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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Aug 28, 2000 (Vol. 5, #39 - Issue #213)
Your System Admin Checklists
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • More on Security
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Your System Admin Checklists
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Did You Know All Hardware Compatibility Lists Are On FTP?
    • Transcenders For W2K MCSE Almost There
    • ENT Magazine Significantly Improved
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Netop Remote Control Wins PC PRO "EDITOR'S CHOICE"
    • Brand New Double-Take Page and GeoCluster Add-On.
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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  EDITORS CORNER

More on Security

Hi NT/2000 Pros,

Well, what you told us is that Security is still your headache #1. So I did some research and found a whole new category of security tool that has just been introduced. Sunbelt is getting geared up to delivering this new tool which would be a great companion for our vulnerability scanner STAT if you already use that. Why is this new concept so interesting? Well, it allows you to scan your networks from a completely new perspective.

I cannot say more about it just yet, but you'll be happy when you see what you can do. It's another way to foil hackers before they get to you. I'm sure you remember the old saying about 'the quick and the dead', but for the non-USA subscribers, it boils down to you better be quick or you're dead. .

We'll announce the new tool in our issue of September 11. And now, let's have a look at what's out there for this week!

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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  TECH BRIEFING

Your System Admin Checklists

Many of us are the Systems Manager, Network Admin, Security Admin, Database Admin, Telecommunications Admin, Email Administrator, sometimes WebMaster but senility is setting in and we can't remember them all. :-))

Recently, a thread on the NTSYSADMIN list server was started about what a System Admin really needed to do. Some people threw out a few items, others took their resume's and did a cut & paste. Out of the 40 postings or so, I grabbed all the items that seemed not duplicated and plugged them into one list, for daily, (nightly) weekly, monthly and 'incidental' activities. I'm not claiming it is complete, but it's at least a good start. Items are not in order of importance, and of course the activities are determined by the size of your site. You can add the items that are relevant to your own job. Here goes, and hope it helps!

Daily:

  • Check event log of every server, fix/try to fix as needed.
  • Creating new directories, shares, and security groups, new accounts, disabling/deleting old accounts, managing account policies.
  • Make sure backup runs and verify the files.
  • Plugging Security holes.
  • Exchange Management including DL's, users, etc.
  • Train the training people, helpdesk people, and end users.
  • Answer all important emails from CFO/CEO/IT-MIS Director.
  • Glance over DSU/TSU, switches, hubs, make sure everything is green.
  • Check router logs.
  • Check firewall logs.
  • Various calls to MS Support for things that really aren't your fault.
  • Check for free space on all servers, for file pollution and quotas.
  • Ensure that all server services are running.
  • Ensure that antivirus definitions are up-to-date.
  • Run defrag and chkdsk on all drives.
  • Monitor WINS replication.
  • Monitor directory replication.
  • Maintain performance baseline data.
  • Monitor network traffic with sniffer or NETMON to keep performance up.
  • Keep Service Pack and Hotfixes current as per company policy.
  • Monitor Web traffic for indications of attacks.
  • Install software for users
  • Monitor user email for corporate policy violations.
  • Check Print Queues.
  • Keep a log of everything you have fixed or performed maintenance on.
  • Make sure all apps are shared.
  • Permissions and filesystem management.
  • Check for bad system and ini files on database server (Btrieve).
  • Make sure load on database server is acceptable and ghosted users are cleared as well as multiple logons.

Nightly:

  • Backups
    (Next Applies to Terminal Server admins only)
  • Reboot each Citrix server.
  • Delete all autocreated printers stuck.
  • Clear out rogue local profiles.
  • Backups

Weekly:

  • Clean Servers, check for .tmp files, jetdb files, etc.
  • Implement any new policy, permission, logon script, or scheduled script modifications.
  • Research, Research, Research.
  • Change any active monitoring & alerting (third party tools) as needed.
  • Update Website, External and Intranet, send website log reports.
  • Check PerfMon, NetMon, (or 3rd party tools) for OK baselines.
  • Reboot Servers if needed.
  • Keep up-to-date on IT news regarding my networks.
  • Evaluate software for System Admin purposes.
  • Try to get some MCSE study time in.
  • Performance Monitoring/Capacity Planning- Budgeting for the future.
  • Uptime/Downtime reports.
  • Auditing network for unauthorized changes, ideally both from the inside but also outside-in.
  • Plan for W2K migration.

Monthly:

  • Rebuild Databases as needed.
  • Gather statistics on Webservers. Send to CEO/CIO/CTO/CFO (Whomever).
  • Clean exchange mailboxes.
  • Change Service Account Passwords (not doing this is russian roulette).
  • Convincing your boss that most of this stuff _needs_ to be done.
  • Extended testing backups with restores.
  • Maintaining applicable Service Level Agreements.
  • Set System and Application priorities: If more than one thing is broken, what needs to be fixed first.
  • Managing off-site storage of backup tapes, whether you take them home or a service picks them up.
  • IT System vulnerability analysis: like "This mail server uses this mail router- what's the impact if one or both are down (if mail server is down mail router will store inbound mail and may run out of disk space).
  • Periodically reviewing all of the above, is documentation up to date? Has the Disaster Recovery Plan been updated to reflect changes in the environment?
  • Periodically reviewing workload. Are some things no longer done?
  • Periodically review company technical environment. How can it be improved?

Initial or Occasionally:

  • Disaster Recovery to alternate site, in case of emergency.
  • Configure and maintain DNS - Internal and External, DHCP, WINS, TCP/IP, etc.
  • Document the full network.
  • Rebuild corrupt servers.
  • Test the Restore Procedure.
  • Reconfigure domain structure.. again.
  • Get a performance baseline for things like %Processor Time, Pagefiling, Disk Queues.
  • Initial checklist should include status of administrative and
  • service passwords, status of the backups, check out DHCP scope(s),
  • WINS, DNS, remove unnecessary protocols.

