How to Improve Enterprise Server Management

With companies immersed in the digital transformation and producing data like never before, increasingly good server management, whether referring to dedicated servers or virtual servers, becomes a key requirement to stay competitive in the marketplace.

It is the optimization of this management that enables a broader view of server health and utilization, monitoring performance and identifying security holes. New technology solutions, such as virtualization capabilities and automation tools, contribute to a considerable reduction in the error margin, especially in the most recurring and necessary tasks like upgrades and backups.

Server management involves way more than just pinging equipment to assess its availability. Corporate IT managers should be aware of the physical health of servers, their energy consumption, their existence in the data center, and the number of virtual tenants they host at any given time, among other useful and necessary parameters.

The Role Played by AI

With the rise of virtual servers and their capabilities, so is growing the amount of data that is produced by server management tools, which then needs to be analyzed to lead to improvements or to stop any flaws or issues. However, the sheer amount of data makes it almost impossible for humans to possibly draw any useful conclusions.

According to Jasmine Noel, IT analyst from Ptak, Noel and Associates, new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be very important for this:

“From a monitoring perspective, existing tools can collect and display data management of virtual equipment – but the trick is to use intelligence to effectively analyze all this data.”

More than that, AI-based predictive analysis will make it easier for data centers to distribute workload across the servers that are available at each given time. By harnessing the power of AI, these tools can learn from past events, actions, and decisions, making them more effective at each iteration and, consequently, making the data center loads easier to predict and manage.

In possession of all this new knowledge, companies will be able to do a better job at tracking important indicators such as dedicated server hosting performance, disk usage or network problems. This, along with all the other benefits that arise from improved monitoring, reporting and decision making, eventually results in a scenario of maximum server optimization.

Another important course of action for AI in the enterprise server management industry has to do with failure prediction. In this industry, downtime has the potential to cause critical financial losses to any company. With this in mind, having the capability of detecting failures before they happen can be thought of like the Holy Grail of this industry.

This should not, of course, be taken literally – AI is great, but cannot (yet?) predict the future. What it can do, however, is take certain actions whenever a failure or problem occurs, so that the failure can be contained and does not spread to other users or customers.

Humans Still Play Their Part

Despite all the technological evolutions that are entering the server management industry, people will still play an essential role in the process. In order for them to be properly prepared to execute their roles, there are a few main IT skills that they should master:

  • TCP/IP: for someone who works with computers, knowing everything there is to know about one of the barebones of networks is crucial;
  • OSI model: divides the functions of computer networks into seven layers of abstraction, with each protocol inserting a signed functionality to a specific layer. Using this type of model, it is possible to communicate between different machines and define generic directives for the elaboration of computer networks regardless of the technology used, be they short, medium or long-distance networks. Knowing the reasoning and context behind the layers will surely help IT professionals in their day-to-day activities;
  • Programming: while IT professionals do not necessarily need to have all the skills of a programmer, having a minimum knowledge of coding is a good added value. Not only will overall communication with those programmers be easier, but it also helps IT professionals to be in the loop with less effort.

How to Improve Enterprise Server Management

An important question to pose when trying to improve is: how can dedicated hosting infrastructure and your organization impact business success? It can be said that the centralization of data and information on servers allows the creation of more agile and efficient processes, increasing the performance of professionals and their productivity.

The use of enterprise servers is well regarded by the market, giving a more professional image and suitable for business management. There are some points where improvement will be readily apparent, such as information organization, security, data sharing, and IT management.

Organizing the information will be useful for the company to easily locate files and avoid losing them. Security will be critical to protecting computers from malware, viruses, and other threats.

Data sharing will allow information to be exchanged between teams. Finally, IT management will have simpler processes, making installing a new program or adding new users more efficient.

It is also important that companies have a steady server management routine. This will ensure that periodic maintenance is carried, thus eliminating potential problems and constantly optimizing company processes.

Being prepared in advance is always a good idea so that unexpected expenses can be avoided, and a constant update of the company’s technologies can be ensured. Knowing this, it is key to take time to plan the next management steps. Be sure to include the financial costs for the operation, already deducting what the new implementation offers.

At this point, it is important to plan the acquisition of hardware and software according to the projected business expansion. This will require you to talk to other company departments, but it will ensure that your company is not paralyzed waiting for the necessary resources.

