Mornings can be rough. If you’re a network administrator, the beginning of a day can be particularly difficult.
You come into work not only wondering how your company’s systems fared in the eight hours or so since you slept and last checked statuses, but you also dread dealing with the many new issues that will arise during the day. And that’s on top of your longstanding list of pressing projects, which keeps getting longer.
After speaking with a number of our customers, we’ve written this quick list of recommended steps to a smoother morning and day. By following these five rituals every a.m., your job as a network admin will become a lot more predictable, less stressful and hopefully easier.
A disruption in network traffic will cripple business operations, so you want to stay on top of any potential problems. Your company probably relies on a network monitoring system to keep track of the large volume of network activities. Make checking the monitoring system’s alerts the first thing you do every morning, without fail. Although your other tasks are undoubtedly important, business simply can’t function if the network fails.
When traffic utilization exceeds your defined threshold settings, the network monitoring system will produce alerts. Alert profiles will let you see what’s up, down and somewhat in between within your thresholds and allow you to react accordingly before a link goes down or flow is about stop.
Daily reports can include: uptime checks for each host, log summaries (or raw logs: dmesg, maillog, secure, messages), hard disk (storage volume) free space and errors, backup status, and performance metrics such as CPU utilization. While monitoring the same systems day after day might seem mundane, it helps plan capacity. You have to know when to upgrade, replace equipment and order new services. Monitoring and reading reports are essential.
Check the WAN and the Internet link
A workforce without Internet access is a grumpy and somewhat limited workforce. Staying on top of your Wireless Wide Area Networks (WAN) and internet links keeps everybody working….or happy on Facebook. Check the bandwidth allocation of your networks so that all can continue to download and upload large files and effectively use the web. Bandwidth issues can also reduce data-transfer speed between the main office and branch offices. Don’t forget about those distant employees.
Stay on Top of Help Desk Requests
Technology doesn’t always cooperate. Employees who aren’t tech savvy or who actually want to comply with IT rules will submit help desk requests, hoping that IT can respond as soon as possible. Even though some requests may seem frustrating (the printer is jammed, again!) answering them as soon as possible will keep operations flowing and engender a respect for IT protocols. In other words, if you’re there for employees, they’ll be there for you and will think twice about downloading an app without permission. Review the latest help desk requests each morning and prioritize when you can answer them.
Commit/Save Network Equipment Changes
It’s a common practice not to save changes in network equipment right after doing them. So if you made changes last night, but forgot to save them, make sure you remember to save the changes in the morning! Make a note or create a reminder on your smartphone.
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