Server Management Solutions :: Stay away from Cracks and Hacks
Server Management is not about just having someone to check if your server is online. Server Managers are the ones you entrust to see that your server software is up to date, the security patches that you have in place are working, the firewall of the server is secure enough and to see that your machine is not being hacked or spammed.
What is Server Management?
It is the management of servers and critical applications (HTTP, DNS, SMTP & POP, FTP and Database) that runs on it, to ensure maximum up-time.
What do we get out of Server Management?
Proper and regular server management service will guarantee that your servers are secure and stable throughout their lifespan on the Internet. A server management company will work on your server’s OS and critical applications like the Web server, the FTP server, the Email Server, the DNS server and the Database server to ensure that these are in accord with the latest patches and that the servers stay hack free and offers maximum up-time. With server management service in place, you can expect utmost up-time for your servers and the applications running on it. So, the key word here is Maximum Up-time.
Ingredients of Server Management
Server management includes services like :
- Proactive Maintenance which includes Security audits and its implementation.
- Reactive Maintenance which includes fixing of issues that chance upon while the server is live on the Internet.
You can opt for either proactive or reactive or both together. I would say, if you have a greater tolerance for downtime, then reactive option may be suitable. But, if you do not have any tolerance for the down time, then the best way is to pick both, i.e. an approach where both proactive and reactive services are included.
Proactive Maintenance is a program which aims to ensure that the server bugs/vulnerabilities are identified and rectified before a hacker/cracker finds it. Here, the main focus will be on thorough or long-term fixes to recurring or anticipated problems. In short, proactive approach is about predicting something that could happen and finding a suitable remedy. Proactive maintenance is done through regular server audits focusing on the server health and its performance.
Some of the common services included in this domain (Proactive Maintenance) are:
- 24/7 Server Monitoring and Management
- Software Patching and Upgrades
- Proactive Server Administration and Optimization
- Backup Configuration and Audit
Reactive Maintenance is the kind of maintenance work that we all end up doing. We are fire fighting to solve our day to day issues. Similarly, reactive maintenance means tackling the day to day issues/bugs that bob up in the server from the OS or any critical application. In reactive maintenance, the focus will be to respond well and promptly to the problem on hand.
Some of the common services included in this domain (Reactive maintenance) are:
- Incident Management (Troubleshooting)
- Disaster Recovery / hack recovery
Choosing Your Server Management Company
Managing servers is a difficult and time consuming task, even for the most experienced engineers. In addition, not everyone is capable of fixing and monitoring servers at all hours of the day. Your server management provider must be able to take that responsibility off your shoulders.
Deciding which server management provider is the best for you is not an easy task. The important things that you need to look for in a server management company are:
- Industry Experience of the company.
- Client Testimonials (They should be able to produce at least 3 testimonials)
- Customer Reference with phone number and email id.
- Company Reviews in public forums.
- International Certifications like ISO 9001:2000 and BS / ISO 27001 for the company to ensure customer focus and data security
- Service Level Agreements and NDA in place to bind the contract legally.
- Company Phone number which can be contacted in case of emergency.
- Physical Address to check if the company actually exists or not.
- Partnerships with key companies in the same industry.
- Provision to try the service through paid/free trial.
If you still find it tough to choose the correct vendor/server management company, then follow the simple selection method outlined below:
Firstly, rank the 10 points listed above on a priority basis.
On the basis of importance, assign marks out of 10, to each of these points for each company under consideration. The total marks of a company should not exceed 100. Marks should be assigned based on a definite criterion. For example, consider the point “Industry Experience of the company”. Assume that the marks for this point are awarded based on the below criteria.
0 to 2 years of experience 1 mark 2.1 to 5 years of experience 2 marks 5.1 to 8 years of experience 5 marks 8.1 to 10 years of experience 8 marks 10 + years of experience 10 marks
So, if the Server Management company in question has 9 years of experience, then 8 marks goes for this point.
Research over the web to find the answers to the above points or ask the company in question directly.
Based on the answers collected, assign marks for each point and add them up.
Select the company that has the highest total score. That will help in identifying the best. In the selection process, if a situation is encountered where more than one company has the same total marks, then head for the one that has scored the highest, for the higher priority point.
The above process will help you to decide on the best server management company that you can proceed with.
If implemented properly with the right mix of tools, processes & industry best practices, then proactive monitoring & management approach for servers will reduce the effort of managing and maintaining the servers by more than 50%, for sure. Making the proverb true, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, regular server maintenance through a good server management company will keep hackers and crackers away, which in-turn will offer the customers better server performance and up-time.
About the Author:
Blessen Cherian, Executive Team Member of Bobcares brings in over 7 years of experience in varied areas of Server Administration, Networking, Quality Management and Information Security. Apart from his crucial role in employee development training programs, implementing several Engineering projects, Blessen is passionate about developing corporate and marketing strategies which has helped Bobcares in its growth. During his leisure, Blessen loves to be playing with his baby and spending time with family.