Author - Roddy Bergeron

The Server OS – Does it matter?

Server OS
Do operating systems even matter anymore? Despite the fact that most servers can be configured to provide adequate performance with most mainstream operating systems (OSes), the answer is… yes. When you want to lift performance beyond ‘adequate’ and deliver superior performance that will provide better service and improved customer satisfaction, it’s important to consider impact that various hardware capabilities and configurations can have on different operating systems.

How many operating systems will you be running?

The first, and most obvious, question to be answered is just how many operating systems will be running on your hardware.

If you’re just hosting a single instance of an operating system (an increasingly rare circumstance), then the hardware specifications can be tailored to the requirements of the OS and the application(s) it’s running. In practical terms, it means that the maximum memory can be limited to the amount required by the software, and the storage architecture can be tailored to meet its (or their) requirements. That’s not necessarily the case when a server will be hosting a hypervisor and multiple instances of an operating system.

Linux or Windows?

It’s possible this won’t be a question you have to answer because your application choice will pull the operating system behind it. In that case, your choices come down to the hardware specifications that will meet the OS’s needs. Most servers run a version of Linux or Windows and as a rule of thumb, Windows servers will need more resources than Linux servers.

Linux’s configurability gives it an advantage over Windows for dedicated application hosting, as functions and applications that are not required can be removed by an administrator. This reduces the storage and processing load on the server. You can even get a jump on a process by choosing the Linux distribution that most closely matches application requirements before any modifications are made.

Yet despite Windows servers’ heavier resource requirements, there are plenty of reasons why it might be your server OS of choice, including app selection, developer support, technical support and more. Just be aware that you’ll need to carefully configure your hardware to ensure it meets – or exceeds – the memory, storage and compute requirements dictated by your software configuration and intended use.

The relative impacts of Windows and Linux on servers spill over to the virtual machine realm too. It’s a similar story: before any applications enter the picture, Windows will require more compute and storage resources than Linux. Linux’s smaller storage footprint gives administrators greater scope for boosting performance by specifying solid-state rather than disc storage, and its RAM requirements lower too. But again, these more modest hardware requirements aren’t the full story and you’ll need to evaluate and build with your specific requirements in mind.

 

Get your IT ready for the Holidays


Everybody needs a break. After working hard in your business it’s great to take a holiday, but all that good cheer and relaxation will go out the window in a moment if your business suffers an IT disaster while you’re away.

Here’s a short checklist that we suggest you follow to help you avoid a holiday-wrecking business catastrophe:

  1. Check your firewall is up-to-date (software and firmware)
  2. Check your server is up-to-date (latest patches)
  3. Update all security software on servers and PCs
  4. Run a full back up and make sure a copy is offsite
  5. Test that your backups work (i.e. run a trial restore to make sure everything comes back)
  6. Ensure all on-going services are all paid for and will not expire over the holidays

 

This last suggestion can avoid a problem that catches out too many people. If your DNS records expire over the holiday period (or your software subscriptions, internet connections, service contracts etc.) it can be a hard task to find the right details and the right contacts to get it sorted out from an empty office.

You certainly don’t want to spend your holidays worrying about your IT systems back in the office, or your skeleton crew not being able to provide services to your clients, while you should be relaxing and recuperating.

So, get it set up, forward your phones to the after-hours service and have a great break whenever and wherever you can get away. Stay safe on the roads and in the water and we will look forward to doing business with you next year.

 

Data security checklist for SMBs

security checklist

As governments around the world introduce data privacy legislation, small to medium businesses (SMBs) are expected to keep up. Data protection is no longer simply a matter of good practice. It is a legal obligation to protect data, the most valuable new currency in the digital economy by having a security checklist.

For SMB owners, a failure to meet the expectation of consumers to safeguard their data can be legally and financially devastating – not to mention damaging to their corporate reputation. Data is now recognized as a significant asset to businesses, and a breach could seriously affect its competitiveness.

The legislation is now capturing a greater range of IT practices in business – and since businesses increasingly operate across borders, it is important to develop an understanding of the key laws. The EU’s GDPR, Australia’s NDB scheme and US laws all lay out various compliance requirements and prioritize the protection of consumer data and the responsibility to notify authorities of breaches. Here are some tips to help ensure your data remains private and protected.

  1. Compliance is key

SMB owners are no strangers to compliance. To adhere to evolving data legislation, owners need to recognize and understand their data reporting requirements. Starting from the beginning to identify what it is needed to be compliant now will more effectively prepare businesses for the evolving digital future. It may be time-consuming, but businesses need to manage their IT systems effectively to identify any areas that could be compromised.

  1. Data is an asset, not an overhead

Businesses are encouraged to change their perception of data. Understanding data as an asset that directly affects strategic decisions is critical to any 21st century business’s growth. Developing a data strategy will enable businesses to evolve, rather than be stunted by poor data management – especially as they grow.

  1. Develop a data strategy

Developing a data strategy helps businesses clarify when, where and how data is being processed, managed, stored and erased. After understanding the requirements for your business, develop a data strategy that manages personal data and prioritizes its security. Importantly, ensure your staff are aware of their responsibilities concerning data protection.

A sound data strategy will place SMBs in the best position to respond to data breaches and ensure they meet legal obligations. The more efficiently a breach is dealt with, the less harm to the consumer, the less costs incurred and, consequently, the less damage to the reputation of the business.

  1. Prioritize security

By now, the message is clear that businesses should prioritize security in their data strategy. Data theft is a crime, but legislation expects a business to have implemented data protection measures. Run an IT audit. Be aware of what hardware and software is in use, ensure security software – like encryption, antivirus apps and virtual private network solutions – are current and set notifications for renewals.

  1. Get the necessary support

Organizing the current data load while watching the horizon for future privacy requirements can seem daunting. Don’t have the expertise? A third-party provider can assess and manage personally identifiable information (PII) you hold and advise on future data management, control and processing. Consider legal advice or an IT company committed to data security.

Prioritizing data privacy is integral to maintaining consumer trust. A proactive approach will give SMBs the ability to adapt and evolve to ever-changing legislation in the modern technological world.