How to Handle Server Crashes

    [fa icon="clock-o"] 11/22/2014 [fa icon="user"] TVG Consulting Team [fa icon="folder-open'] IT Services, Business Continuity

    A server crash at best can be a minor inconvenience, but at its worst, a server crash can be detrimental to a business. A server is a computer or computer program that manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network and can be responsible for anything from managing administrative accounts, to handling privacy settings for individual users. When a server goes down, it takes a lot with it, and the best thing you can do is work your best to handle the situation while your server is offline and work your best to get things back up and running.

    Let’s start with what causes a server crash, and then look into some good practices for surviving a server crash with minimum downtime and loss to your company.

    Causes

    Server crashThere are several situations that may cause a server crash, but here are just a few you should look out for:

    • Power Outage: Experiencing a power outage in the wrong place can take down an entire server, impacting many resources and computers. This is why a UPS, or uninterruptible power supply, is crucial to have in your business. A UPS will function as a backup in these situations, protecting your system resources.
    • Hardware Failure: Hardware may fail for any reason. Age may play a role in usual wear and tear, or other factors such as a power surge may damage equipment. If a switch or router is damaged, by example, several computers can be taken down in one shot. Servers are no exception to this rule.
    • Virus/Hacker Attack: A Denial of Service, or DOS, attack is just one example. Various attacks may be used to either compromise secure documents on the server, or simply cause downtime for whatever reason. Having a secure server is crucial to preventing attacks such as these.
    • Data Corruption: While it may be caused by a virus or hardware failure, data corruption can be a root cause of a server to fail.

    These are just a few causes of a system to fail, but what should be your first course of action if your system is down? What steps should you take?

    Related: 5 Reasons to Use an Uninterruptable Power Supply

    Prevention

    Preventing a server from crashing in the first place is the key to protecting your server from minimal downtime with minimal risk to your company. Some of these options have already been detailed. An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, may save your server from downtime in the event of a power outage, for instance. Proper security across your server will prevent unauthorized access by individuals who may wish to steal from or harm your business. Maintaining your network equipment through replacing or repairing old devices will prevent many hardware failures from taking place. Additionally, always ensure cooling systems are operating correctly so that equipment is prevented from ever overheating.

    There are many other business continuity options you can also take into consideration for protecting your server preemptively, but what do you do if your server has already crashed in spite of your preparations?

    Stay Calm

    First and foremost, stay calm. Panicking is the worst thing you can do in the event of a crisis. When a server is down, a lot of things will likely be running through your mind. Stay focused, and the crisis will likely be resolved in as little time as possible.

    Start Small With Troubleshooting

    Often what appears to be a major problem has a simple solution. Some of the most frightening server crashes have simple causes. A plug getting disconnected or a slight error during maintenance can cause the greatest of terrifying circumstances for a business run on a server. However, if the problem is that simple, the solution is also simple. Retrace the steps of your team that may have recently operated in any area near the server. If maintenance was recently conducted in the area in or around the server, ensure everything was properly connected upon completion of work.

    Check Security

    Sometimes a server being down is a sign of a greater potential threat. A server being taken down can be used to get around system security and compromise secure information. Ensure there is no greater threat to your business than the obvious one.

    Check Server Logs

    Most servers have a system for collecting data during a server crash called ‘server logs’. If you don’t have a system for collecting this information, get one as soon as possible! Knowing what is causing the problem is crucial to getting your server back up and running in as little time as possible. Keep in mind, you can only check the server logs if the system will power up. If the system will not power up, you may need to replace the RAM or power supply.

    Contact Your IT or Business Continuity Team

    Having an experienced IT Team in charge of your server and surrounding network can mean the difference between being down for a few minutes, and being down for several hours. TVG Consulting offers secure server installation as well as IT service options in the event of a server failure. Furthermore, TVG Consulting may be able to assist you with options in protecting your server from failure with security features, cloud storage, battery back-up, and other safety features to ensure your business is protected in the event of a server crash for whatever reason.

    Having a properly installed server alone may prevent your server from experiencing a crash in the first place, and TVG Consulting has years of experience in proper server installation and service.

    Related: 5 Reasons to Back Up Your Data