Last but not least, another important practice is to create a contingency plan, as in practical terms, it is important to be prepared for the worst and have a plan B. Put simply, a few questions should be posed, such as: What will be done if there is an intrusion to servers? If the company’s applications become unavailable, what actions will be needed to re-establish them quickly and with minimal loss?

Learn More About Atlantic

Phishing, Spoofing, and Whaling: Tips for Staying Safe

Phishing is a term that refers to attempts to obtain identifiable information of an individual by cybercriminals in an attempt to impersonate someone else via social engineering.

The word is a neologism created from the word fishing, because of the similarity between the two techniques – both use bait to catch a victim. This is a very serious cyber threat. According to estimations from 2017, phishing was costing American companies a whopping half a billion dollars each year.

It is usually carried out by forgery of electronic communication of mail or messages, directing the user to a state similar to the original and prompting them to fill in fields with data such as user names, access keys, or bank details. 

This process is also known by the term spoofing. These attempts pretend to originate from social portals, banking institutions, or system administrators and may contain links to websites infected by threats. In addition, it can be used to install malicious software on the victim’s system and can be used as a platform for other types of attacks, such as advanced persistent threats.

Another strategy often used is called whaling, which references whale phishing, as in the act of catching big fish. It involves searching for data and information regarding individuals with high ranks or positions, or even personalities of relevance. In this case, the attacks are usually disguised as court notices, customer complaints, or other business-related issues.

Overall, phishing is embedded in social engineering techniques used to deceive a user and exploit vulnerabilities in the current security of the Internet. Attempts to tackle the problem include the creation of legislation, education and public awareness, and the implementation of improvements in safety techniques to mitigate cybersecurity risks. However, there are other things you can do to protect yourself. 

Do not click the links

The rule of thumb is to simply not click on links in emails or messages – or, at least, verify those links before clicking them. And this is valid for all emails you receive from unknown sources, even when you receive an urgent reminder that “your password has been compromised” or that “the account is about to be disabled”.

In the vast majority of cases, these messages are false and, when you click on the link, you are prompted to log in or enter some account data, such as banking information. But keep in mind that bank sites are not always used, as there are phishing attacks for Gmail, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, or other high-profile services that have credit card details.

Read the message and find the signs

It is true that an occasional grammatical or spelling mistakes can appear in any email, but fraudulent messages are usually poorly written and with grammatical errors that denounce amateurism. It is easy to find strangely constructed sentences, such as improper use of language, a temporal error, and more.

In addition, always check the From email address, as it will almost always give the attack away. For example, quite often the email subject and content claim to be from Google, but the email address clearly is not.

Adopt security measures for all your accounts

When it comes to cybersecurity, the goal is to prevent all breaches, but sometimes accidents happen. In a situation like this, a very good workaround is to have additional security features whenever possible to further protect an account.

A very good example of this is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which can be a life-saver. For example, imagine you have MFA active and running on your Facebook account, and for one reason or another, you fall victim to a phishing attack and reveal your Facebook account’s credentials (email and password) to the cybercriminals.

Because you have MFA on, and despite having clear access to your account’s credentials, they will not be able to successfully log in to the account, leaving you with enough time and space to login and change your credentials.

Do not believe in awards…

Emails that say you have won a prize and ask to click on a link and enter your personal data are almost surely a variant of the phishing attack. Not that winning prizes is unlikely but, when it happens out of the blue, suspicions should be raised.

…nor try to help needy friends

There are many phishing strategies that appeal to everyone’s soft side. The ‘stranded traveler’ is a popular and pernicious example in which victims are sent a message from a (supposed) friend or loved one, stating that he or she is stuck abroad without money (or was stolen, or some other disaster struck) and desperately needs you to send money to an emergency fund.

As you might expect, this money would disappear forever the moment you pressed the submit button. Again, the way to authenticate the situation is to directly contact the person who allegedly sent the message.

Conclusion

Most phishing strategies have common themes, so it is useful to review them. Put simply, do not click on links, do not provide account details, or send money unless you know for sure the messages are real and are from whom they claim. Also, banks will hardly ever request personal or account-related details over email. If you keep an eye out for these red flags, you stand a much better chance at preventing a phishing attack.  If you host your data on the cloud, it is always the best idea to make sure all best practices are in place and your VPS is secure.

Learn More About Atlantic.net