Why Even A Tech-Savvy Company Can Benefit From Managed Hosting

 

If you have a good grasp of technology, you probably don’t need managed hosting for your servers, right? Not exactly – here’s why.

It’s a common misconception that managed hosting is something meant exclusively for organizations that lack technical expertise. If your organization’s core competencies lie outside those required to run a server, you’re definitely better off bringing in someone to handle things for you. Here’s the thing, though – even if you know your way around hosting infrastructure, it could be beneficial to lean on a host’s expertise.

Fact is, the world’s growing more complicated by the day. IT departments need to manage larger, more extensive networks than at any other point in history. Devices and endpoints ranging from smartphones to smartwatches to IoT hardware are regularly being brought online in enterprise networks, and even the largest organizations are struggling with the challenge of how to secure them.
server management

Not only that, even if your IT department is competent enough to manage, secure, and configure all your hosting infrastructure, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be better-served outsourcing the task to someone else. There is, after, all, a very good chance that their core competencies lie elsewhere – by leaving them free to focus on those competencies, you will give your business far more room to grow and thrive.

You’ll be able to keep your business more streamlined as well, and avoid having to hire additional support or IT staff to take care of things like dedicated server management or firewall configuration. You’ll be able to forego costs such as hardware maintenance or setup of additional infrastructure, and you’ll be able to keep your monthly expenditures on infrastructure largely predictable – freeing up your budget to spend elsewhere.

Moreover, if you’re operating existing infrastructure, the best hosts will support your transition over to their systems, allowing you to leverage your existing investments to great effect.

Of course, all the above only applies if you choose the right host. You’ll need to practice due diligence here. Pay careful attention especially to their service-level agreement – is there any vague language? Are there any sections that seem a bit confusing? Do they offer decent reparation for downtime?

Take a look at the reviews a hosting company’s received online, as well. What are people saying about them? Do they have a decent reputation?

Finally, make sure the data you’ll be hosting with them will be secure and accessible. Do they offer the level of security your organization requires? Don’t compromise on this one, even if everything else seems perfect.

Liquid Web’s the answer. We offer secure, reliable, fast, and hassle-free hosting, backed by our 100% power and network uptime guarantee and the most helpful support team in hosting. We’ll provide round-the-clock, flawless hosting. And your organization, meanwhile, will have the freedom to create, the opportunity to grow, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you needn’t worry about the increasing complexity of infrastructure management – we’ve got you covered.

The Five Habits Of Highly Effective Sysadmins

Often, the best way to improve is to study people who’ve already got things figured out. So today, let’s do that – let’s take a look at what all the best sysadmins seem to have in common.

We can always be better, and we should always be looking to improve ourselves. One of the best ways to achieve that is by looking to our superiors – by looking at how some of the best people in our field conduct themselves. Because inevitably, they all have traits they share in common.

Sysadmins are no different. That is why today, we are going to go over some of the habits and practices that make the difference between a good administrator and a great one. How many of them do you follow?

1. They Are Cautious and Disciplined

Do you avoid using root privileges except when absolutely necessary? Do you bother to review what you have entered in the command line before executing it? Do you have a regimen of commands that you enter each time you login, and a set of statistics that you consistently examine each day?

The best sysadmins will answer ‘yes’ to all of the above.

2. They Are Masters Of Prioritization

As a sysadmin, you should eventually develop a sixth sense for whether or not a particular task is more urgent than what you are currently working on. But you should also learn to go beyond that. You should:

  • Automate all non-trivial processes and tasks, such as data backups.
  • Run as few processes and services as possible, disabling anything your systems do not use or need.
  • Develop effective workflow management techniques
  • Work in a way that allows them to immediately move from one task to a higher-priority one without losing progress.

3. They Monitor, Measure, Record, and Document

As a sysadmin, you should always have an ear to the ground where your business’s systems are concerned. Monitor everything, and maintain by-the-minute records of your data – though you should also prioritize the information that is most relevant to you, like disk space or CPU usage. I would highly recommend investing in a graphing tool that will allow you to visualize the data you are recording.

Additionally, document every task you perform, and read your logfiles.

effective sysadmins

4. They Ask “What If?”

A skilled sysadmin knows that their job is never done. They know that even if everything seems to be working as intended, that is often simply the calm before the storm. Software will crash. Their business will suffer a cyberattack. Hardware will fail.

Alright, perhaps I am exaggerating. At the same time, good sysadmins have a plan in mind for every worst-case scenario.

They know exactly how to respond if their organization suffers a DDoS attack, and exactly what to do if one of their servers fails. They have installed security protections that include malware detection and a strong firewall.

And they are always considering – and planning for – new troubles their business’s infrastructure might encounter.

5. They Communicate

The days when the IT department stood as an island from the rest of their organization are long behind us. As an administrator, it is your job to manage your business’s people as much as its systems. You need to be able to work with the people around you, and the best way to do that is by learning how to effectively communicate.

 

Be Effective

So, were you already familiar with the best practices outlined here? If so, great – you are well on your way to becoming an incredible sysadmin. And if not, now you know what you need to do to improve.

Because at the end of the day, everyone should strive to be better at what they do.

Sysadmins: Is Your To-Do System Killing Your Efficiency?

When it comes to working with efficiency, we are our own worst enemies. As an admin, you are no different. The way you handle your work could well be a shot in the foot.

Productivity is hard.

It is not something you can program or configure. Life would be so much simpler if you could simply type in a command and become more efficient – but you cannot. If you truly wish to be better at managing the various threads of your career, you need to work towards it yourself.

