Every department has tasks to do before the end of the year. IT departments are no different. Development teams must update their software and the operations department needs to ensure all servers and network equipment are ready for the upcoming year. Luckily, businesses are usually slow the week prior to New Year's, so you have some good downtime to upgrade your systems.
Let's look at some tasks you should do before entering into 2017.
Update the Operating System on Your Servers
Most operating systems publish updates regularly. It's up to you to check their sites for any updates. These updates often include security patches, so they are critical to your information security. Whether it's Linux or Windows, always check to ensure that your servers are updated. You might need to reboot after an update, so always do the upgrade during downtime.
Both your external servers and internal servers should be updated. Windows even provides automatic updates that you can download and install each week.
Check Your Malware Protection Software
Malware protection is important for desktops, mobile and servers. As an administrator, it's your job to ensure that all systems are secure from viruses and malware. One way you can do this is by updating malware software every time an update is available. Your users should have antivirus running on their desktops where the administrator can remotely update the software from one server. Most enterprise level antivirus software offers this type of control so you can ensure your PCs and servers are secure in 2017.
Remove Old, Inactive Users
One of the worst security habits is to leave user accounts unattended. If someone leaves the company, the account should be immediately disabled. You don't have to delete the account. As a matter of fact, it's preferred to disable accounts to store emails and account details in case of an audit.
Before 2017 rolls in, you need to go through Active Directory and identify any users that should no longer be active. Leaving these accounts active makes you vulnerable to unauthorized access to internal documents, since the user knows the account name and just needs to figure out the password.
Review the IT Budget
New year usually means new IT equipment and necessary upgrades. It's probably time to take a look at the budget to ensure that you have enough to power the internal technical architecture. It could be new equipment, software upgrades, new user licenses or an increase in staff. You need a budget for this, and in many cases, costs increase especially when you want to upgrade technology. Make sure you have the budget for it, because a poor budget can cripple a network. The result is angry users, angry executives and angry CEOs.
The end of the year can be stressful, but it's also a great time to review your network as a whole and make improvements. The last week is usually slow, so it gives you some breathing room to reboot servers, replace routers and make general upgrades without interfering with performance.