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Just an hour of server downtime can be disastrous. Imagine an IT company that makes you wait A FULL MONTH to have your server fully up and running again? It’s a nightmare, we understand. What we’re describing is a “Brand X” scenario — the story of one of our new clients who jumped from what we would call “Nightmare on IT Services Street” to our team. With SymTec handling their server monitoring and maintenance, they can now avoid the nightmare and have server issues fixed same-hour at most.

“Their pricing was low but the service was horrendous,” said our new clients, seeking reliability and diligence.

“We’re looking for real value and benefit in a computer services firm…can you help us?” said they.

“Yes,” said we. “Never again will your IT support fail you-you can trust us completely.”

And so, they gave us the green light, and we went to work. Servers are one of our specialties, so we put theirs through the paces and back on the right course.  Some companies put managed IT services as a secondary focus and some IT guys have full-time jobs but do small business network services on the side.

SymTec makes priorities out of all the above. We make sure companies in Idaho and Southern Utah have the right level of IT support matched to the nuances and requirements of their networks.

Is a slightly cheaper price tag actually saving you money?

Actually, paying less for your IT services will, in many cases, end up costing you much more in the long run than if you’d chosen an IT company worth their price tag. We believe in IT done right the first time, and done in an expert manner. Being able to do this requires those experienced in things like server monitoring, server backup and replication, and routine server maintenance.

There are ways you can stay on top of your server maintenance – in lieu of having us work on it. Or, you can have us watchdog your server full-time as part of our managed IT services.

Here are 10 Server Maintenance Tips we’ve compiled:

  1. Verify your backups are working.

Before making any changes to your production system, be sure that your backups are working. You may even want to run some test recoveries if you are going to delete critical data. While focused on backups, you may want to make sure you have selected the right backup location.

  1. Check disk usage.

Don’t use your production system as an archival system. Delete old logs, emails, and software versions no longer used. Keeping your system free of old software limits security issues. A smaller data footprint means faster recovery.  If your usage is exceeding 90% of disk capacity, either reduce usage or add more storage. If your partition reaches 100%, your server may stop responding, database tables can corrupt and data may be lost.

  1. Update Your OS.

Updates for Linux systems are released frequently. Staying on top of these updates can be challenging.  Consequently, we use automated patch management tools and have monitoring in place to alert us when a system is out of date.  If you are updating your server manually (or not at all), you may miss important security updates.  Hackers often scan for vulnerable systems within hours of an issue is disclosed. So, rapid response is key.  If you cannot automate your updates, then create a schedule to update your system.  We recommend weekly updates at a minimum for current versions and perhaps monthly for older OS versions. You should also monitor release notices from your distribution so you are aware of any major security threats and can respond quickly.

  1. Update your Control Panel.

If you are using a hosting or server control panel, be sure to update it as well. Sometimes this means updating not only the control panel itself but also software it controls. For example, with WHM/cPanel, you must manually update PHP versions to fix known issues. Simply updating the control panel does not also update the underlying Apache and PHP versions used by your OS.

  1. Check application updates.

Web applications account for more than 95% of all security breaches investigated by certain well-known IT engineers.  Be sure to update your web applications, especially popular programs like WordPress.

  1. Check remote management tools.

If your server is co-located or with a dedicated server provider, you will want to check that your remote management tools work. Remote console, remote reboot, and rescue mode are three essential tools for remote server management. You want to know that these will work when you need them.

  1. Check for hardware errors.

You may want to review the logs for any signs of hardware problems. early indicators of potential hardware failure could be overheating notices, disk read errors and network failures. These are rare but worth checking, especially if the system has not been working within normal ranges.

  1. Check server utilization.

Review your server’s disk, CPU, RAM and network utilization. If you are nearing limits, you may need to plan on adding resources to your server or migrating to a new one.  If you are not using a performance monitoring tool, you can install systat on most Linux servers.  This will provide you some baseline performance data.

  1. Review user accounts.

If you have had staff changes, client cancellations or other user changes, you will want to remove these users from your system. Storing old sites and users is both a security and legal risk. Depending on your service contracts, you may not have the right to retain a client’s data after they have terminated services. We also recommend changing passwords every 6 to 12 months, especially if you have given out passwords to others for maintenance.

  1. Check system security.

We suggest a periodic review of your server’s security using a remote auditing tool such as Nessus (or, SymTec can handle it). Regular security audits serve as a check on system configuration, OS updates, and other potential security risks. I suggest this at least 4 times a year and preferably monthly.

Don’t get caught with an IT company that will put your server in jeopardy! Choose SymTec instead – the choice of many companies throughout the inner-mountain west who need the rapid-response assurance we provide them.

Prevent Server Mishaps – Be Proactive

As part of our IT management services, we monitor over a dozen server health metrics. By keeping track of things like swap usage, loads, mail queue depth and more, our IT company’s team of sysadmin often spot issues before they become failures.

Should server mishaps or failures occur, our team can focus on fixing the issue rather than worrying about maintenance items?  This allows us to resolve most service outages in minutes.  This way, we don’t have to stop and apply six months of OS updates to see if a known bug is the issue.

Are you in need of server specialists in Utah or Idaho (Cedar City, St. George UT and Idaho Falls ID)? We can help – and you’ll never have to wait more than an hour for a fix!

Give us a call at (435) 817-9471 or email us at sales@symtec.com for more info on how to get the best, most reliable IT company and server maintenance pros in your corner!

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