Server Management today is comparatively easier than before. Many thanks to industry-leading PaaS platforms (Platform as a Service) that have made setting up a server convenient. Many essential server management functions are now available through single click auto-install features which saves a lot of time enabling you to be more productive.
- What is Server Management?
- Aspects of Server Management
- Server Management Processes
- Why Server Management is crucial for businesses?
- Managed Hosting: An Ideal Alternative to Server Management
- Managed Hosting: Changing Lives One Businessman at a time
- In a nutshell
What is Server Management?
Server management is a vague term, and server management services may vary from one provider to the other. Nonetheless, at its core, server management refers to gaining control or access to a physical, virtual or application server in order to execute various administrative or maintenance operations. It also includes server monitoring and visibility, to understand how a server is operating and how you can optimize it to improve performance.
Maintaining a server is not as easy as it looks. Keeping an eye on server performance and utilization levels can consume more time than required. Administering servers may get worse when you involve multiple servers in operations. You certainly won’t have the time to log into server administration consoles manually, not one machine after another. That’s why you onboard server management services.
Aspects of Server Management
Amongst the various aspects of web server management, there are a few which require more attention than usual. They include:
Risk and Security Threat Observation
Cybersecurity is a huge threat in today’s digital landscape. Server management can be complex, and as businesses rely on the latest technology for their operations, hackers have become more vigilant in their attempts to hold any business hostage.
Frequent monitoring of access logs, timely updates of antivirus software, security audits and ethical hacking processes will go a long way in keeping out the bad guys.
Nothing is infallible! From time to time, your servers will crash. Therefore, it is imperative that every server should instill preventive measures.
Updating with the latest firmware
Quite frankly, everybody skips updates, it’s the easy way out. Reason being, it can take up a considerable amount of time. However, this is precisely the mistake that allows hackers to access your private and sensitive information, putting you and your business at risk.
Are you aware of Equifax data breach? Social security numbers, birth dates, and home addresses of more than 140 million Americans were exposed. The hackers accessed the agency’s data through a known vulnerability in a web application.
Would you believe that a solution for this security loophole was available two months prior to the breach? Nonetheless, the agency never updated their software. It was a tough lesson for them. It is also something everybody can learn from.
Server updates are important as they include critical patches to security loopholes. It also includes new or enhanced features or even better compatibility with different devices or applications. Server updates also play a vital role in the stability as well as the removal of outdated features.
24×7 Server Monitoring
In order to identify risks and threats before they become a headache, you must monitor your server(s), review access logs, and manage patch releases regularly. You should identify unusual traffic spikes or unauthorized login attempts and take necessary preventive measures when the need arises.
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If you don’t know how to manage a web server, you can always rent server management services. In case of an outage, your server monitoring team can take corrective measures to ensure the harm doesn’t reach your customers.
Troubleshooting & Optimization
There are a number of server management tools that can help you detect and troubleshoot server-related issues. They can help in identifying server performance issues like CPU busy time or low available memory beforehand and notify with actionable alerts to fix them accordingly.
There is also a possibility of automating the troubleshooting process. With an advanced alerting system, you can also create a ticket into the tool’s integrated helpdesk to ensure you find the problems and fix them before it affects your users.
Troubleshooting and optimizing the servers are two of the most important aspects of server management tools, something that you should not neglect at any cost.
Server Management Processes
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a startup, an agency or a well-established business, there are a number of factors that help server management processes flow seamlessly. If you want to know how to manage a server, the following processes will help you understand it. Let’s delve deeper!
It refers to the tracking and analysis of metrics to identify the performance of your servers. Server monitoring allows your business to operate at its maximum potential at any given time, alongside offering opportunities to identify and prevent server-related issues before they can affect your server performance in real time. Needless to mention, it helps you examine your IT infrastructure so that you can make well-informed decisions when it comes to future expansions.
If your business does not practice server maintenance in the right manner, it will encounter unexpected server performance issues. You must update your server, its software, its security features. It helps in taking preventative measures on time. Server maintenance demands regular system audits to determine security efficacy. It lets you roll updates when necessary while setting migration, backup, and restoration processes to ensure your server performance is never at risk.
Custom Server Setup
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to server management. You may use different servers for different purposes. For instance, a server that host a WordPress blog demands different configuration when compared to a server with a different configuration for hosting ecommerce websites.
Your server’s configuration must create an impact, and fulfill your business requirements. After all, what are server managers for? Your IT team must review your server and hosting requirements to determine the server configuration and specifications that best suit your business.
While setting up a server initially, the best practice is to follow industry standard practices. You can implement them and configure your server to ensure optimal performance and protection from cybersecurity attacks.
Parameters like speed, load, service up-time or server software greatly affect server stability. Even the slightest configuration changes, errors or conflicts can derail your entire server and push its performance to waste. Server management experts work diligently to ensure timely updates in order to prevent conflicts. Also, few critical server performance aspects such as page load time or database lag must be occasionally audited and optimized to ensure performance.
In order to remain functional, every online business relies on decent uptime. A server that’s unable to provide uptime assurance is unreliable and will cost you your profits. Whenever a website takes too long to load, the visitor naturally shifts to another web page. Appropriate server management practices guarantee impressive uptime for your servers. As mentioned above, it is possible through regular server monitoring.
Why Server Management is crucial for businesses?
As a business owner, when you’re on the verge of scaling your business, even you will surprise yourself with the decisions you make. But isn’t it be better if you are well prepared in advance?
Effective server management is crucial for growing businesses. You can neither afford orders being delayed due to server-related issues nor you can afford your team to sit idle when there’s a queue of orders to process.
