Blog December 8, 2023 Ben Wismans

Why a health check of your IT infrastructure?



The importance of regular checks on your IT environment cannot be overstated. A health check provides insight into the overall health of your systems, identifies potential vulnerabilities and optimisation opportunities, and contributes to proactively managing risks. It is an essential step to ensure and enhance the reliability, performance, and security of your IT infrastructure.

Why should you conduct a health check on your IT environment? There could be various reasons for this, including:

  • Another colleague (for example, someone who has left, or that colleague who always thinks they know everything) has set up the environment, and you're not sure if everything is configured correctly.
  • There is one employee in your team who has all the knowledge in this area, and you would like to have verification.
  • The environment's performance is not what you would expect or had expected.
  • Your team has sufficient knowledge to perform daily operations, but not quite enough to know everything inside and out.

Not notices

I encounter this last point frequently. Therefore, at several clients, we conduct a semi-annual health check on their environment. Extraordinary issues have come to light on a few occasions. For one client, the environment was stable, and the client had a few people who knew something about it. However, it happened that this environment ran with less CPU/memory for months without being noticed. The reason was a hardware defect that disabled one CPU/memory board. So, the system was still running but with fewer resources. After some performance complaints, we were brought in to take a look, and that's when it was noticed. Therefore, it's advisable to have your environment verified by an expert from time to time.

To Patch or Not to Patch

Another common finding in health checks is overdue maintenance. Systems with outdated patches and hardware with firmware over three years old are often observed. Some people seem to see it as a hobby or challenge to maintain a system's uptime for as long as possible. Uptimes of more than five years are sometimes considered normal for these environments. But five years of uptime also almost always means that there have been no new patches during those five years, which poses a security risk. Our motto is: the more frequent the patching, the better. Therefore, the outcome of a health check may also include advice, such as automatically updating the environment using a solution like Red Hat Ansible.

Minimal Investment, Huge Impact

If you're unsure about your environment and whether your monitoring covers everything, I would definitely recommend having a health check performed at least every six months (or every year). This can be a standard check, keeping the time required to perform it limited (and thus the costs). Depending on the environment, a health check usually takes one day to conduct and another day to formulate the results into a clear and comprehensive advisory document.

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