And then of course: drink lots of coffee, post dilberts all over your cubicle, surf the web, smoke cigars out back, walk around the office looking busy, make personal phone calls, look for better work on company time, download MP3s and other stuff that slows down the T's .. you know .. stuff like that.
  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Did You Know All Hardware Compatibility Lists Are On FTP?

Most of us are so used to check out the Web, that we forget about FTP. But these HCL lists are very handy if you want to quickly do a text based search or print out a section. In the early years, W2K used to be on this list too, it went away but now it's back again so all of them are there now:
NT4 Alpha
NT4 Intel
Win2K
Win95
Win98
WinME
You should plug this link in your 'Faves' or some where else where you will not lose it. It's a great time saver and definitely one of my own fave links.
ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/services/whql/hcl/

Transcenders For W2K MCSE Almost There

TranscenderCerts for the 2000 MCSE core exams will soon be released. You can be among the first to have them by ordering the Deluxe MCSE 2000 Select Pak or the Deluxe MCSE 2000 Core Pak now and receive the corresponding TranscenderFlash products immediately. You can check them out and even order online at over at
www.transcender.com

ENT Magazine Significantly Improved

There is a new Editorial Team at ENT Magazine and I think their content has improved considerably over the last months. You should have a look at it and get a free subscription (every 2 weeks). If you do not live in the USA or Canada, you can still subscribe to their e-newsletter. I would say the 5 reasons to subscribe to ENT are:

  1. Unique content. ENT is the only publication to provide ongoing coverage of Microsoft?s new Data Center Server and the 64-Bit Windows O/S.
  2. Easily digestible market driven information on new and emerging technologies, application development, data management, and timely industry news and analysis.
  3. Portable and concise. The twice-per-month frequency lets them keep you informed on critical issues surrounding the NT/2000 platform as they happen.
  4. Subscriptions are free in the US and Canada. As long as you are working in the Windows environment and have some level of purchasing authority, you can qualify to receive a free subscription.
  5. Easy, to subscribe click here.
    http://www.omeda.com/cgi-win/ent.exe?0+e55a01
  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Netop Remote Control Wins PC PRO "EDITOR'S CHOICE"

In a review of nine popular remote control packages, Germany's PC Professional Magazine awarded its "Editor's Choice" award to NetOp Remote Control v6.5. NetOp proved "faster than every other tested application, particularly when transferring many files." The mag also added that NetOp was highly stable, simple to operate, and suitable for workstations as well as schools. The review, which appears in the September issue of Germany's version of PC Magazine, went on to call NetOp "very user friendly," with simple operation requiring no training period.

In the tests, NetOp scored an impressive 96 out of 100 points with the closest competitor scoring 91 and pcAnywhere coming in a distant 4th with 86. PC Professional gave NetOp a perfect five out of five points in Usability, Configuration and Performance. For the full review click below. It's in German but the grid with numbers speaks for itself:
http://www.zdplanet.de/internet/artikel/sw/200009/remote01_03-wc.html
A recent (May 2000) review of all the major Remote Control players:
http://www.win2000mag.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=8463
NetOp 30-day Eval Download from Sunbelt site:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=888

Brand New Double-Take Page and GeoCluster Add-On.

You may have heard from me in earlier issues that we are done with making our website fully database driven. The Double-Take page is brand new (pumped straight out of SQL 7.0) and we have a whole lot more white-papers, diagrams, screen shots, documents and other useful stuff on the DT-page now, for you to download.

Double-Take is the World's best selling tool for job security. Well, I guess you know what I mean ;-) It's your insurance against downtime. Simply put, you create a set of two machines. ONE, your primary server (called the source machine) and TWO a second server which is called the target.

Once you have the apps installed, you do a one time 'mirror' operation that copies all the valuable data from the source to the target. That done, you define the replication set, which keeps the target up-to- date with ANY change on the source. Result? You have two machines with the same data in real-time. If the source fails, Double-Take fails over to the target and your users may not even notice. It's an absolute requirement for business critical NT and 2000 systems.

The Add-On I mentioned in the title is called GeoCluster. If you are running MS Clusters, you are still vulnerable because of two points: MSCS uses a shared drive, and it is in _one_ location. GeoCluster solves both of these problems in one fell swoop: You can break the cluster nodes apart! It's tested to at least 40KM but depends on how fat your pipes are so could go much wider. (Needs to be determined by you and our Tech Team). And a last little but very important goodie: GeoCluster frees you up from having to have identical hardware for MSCS. When you think about it, this is a M A J O R breakthrough.

Anyway, check out the new page and pull down the new docs or the 30-day eval. And remember to watch the Microsoft Cluster Service Disaster Recovery Video Featuring Double-Take on the same page!
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=111
(There is a link to GeoCluster as well)

  FAVE LINKS

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Remote Resource Kit Roundup for NT4.0 Article. Very useful.
    http://www.win2000mag.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=8430
  • All the MS Hardware Compatibility Lists on FTP. Worth gold!
    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/services/whql/hcl/
  • Vote for your FAVE TOOLS! See what tools your NT/2000 colleagues like best:
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/targetawards/
  • How to convert my Backup Domain Controller to a standalone server?
    - If it's W2K, Run DCPROMO
    - If it's NT, you need to format and reinstall, or use a third party tool like u-promote and you can find it over at:
    http://www.algintech.com/UTools/UPromote.asp,
    or
    http://www.u-tools.com