What you need to maintain your IT Infrastructure, Part 2
As more workers are using remote access, the need to maintain your network increases. This article is the second part in a series that details what should be looked at for both cloud and local environments.
In the first part of this series, we talked about the need to maintain the core components of your network, whether your network is based locally on-site or hosted in the cloud. The broad categories we looked at were; server hardware, network hardware like routers and switches, web, email and finally workstations. In this post, we will review critical IT support and maintenance on the virtual machines (within a server), power supply and data backup.
IT Support to Virtual Machines
In the last article, we talked about how many of today’s servers (both local and in the cloud) are virtualized. This means that there are many little servers within one server. These little servers are called virtual machines (VMs). These VMs segment the data, files, programs etc. so that they can better utilize the server hardware, enabling the philosophy, “doing more with less”. There are cybersecurity benefits to this as well - if one VM crashes or is corrupted you don’t lose all of the data on the others. You can create as many VMs as you like but what we do is create one for each role; the domain controller, a second domain controller, a file server, a SQL server, an RDS or TS server, and a backup server. Here’s a brief explanation of what each one of those does:
a. Domain Controller: This typically holds passwords, usernames, and who has access to files and programs.
b. File Server: This gives the ability to have shared files and the rights are managed by something called an Active Directory; that gives the authorization for the usernames in the domain controller.
c. SQL Server: This is a database engine. It provides access to the data of software like Office. It allows data to be managed centrally vs. on individual machines.
d. RDS or TS Server: Instead of having individual workstations have their applications like office, adobe, etc. this system will hold them all and provide shared access. RDS centralizes corporate applications simplifying application administration … not sure what individually means here?) It works by you logging in to your workstation and then logging in to the terminal server (TS or RDS) giving you access to all your programs like word, excel, sage, adobe etc. The workstation is only used to access the RDS where all user work is performed.
e. Backup Server: This is the server where your data is copied and saved to a backup repository.
There’s many more server VMs you can create to hold things like spam filters, anti-virus, etc. but you can also place them on VMs, such as the examples mentioned above.
The maintenance involved for each of these VMs is more or less the same. You want to ensure that; there are no unaddressed errors in the event logs, the correct users are in the Active Directory, install updates, check on disk space and memory usage, review back up selections, review user counts, test the restore of data from backup, etc.
We recommend that a review and check occurs at least once a month for these VMs.
Server Room Maintenance
If you have a local set up, as in a server in your office or workplace, you want to check in on a few things. Are cables labelled and tidy? This may seem minor but it can save you a lot of time and thus money if cables and equipment are correctly labelled when an IT tech is working on an issue. You also want to ensure that the server room is at a cool temperature (consistently maintained at comfortable room temp ~ 20degc). Server Room equipment gives off a lot of heat and if it gets too hot in the room, the equipment could fail.
IT Support to Power Supply's
Typically your network equipment will be plugged into a UPS. A UPS will ensure that your equipment is getting power in the event of a power loss. What this does is allow your equipment to shut down properly – avoiding loss of data or corruption of files. Most enterprise-grade UPSs will allow you to check the loads and see any alarms.
Anti-Virus and Spam Maintenance
Most corporate-grade spam and anti-virus filters allow you to manage them through a console. It is here that you can check logs, reports, updates and ensure that there are enough licenses for your users.
We hope this provided some insight into the importance of maintaining or IT. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.