Server Health Checks- It’s Time for a Check up

Blogs typically are not hard to write. The trick is to find something relevant for the readers and something that is passionate to you. Just take a look at some of the blogs my teammates here at Zunesis have written.

The year 2020 and how the Covid-19 pandemic are affecting our world, a topic which is dominating every news cycle, no matter the industry:

2021 – It’s Only a Date Change – Peter Knoblock

Going Back to Basics – Tom Savage

2021 Strikes Back – Caleb Clark

CARES Act Funding to Assist with Distance Learning – Sara Wessells

Another Zunesis blogger, a fitness enthusiast, compared IT Health Checks and Assessments to doing Yoga.

Yoga + IT Health = Nirvana – Stacy Lara

These blogs were easy for the authors to write because they are passionate about their topics, our world, the industry we serve, and the customers we serve.


AD Health Checks

Over four years ago in May 2016, I wrote a blog titled: Why You Need to Check the Health of Your Active Directory.

First, I cannot believe that was four years ago, and second, it is still very relevant today. In fact, I would say more relevant, enough to expand the AD Health Checks to the entire server infrastructure.

In that blog, I compared Active Directory to the central nervous system of the human body.  How, just as you see a doctor for regular checkups, AD also needs these types of checkups. If AD is the central nervous system, then the servers which support the infrastructure are the major organs. Just like the AD Health Check, the servers must be checked periodically.


Screen for Diseases

1. Verify backup solution: Be sure your backups are working. Daily reports need to be reviewed for completion and to identify issues. Perform test recoveries to be sure the backup solution is working at 100%. Don’t have a backup or unsure about your current solution? Zunesis has a blog for that:

Are You Sure You Can Recover Your Backups? – James Hughes

Protecting your Data with Veeam Backup – Adam Gosselin

2. Monitor Disk Usage: Servers generate a lot of data which can add up over time. Make sure you are getting rid of old log files.  If they are needed, then archive them to permanent storage. Remove old applications that can leave significant security holes. Review the removal as some uninstallers can leave old files. A smaller data footprint means faster recovery.

3. Monitor system alarms for hardware: Check for any type of hardware warnings, errors, or failures. Warnings tend to lead to errors, which can lead to failures.

4. Monitor server resource utilization: Monitor disk, CPU, RAM, network utilization, and log files. Check for OS or Application issues.

5. Updates, updates, updates: Check for Operating System updates. Check for Application updates. Check for Hardware (Firmware) updates. Hackers are very quick and can develop variants within hours of an issue being disclosed. Rapid response is key.

6. Review privileged user accounts: Validate for accuracy and check account permissions to make sure they are appropriate for each user.

7. Review Password Security: User passwords should be changed every 45-60 days. Service Account passwords should be changed annually.


Future Health Precautions

Assess Risk of Future Medical Problems

  • Review Microsoft Server Roadmap for planning migrations.

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Review and discuss current administrative practices surrounding the Servers.
  • Review and discuss and recommend monitoring strategies around the Servers.
  • Review and discuss and recommend auditing strategies of the Servers.

Maintain a Relationship with Doctors in Case of an Illness

  • Good to have a relationship with an infrastructure provider, like Zunesis, when issues arise and advanced assistance is needed.
  • Good to have an independent third-party, like Zunesis, doing the health checks. You aren’t allowed to prescribe your own medication, are you?

These should be included in a larger Infrastructure Monitoring Program with documented Policies and Procedures. The checks and the levels may vary depending on the organization.

Just like the human body, proper monitoring and care can assist in keeping your Servers healthy. Your Servers can only benefit from these periodic “doctor” visits. The Zunesis Infrastructure Health Check will assess your current Server Infrastructure and deliver a report providing a third-party review, validation, and recommendations for improvement. Contact Zunesis today to schedule a health check for your organization.


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