to date and security patches are properly installed.

Security is job one

  • In addition to installing security patches from a CD onto each network computer, it’s wise to initially configure servers offline for maximum protection against internet-borne infections.
  • Once a server is up and running, it’s a good idea to severely limit administrator-level access.
  • For optimal protection against hackers and technical issues, it’s best (and simpler) to dedicate each network server to a single—rather than multiple—function or application.

Other security measures consist of the basic blocking and tackling that most network administrators can almost perform in their sleep, including:

  • Establishing strong passwords
  • Eliminating redundant codes and applications
  • Reviewing and ensuring the safety of incoming files
  • Locking out accounts after unsuccessful login tries
  • Continually installing new and updated patches

In addition to strong security, the best server maintenance plans include other elements each designed to maximise system uptime. Planned downtime is required for maintenance, and can be scheduled so that backup servers can ensure continued access to stored information. Unscheduled downtime, due to a power outage or other technical snafu, is to be avoided at all costs.

It’s worth repeating—when any business web server is down for any length of time, money is wasted, customers are impacted and credibility can be damaged.

Be prepared for any and every emergency
Similar to personal health plans that depend on getting enough rest, eating sensibly and exercising, preventative medicine for servers not only saves money but also a whole lot of discomfort. The best server maintenance plans, among other elements, include establishing a data backup and recovery plan, and testing it often.

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