When managing the information systems infrastructure for any organization, there are a few key to think about as you perform monitoring and maintenance. The first and most important thing to consider is how your actions will affect end users. An example situation is the case for upgrading the firmware/OS on a firewall. This is an important maintenance task that should be performed on a regular basis to keep a network secure but it can adversely affect users if they are using VPN client software that is not compatible with the new firmware. The correct resolution is to first ensure that all client applications will be compatible with the changed infrastructure and, if not, perform upgrades of those client applications before proceeding with the firewall updates.

Another task to be performed when maintaining customer networks, is monitoring all hardware and application licenses so that they are current with the correct number of users and ensuring that they are not in danger of expiring. This is where correct and current documentation of all client infrastructure is critical. Keeping this information up to date and handy also helps customers when it comes time for annual budget meetings to prevent unexpected (and urgent) expenses from arising.

In a similar vein, keeping SSL certificates current is also a critical function for a managed service provider. VPNs can stop allowing connections and email can stop flowing if an SSL certificate expires. Additionally, customer facing websites will display an ugly “Not Secure” message if the website’s SSL certificate is not current. Keeping expiration dates for these certificates documented and implementing systems that generate alerts BEFORE certificates expire will keep everything up and running and keep customers happy.

Article by Ken M., Senior Engineer

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