This ‘six pack’ of network health tips is designed to reduce stress and create that relaxed beachside look. It should also help IT managers get in shape and feel holiday ready before they grab their deck chairs and roll out their towels. By following Ipswitch’s advice, IT managers will be able to make the most of their time off and recharge their batteries without worrying about checking emails or calling into the office:
Tip 1: Get your back ups in order
If you’re a fan of online file sharing services, make sure your back up strategy has failsafe measures in place. Whether you go for a second cloud based back up solution or a local storage option, the same back up mantra always applies: the more copies of data you have, the safer it is. Make sure the back up solutions you opt for offer the ability to ‘go back in time’ and display the state of files at various past ‘recovery’ points.
Tip 2: Map your infrastructure
Document your basic internal infrastructure and create an easy to understand reference guide on how to address typical network issues. That means that when you’re not there, others will know what each server does and how to recover from common failures. Make sure you include a directory of vendors – complete with phone and email contact details and any associated maintenance contract information.
Tip 3: Check SSL certifications
Make sure website SSL certifications are up to date and aren’t likely to expire when you’re on holiday. You may be using a good monitoring package that warns you well ahead of time – if not, take time to manually check certificates before departing for your vacation.
Tip 4: Create a ‘to do’ list for manual processes
Processes like cleaning up log files before a disk fills require human intervention. Ideally you should be scripting as many of these as possible, ensuring there are checks in place to prevent a runaway condition getting out of hand. Make sure you nominate someone to take care of any processes that aren’t scripted while you’re out of the office.
Tip 5: Briefing the team
While you’re away, non-essential tasks may come up. To make sure your relaxation time isn’t interrupted by calls asking you to oversee these, let everyone know that you should only be contacted in the event of a genuine emergency – and what constitutes an emergency. When it comes to turning on your out-of-office email message, it’s up to you whether you include your direct contact information. However, if you’ve got a trusted colleague who can handle queries, then you should refer to that person and let them make the decision about who to escalate issues to.
Tip 6: Lighten the alert load
You’ve probably set your network monitoring system to alert you to a whole host of things on a daily basis – bandwidth utilisation, ping latency and more. But while you’re on holiday you probably only want to be notified of bigger issues, like a critical application failure. It may sound like a paradox but staying connected to the very most critical alerts while you’re away means you can relax knowing that everything is running as it should be and that there aren’t any nasty surprises waiting for you on your return.
‘IT managers can find it harder than most to take a break from their responsibilities while they’re on holiday. It’s difficult to switch off when you’re used to being on call and making sure the network is delivering 24/7 availability and mission-critical performance,’ commented Michael Hack, SVP of EMEA Operations at Ipswitch. ‘But minimising interruption to personal downtime is important. After all, even IT managers need to make the most of their hard earned holidays. That means taking steps to ensure that time off isn’t spent endlessly checking work emails or managing emergency calls from colleagues.’
He concluded, ‘The good news is that by tackling some basic housekeeping tasks in the run up to their holidays, IT managers can ensure their networks are “holiday fit” and that unwelcome work intrusions don’t take the shine off their time off in the sun.’