Systems / Network Administrator Tasks Checklist

Stuck in the Server Room AgainHere’s a list I find useful to help remember many of the things a sys/network admin should do, some which are needing to be done even before getting up in the morning.  Some may be more pertinent than others…  This is a living list.  Applies to general systems and networks administration.

An effort to KNOW your network and the systems you manage better, before something crashes down on you.

First Things First:

  • Check servers and networks
    • Are they doing what they were built for?  What services are down? (Implement quality management tools, to help monitor and log services)Check event logs
  • Check Event Logs
    • Application log, security log, system log, web-db-app log, directory services log
  • Address urgent needs to incidents that happened overnight, due to outages, weather, users, etc…
  • Organize and Update the TO-DO Priority list (Check Calendar for events that impact IT)
  • Verify Backups
    • Successful File backup
    • Successful Active Directory backup
  • Visual inspection of equipment.  Look and watch for any issues with the network and server hardware.
  • Check all drives for adequate free space.

Through the Day:

  • Break/Fix List – Keep up with the End Users and requests
    • Keep users updated to the progress you’re making on issues that have not been fully resolved.
    • May be beneficial to have a ticket tracking (SLA) solution
  • Projects – Keep up on projects, give supervisors regular updates
  • New Hardware Installation
  • Old Hardware Surplus/Disposal
    • Destroy data from old hard drives.
  • Continue to Learn:
    • Read industry journals and websites.
  • Servers: Verify free disk space, memory usage, processor usage, (Virtual Memory) paging file usage

Through the Week / Month:

  • Maintain Systems
    • Perform updates – Firmware, OS, AV, Services, etc…
    • Run diagnostics
    • Test patches and hotfixes
    • Install patches and hotfixes
  • Schedule downtime for Reboots, updates, upgrades.
    • Could be the same time every week, taken if needed.
  • Maintain Users and Groups
    • Verify Security
    • Clean-ups
  • Compare system configuration files against a baseline for changes
    • Hosts, lmhosts, VPN settings, DHCP, etc…
  • Documentation of tasks and processes that are happening in the network
  • Diagram network
  • Security Audit
    • Antivirus, Network, Accounts, etc…  Is your network secure, how do you know?
    • Self-Assessment Review – Run tools/utilities to see what’s open and at risk
  • Training to others and to self
  • Offer an hour or so a week to help other’s off your network via forums to find answers. This is a great way to learn.
  • Check for Updates – Software, Hardware, Firmware, etc…
  • Verification of other misc. services
  • Keep users informed of outages, etc… ahead of time, so they can plan
  • Perform Monthly Backups
  • Run password cracking tool (Domain Controller and other sensitive systems)
  • Check to see if better services are available from your providers, price changes, etc…
  • Run scan to find files with passwords
  • Perform Server Time Clock Sync
  • Perform network sweep to find rogue access points
  • Perform Diagnostics on non-systems equipment
  • Check for unnecessary services that are running
  • Restore a file and check restore procedures to make sure data is recoverable
  • Perform special audit per site’s audit procedure
  • Review hardware and compare/update Inventory / Asset lists
  • Update service account passwords
  • Check for suspicious activity

Other Tasks to Be Aware Of:

  • Often, check to see if your processes are efficient, and if they can be improved, bettered
  • Check to see how your DNS (namebench from Google) is performing
  • Servers: Maintain a knowledge base of common and major issues seen in the event logs
  • Research new technologies and ideas: Virtual, Soft, Hard, etc…
  • Participate in local tech forums, get to know others in your field, give input
  • What policies need to be updated, keep a list, you’ll be asked for it
  • Know how your users use their equipment and software, this knowledge comes in handy when making changes
  • Ask yourself, (maybe send a survey if needed), are users happy?  If not, why?  How can it be addressed?
  • Study Listening and Communication for the role in which it is critical in your job
    • Study professionalism
    • Study troubleshooting techniques
  • Strive for 100% uptime
    • Have contingency plans and backups for data, internet, power, hardware, etc…
  • Invest in yourself and challenge yourself to work smarter everyday
  • What projects have been shelved in the past are they worth looking at again with a different point of view, and newer solutions?
  • Install a hammock in the server room, you never know when that restore job is going to really finish

Other Sources:

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