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06-13-2018

Top Tips to Keep Your Server Healthy

Security

Are You Aware Of The State Of Your Server?

Modern business is extremely dependent on network infrastructure and the servers it connects. These amazing machines manage your data processing, storage and other critical aspects of your business apps and websites. They run 24/7 and, more often than not, without any issue. Unsurprisingly servers do require some maintenance to prevent them from failing suddenly. But with a network server in place, businesses often forget about supervision and server maintenance completely. Keeping a watch on the servers running status will ensure its health with minimum issues during its long life span. The faster you can detect any outage or slow components, the better it is for you. Simple maintenance and monitoring can stop a server failure from snowballing into a disaster and knocking your entire IT infrastructure offline. What can you do to track a server’s health and activity?  Keep reading for some important tips on how to keep your server healthy.

The process of keeping your server healthy, updated and running by making sure that your server’s software is up-to-date & free of security issues and following best practices to ensure that the company’s computer network is operating smoothly is known as server maintenance. Here are some ways to prevent potential issues with your server.

Verify That Your Backups Are Taking Place

In case of the worst case scenario, of an unexpected server crash, or other disasters, backups work like a life-jacket to restore service, with minimal downtime. It is absolutely essential to maintain local and remote backups, for added security and business continuity even through calamities. Check that redundancy or scheduled backups are working and always run some test recoveries of system logs before deleting critical data to make sure it is being backed up successfully, and in the correct location.

Check Disk Usage

To ensure good server health, you must monitor your disk space as it is one of the most important server resources. Server process monitoring can help detect and control resource-extensive processes consuming the most disk space and outdated software that may cause security issues. It is advisable not to treat your production system as an archive. Your server is not designed to store historic emails, sensitive account information, etc, so delete all old logs, emails, and software versions no longer used. Leaving obsolete accounts in the server take up disk space and bandwidth. Moreover they are preferred access points for hackers. So, for optimal server health, audit the server files and accounts periodically, and make sure to timely terminate obsolete accounts and unwanted files from the server.

 

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Perform Updates

Another tip to keep your server healthy is to perform software upgrade, security and performance audits regularly to prevent server failures and protect against zero-day vulnerabilities. Failure to update a system can open it up to security breaches and the same is true for web-based software and software applications. Be sure to monitor websites and user forums, and keep all services and software up to date with the latest stable version available. Also update your web applications, like WordPress or use automated patch management tools. Read documentation to make sure that all updates are compatible with your system.

If you are using a server control panel, you have to update that too and the software that controls it.  Simply updating the control panel will not revise the underlying Apache and PHP versions of your OS.

Review Server Logs

You should review the logs for any disk read errors or failure notices, overheating notices or other signs of hardware problems as these are early indicators of potential hardware failure that put your server’s health at risk. If your system has not been working within normal ranges, then be sure to check the logs as they provide valuable feedback about server activity and performance. A 24/7 monitor of server dialogue helps reveal even the subtlest of server health issues quickly therefore preventing failing processes from developing into bigger issues. Therefore monitoring must be integrated into an automated process so that warnings and errors are organized and sent as regular notifications.

Check Server Utilization

Monitor and review how your server’s disk, CPU cores, RAM and network are being utilized using a performance monitoring tool. For instance, CPU utilization gives you the amount of CPU time used by web applications when processing a request, which is indicative of the processor’s capacity that is currently in use. You can also install systat on most Linux servers to get baseline performance data. Consider the system as a whole instead of just evaluating a single component in order to locate the true performance bottleneck more quickly. If you are nearing limits, you may need to take action as it indicates some problem with your application or capacity deficiency of the host machine. You can plan on adding resources to your server or migrate to a new one.

Secure Passwords and Update Anti-Virus

Our final tip on how to keep your server healthy is to regularly change your password every couple of months. Use strong passwords which are a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Passwords must be at least 8 characters long and it better not be a word found in the dictionary. You certainly don’t want to make it easy for hackers to steal valuable data from you. Securing the server alone won’t keep it safe, as it does not operate in a vacuum. You also need to update antivirus software on connected devices and any hardware linked to the server. An Anti-Virus program must scan all content as it enters your server environment. Anti-virus programs in VPS systems should be able to function without Kernel access. Enable automatic database updates along with daily antivirus scans to reduce attack threats and to keep your server healthy.

Is Your Server In The Pink Of Health?

Having a constant knowledge about your system is crucial for keeping your server healthy and also problem-solving, if it does crash or goes down completely. Use of automation and modern network monitoring solutions can review everything from system vitals to hardware configuration quietly and present a comprehensive report for your mediation. Automated alerts based on predefined thresholds also improve risk visibility, which makes it easier to gauge server health at any moment, leading to a more stable infrastructure. And having an advanced live web security system, like SecureLive, installed can help prevent any malicious activity on the site and even report hackers to relevant authorities. It is better for your business to be safe than sorry in the long-run.

 

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