Server management for business is no joke. What if your customers continue to knock on a locked door? They’ll eventually leave and buy from your competitors. What if your hard work goes down the drain when your customer database wipes out overnight and you have no backups at your disposal?
There will be a number of server-related problems during your entrepreneurial journey. If you lack server management skills, you can always onboard a team that offers server management services. Your server manager will look after everything so that your business operations flow flawlessly. To further assist you in this regard, you can opt for any one of the following options:
An in-house DevOps team
One of the biggest benefits of having an in-house DevOps team is that any expertise your business requires is available on site. You have complete control over your teams as well as ownership of all processes.
If your business runs on complicated infrastructure, it’s ideal that you hire an in-house DevOps team. The technology and tools they’ll use together help applications operate and evolve swiftly and reliably. They can independently accomplish tasks—such as deploying a code or provisioning infrastructure—that you’d normally prefer to outsource.
Outsourcing IT resources has been around since the ’80s. The trend continues to dominate the industry until now. In order to thrive and stay ahead in the game, outsourcing server management is indispensable. Although outsourcing incurs a variable cost, and you can never fully control it, nonetheless, it is quite beneficial for startups that are on a tight budget. You can always onboard a third-party to look after your servers against a small sum and ensure your business continues to flourish despite limited resources.
In-house vs. Outsource
It is a critical decision whether to opt for an in-house DevOps team or to outsource your IT requirements to a third-party. To be honest, there’s no clear answer to it. For larger organizations, it makes sense to have an in-house team as it is not only convenient but effective too. As for smaller organizations or startups, outsourcing can be an ideal choice until they start rolling big numbers.
Regardless, it’s not like well-established businesses cannot outsource or startups cannot hire an in-house team, it truly depends on your business needs.
Managed Hosting: An Ideal Alternative to Server Management
You must’ve have heard or read about managed hosting, but what is managed hosting exactly? In simple terms, it means that the hosting provider(s) will take care of all your server-related technicalities. They won’t only provide you server hardware on rent, but will also manage it for you so that you can continue doing what you do best. Consider it as getting free oil changes and regular maintenance for your brand new car.
Moving forward, there are a number of benefits you can enjoy if you opt for managed cloud hosting. For instance:
Expertise and Security
There is no need for a system administrator. A PaaS provider can conveniently handle everything related to server management, such as launching a server or an app with a few clicks to save you your precious time. (To learn more about PaaS, check out our detailed analysis of the differences between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS). Hiring managed hosting experts will allow you to focus on your business goals instead of becoming a server administrator. Data protection is a top priority, which is why your managed hosting provider will run:
- Virus Scanning
- Software Firewall Configuration
- Spam Filtering
- Updates of OS
- Running Audits for Security & more
Thus allowing you to enjoy complete peace of mind, while your managed hosting provider ensures they have an upper hand concerning the security of your servers. As a matter of fact, they can identify and protect you from cyber attacks even before the event occurs.
No more technical complications
Creating stack on VPS can be technically complicated and will require knowledge of a bunch of Linux commands for different actions. Managed hosting eliminates this hurdle. Even if you lack technical expertise, you can create web stacks without any hassle by selecting 1-click options to deploy servers.
With managed hosting, you won’t have to hire database admins, system admins, or other IT staff for server management. System administrators can charge you thousands of dollars. They create lengthy scripts to deploy web stacks. PaaS providers, on the other hand, can automate all the processes and help you control them from Graphical User Interface (GUI), saving your precious time and money which you can invest in building and strengthening the customer relationship.
Dedicated Support Every Time
A reliable managed hosting provider offers dedicated support to you 24×7. They are available for your queries and concerns via different modes such as live chat, support tickets or call centers. Their support staff is well-trained to resolve server glitches. They assist in preventing minor issues before they become major issues, one of the best benefits of managed hosting.
Managed hosting helps you secure your data with automatic and timely backups. With unmanaged hosting, you won’t be able to backup data efficiently, and at some point, you will lose your data. To refrain from it, you need to manage and take necessary measures to prevent data loss, something which a managed hosting provider can do with ease.
Managed Hosting: Changing Lives One Businessman at a time
In order to relate how managed hosting changes lives, here’s what Anthony Scolaro – CEO of Project Assistant has to say about Cloudways – a leading managed hosting provider with cloud backed up by leading providers like AWS, GCP, DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr.
“There was an article about how Cloudways had experience in Magento speed optimization. My background in SEO and IT naturally made me want to reach out to them and start a dialogue. We decided to give it a go because everything discussed made sense to us. We joined Cloudways so our web developers can contact support by themselves and I could sleep better at night. Cloudways freed up my time and now I can focus on growing my company instead of solving server related issues.”
You’ll also need to take out time to manage and maintain your website. If you don’t have the luxury of time to learn how to do that, you can also opt of agencies that resell website maintenance. It has a number of benefits and you should consider this option if you want to dedicate most of your time towards managing business operations.
In a nutshell
To sum up, there can be a number of complications related to server management. You cannot ignore them. Being easy about it should certainly not be the way to go, especially when your business is moving forward. It is precisely why I have discussed the various aspects of web server management and why is it crucial for businesses.
If you have a strong command over technical expertise, you can opt for an IaaS provider for hardware, however, if you lack in technical skill set, then a reliable managed hosting provider is your way out of server management complications.
Salman is a software engineering graduate and digital marketer by profession. He works as a Digital Marketer Strategist at Cloudways. He loves to create value for the Startup community & help entrepreneur reach their goal. He is a big fan of cricket and does play AAA games in his free time.