Regular checks

While administering any computer system there are a number of checks that are needed to ensure all systems are functioning correctly. Depending on the size of the system, you may be required to perform these checks a number of times or just once a week.
It’s usually a good idea to have some kind of checklist that you can tick off to show that you’ve completed these tests so that if a problem emerges, you can show with your logging that problems started after a specific date or time.

Here are a number of the checks I run on systems. I have broken them into monthly, weekly and daily.

Monthly checks

  • Clean server room and coms room. Remove dust build up from server casing.
  • Check air conditioning fans and vents.
  • Check room security.
  • Check Active Directory for old or unused computer or user accounts.
  • Ensure all updates are downloading to Windows Server Update Services.
  • Clean up Windows Server Update Services.
  • Apply Updates from the previous month to Servers. Note, if there are hundreds of servers this would be a weekly task.
  • Run a test restore from a random backup job.
  • If there are clustered systems for redundancy, check a random service to ensure it fails over correctly.

Weekly checks

  • Check temperature of server rooms.
  • Do a visual inspection of all servers.
  • Distribute updates to workstations.
  • Check server logs for errors.
  • Check priority workstations for errors.
  • Check that all anti-virus and other software is up to date.
  • Check Anti-Virus logs for outbreaks or irremovable infections.
  • Check logs from CCTV and door access systems to ensure there are no issues.
  • On Monday mornings, check all business applications that are hosted on a server to ensure they are working correctly and are accessible.
  • Check free disk space on file, mail and database servers.
  • If using a SAN or NAS, check disk utilization.
  • Check firewall logs for errors or repeated intrusion attempts.
  • Test remote access.
  • Test access to a blocked website.
  • Test access to an allowed website.

Daily checks

  • Have your servers Email you a report showing disk utilization, services using the most memory, major system errors and most recent warnings. Monitor this log closely.
  • Check that all servers are running.
  • Check inbound and outbound mail.
  • Check daily backups.
  • If daily backups haven’t run correctly, check transaction logs to ensure there is adequate disk space.

This is far from an exhaustive list. However, it shows that when you opt to subscribe to a support package you get a lot more than technical support. You get regular checks and the assurance that your computer system is monitored to drastically reduce the likelihood of down time or an outage that could impact your business.