Server Maintenance

Keeping Your Server Running Smoothly And Securely

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Server Maintenance

Servers run 24/7 and are expected to run soothly. Most of the time you never hear any complaints from them, however when they do decide to go down it can be catastrophic. Although the use of the Cloud has somewhat lessen these outages, it has not completely eliminated them.

By utilizing some simple techniques and practices, you can minimize your chances of a server failure and keep your server secure and safe from breaches, viruses and malware.

Server Maintenance Tips

Keep Your OS Updated: As obvious as it sounds, you wouldn't believe the times administrators fail to keep their server OS updated. Whether they are running Windows or Linux, it is important to keep the system updated and patched to minimize outside threats such as malware and security vulnerabilities.

Verify Your Backups Are Working: Backing up may be a routine, but how often to you check to see if your backups are actually working? Run some test recoveries to assure they are working properly. Make sure that if you are going to make system changes you run and test the backups.

Monitor Disk Usage: Avoid using your production system as an archival system. Locate and delete old logs, emails and outdated software versions. Also, eliminate any software that is no longer in use with no plans to use it again. You can store the unused program on some external storage device, but clear up whatever disk space you can on your production system.

Check Hardware for Errors: Check your logs as a routine for any errors or warnings about overheating, disk read errors or network failures. These could be indications of potential hardware failures.

Check Server Utilization: Routinely check your server's disk, CPU, RAM and network utilization. Note if you are reaching your limits and plan accordingly. This usually means you will need to add resources to your server or migrate to a newer server. The use of performance monitoring tools is recommended and you can install SYSTAT on most Linux servers. This software will provide a baseline data report for performance.

Monitor RAID Alarms: Production servers usually use RAID. If you are, you should be monitoring the RAID status.

Check Application Updates: Web applications can account for at least 95% of all security breaches. Be sure that you have all of your web applications properly updated.

Review User Accounts: Review and remove users that are no longer working for your company. If policy dictates that these users accounts cannot be removed, make sure that the accounts are disabled.

Change Passwords: It is highly recommended that user passwords have a set and mandatory expiration. If you have granted others access to the server for maintenance purposes, (and hopefully not as Administrator) you should change the passwords at least every 180 days, sooner if you feel that there is a reason the system may be compromised.

Check System Security: Review your server's security on a regular basis, at least every four months though every month is preferable.