Server Management 101: Improving Uptime, Performance, and Security

Keeping your servers up and running requires careful planning. In order to provide users with the best experience, avoid downtime, minimize security threats and avoid maintenance issues, you’ll need to implement the right server management best practices.

Use the uptime, performance, and security improvements outlined below to compare against your current server management plan and implement the tips that will strengthen it.

Uptime & Performance Improvements

  • Deploy your technology across multiple locations to prevent downtime due to natural disasters, such as flood, fire, and earthquake.
  • Manage traffic in real-time by deploying global load balancing using real-time performance data so that traffic will flow to the best performing data center.
  • Create a data lifecycle management process. Data that hasn’t been recently accessed can be archived to improve performance and uptime.
  • Run routine maintenance checks in order to catch performance issues before they become disasters. Also engage in preventative maintenance by ensuring adequate cooling and frequently updating system software. Schedule maintenance work overnight, or during another time that won’t create uptime issues for your end users.
  • Invest in a server monitoring tool to keep you aware of outages and other incidents on both internal and remote servers, so that you can resolve them more quickly. Many of these tools also have built-in reporting so that you can monitor which issues became trends and therefore need urgent attention.
  • Invest in quality servers and hardware. If you don’t, you may regret to learn that you get what you pay for. Look for fault-tolerant devices, those that will continue to satisfactorily function in the presence of errors, and read reviews before you make a purchase so that you can gain insights from real users.
  • Being organized can go a long way in improving uptime and performance. Keep track of when hardware needs to be replaced, when to do a software upgrade and what the requirements are so you’ll always be prepared.
  • Replace equipment as needed. While it may be tempting to save a dollar by keeping equipment that’s “still working, for now,” you don’t want to be left surprised and unprepared when the device fails.
  • Evaluate changes before they’re implemented. Whether you need to add another server or introduce a new software, evaluate the impact of doing so in order to identify potential repercussions.
  • To achieve zero-downtime, use a virtual hosting platform. Virtualization protects against downtime because, with a virtual copy of your data in the cloud, you’ll always be able to access it even if your server goes down.
  • Redundancy

Security Improvements

  • Install an anti-malware software to keep viruses, ransomware, trojans, worms, adware, spyware and more out. Install patches as soon as they become available so that your defenses stay strong.
  • Set up a firewall to keep unauthorized traffic out. Your firewall should only allow traffic from specific applications and web servers that need to access the data, and should also prevent your database from initiating outbound connections — with the exception of those that are necessary.
  • Engage in end-to-end encryption. Encrypting data once it’s transferred forgets to protect it while it’s in transit. With end-to-end encryption, your data is encrypted, and therefore unreadable to anyone without an encryption key, from the moment the transfer begins. End-to-end encryption should apply to all of your organizational data, even data at rest.
  • Conduct regular internal audits so that you can identify security issues before they become threats. It’s best to outsource audits in order to get the most objective results, however you can also conduct your own if you follow the right steps.
  • Create server-access rules and enforce them in order to limit the number of individuals who can create a security threat.
  • Establish physical security safeguards with cameras, alarms, biometric fingerprint scanners, uninterruptable power supplies, video surveillance, and more. Make sure your third-party providers implement the same, or better, physical security measures.
  • Plan for the inevitable. Despite all of your best security improvements, there is always the potential for failure. Develop a data loss prevention plan that includes cloud backup so that any data that is lost, deleted, corrupted by a virus, or permanently changed can be retrieved. In addition, create a business continuity plan so that your organization can get back up and running as soon as possible after a data loss incident or other IT issue.