Efficiency

Unfortunately, most of us are really bad at it. As an administrator, you are not exempt from that. On the contrary – your job typically involves juggling so many different things that you cannot afford to be the least bit disorganized.

You need to manage user requests. Ensure systems are up-to-date and monitor for unusual activity. Locate and fix bugs. And most importantly, you have to convince your boss that you are indeed working, and not simply lounging at your desk.

A large portion of what a sysadmin does, therefore, involves prioritization. You need to figure out which tasks cannot wait – which things need to be fixed to keep your organization in working order. And in order to do that, you need to optimize your workflows.

An effective to-do system goes a long way towards accomplishing that (and as an added bonus, it gives your boss a visual guide to what you’re doing at any given time). By that same vein, trying to tackle your work without a management tool or process can feel like trying to bail out a boat with a thimble. Some people might be able to pull it off, sure.

But most of us will barely keep our heads above the water.

What can you do, though? Implementing a management process for your workflow can feel like a struggle in and of itself. Where can you even start?

Here are a few tips to that effect:

  • Start writing project management reports for everything you do – even if you are the only one who reads them. This helps keep you organized, and ensures that if you abandon what you are doing for something of higher priority, you will be able to remember what you were doing when you return.
  • Find a workflow process that meshes with how you already do things. Maintaining a to-do list should not be difficult, and you should not be spending more time planning your work than actually doing it. Methodologies include:
    • Kanban, which visualizes each individual work item and its progress, usually on a physical whiteboard or other such medium. This is one of the most popular workflow management methods, and there are multiple tools that allow you to incorporate it, including Trello and Taiga.io.
    • Scrum. Though it is primarily an agile development framework, you can nevertheless adopt some of its guiding principles into managing your own workday, including transparency, timeboxing, and holding a daily retrospective of your work.
    • Simply maintaining a checklist of tasks which you can check and update daily.  
  • Take the time to breathe every now and then. One common technique for improving productivity involves working in 25-minute bursts, with 5-minute breaks in between.  
  • Automate as much as you can. You should never be spending a great deal of time or efforts on patching, backups, user and group maintenance, DDoS mitigation, or malware scans – these are all things that can be run on their own, only requiring your intervention if something goes wrong.

Staying productive and on-task can be difficult, especially as a sysadmin. You have a lot on your plate. You need to learn to manage all of it, or you are guaranteed to be on the road to burnout.

5 Signs It’s Time to Find a New Web Hosting Provider

5 Signs It's Time to Find a New Web Hosting Provider
It’s a Monday like any other Monday – at least that’s how it starts. But at 11 AM, just as you’re finishing your third cup of coffee, your office phone lights up like a Saturday night in Vegas. Your inbox spits out new emails so quickly that you can’t read the subject line of one before ten more appear. Your mobile phone dances across your desk, buzzing like a hive of angry bees.

A sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, you stare helplessly at your phone, computer, and mobile. Picking one, you answer the mobile. It’s your CTO, and the sick sensation morphs into an outright panic when she explains that everything has crashed. “We’re down, and I don’t know when we’ll be back up,” she says, and you have no response that will make this particular Monday a good day. Continue reading “5 Signs It’s Time to Find a New Web Hosting Provider”

Boost Conversions with Expert E-commerce Site Performance Tips

Boost Conversions with Improved E-Commerce Site Performance
Did you know that the latest statistics quote shopping cart abandonment rates at a whopping 68.63% on e-commerce websites? That accounts for over two-thirds of your business’ potential sales! The question then arises, how can your e-commerce business overcome such a high abandonment rate and increase sales? The answer: improved e-commerce site performance. Even one second shaved off your page load times can boost conversions by 7%! Continue reading “Boost Conversions with Expert E-commerce Site Performance Tips”

Is Your E-Commerce Site an Obstacle to Customer Loyalty?

Use Your Website to Create Loyal E-commerce CustomersWhen building an e-commerce business, customer loyalty is important – especially because it costs six to seven times more to acquire new customers than keep existing ones. With that in mind, any prudent e-commerce growth strategy should include efforts to encourage repeat customers. Step one in that process is to make them feel welcome with a fast and available website that helps them find exactly what they want, when they want it.
Continue reading “Is Your E-Commerce Site an Obstacle to Customer Loyalty?”

Are These Common Server Problems Affecting Your Website?

Are These Common Server Problems Affecting Your Website?
From slow loading pages to a complete site crash, common server problems can spell disaster for your business. When clients cannot access your service, they quickly move on to the nearest competitor. Studies have shown that slow loading pages damage brand perception, increase page abandonment rates and can even leave users feeling physically stressed. Downtime is extremely expensive and can hurt your company’s reputation, and interruptions to the working day can reduce your employees’ overall productivity. If you want your business to perform well, you need to be able to count on your IT networks at all times. Continue reading “Are These Common Server Problems Affecting Your Website?”

Why Serious Businesses Monitor Web Service Availability

Why Serious Businesses Monitor Web Service Availability
Ensuring that a web service is always available is the key to making your business accessible to the right audience. When service is interrupted, it can harm business profits, functions, and public reputation. Research has found that for larger enterprises, 90% lose an average of over $100,000 USD for each hour of downtime. If you monitor web service availability as a standard practice, your business can address problems as they arise or to deploy preventative action before trouble even strikes. Companies who wish to be taken seriously online need to have something in place which prevents service downtime. A study found that poor web service is one of the top three negative influencers on potential consumers. Continue reading “Why Serious Businesses Monitor Web Service Availability”