Maintaining your IT infrastructure is vital, not only to your organization’s success, but more importantly its security. Last year alone saw over 540 breaches exposing data in many different sectors from healthcare to manufacturing. Luckily keeping your systems and processes in check is quite manageable. With the right tools and technologies, you can easily keep the most complicated of systems online, secure and running smoothly.
When I worked as a system and IT administrator, I was exposed to many different tools – some that were pretty awesome. But others didn’t perform how I had hoped. With each role I undertook, I put together some great resources that I felt were the most useful in many aspects – ranging from troubleshooting minor and complex issues, to reviewing logs that could point out something I may have missed.
These are some great resources you should checkout to keep your systems and networks in place:
One of my favorite tools I still use to this day is CMTrace, a Configuration Manager tool that allows you to view and monitor log files, including the following types: Log files in Configuration Manager or Client Component Manager (CCM) format. Plain ASCII or Unicode text files, such as Windows Installer logs. Designed to be used in real time, this gives you a detailed breakdown of every log from start to finish in Micosoft’s SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) and exactly what it does. In addition, it highlights any errors in red to cross reference and see what failed, what the error is in the process and how to resolve it. The tool is a part of the newer SCCM builds and I highly suggest adding this one to your toolkits if you haven’t already.
For the longest time WinDirStat was an incredible tool, but with the introduction of TreeSize, I gained a ton of additional features that I enjoy so much more. JAM Software’s TreeSize is a disk space analyzer with native 32 and 64-bit support for all Windows versions and client/server versions currently supported by Microsoft. I love its detailed breakdown of disk usage through real time analytics. In addition, it enables you to monitor any recent or new changes in system scans, which is my favorite feature. TreeSize aso allows you to monitor the usages through mobile devices which is a huge advantage if you’re always on the go.
No matter what role you’re in, even an entry-level position, its imperative you learn to use Wireshark. A free and open-source packet analyzer, Wireshark is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development. Wireshark is hands down one of the best network analyzers. It gives you an intricate look at just what exactly is happening on the network. From a range of features, filtration capabilities to packet capture features and viewing, this tool has earned the respect of IT professionals all over the world and is a must for any one in any role.
This awesome suite of tools lets you maximize your experiences with the hosting guest operating systems of virtual machines. From passing messages across operating sysyems to automating scripts, VMware Tools give a more streamlined and scalable approach to monitoring any virtual machines in any environment.
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 is by far one the coolest tools I love using along with the rest I’ve mentioned. Microsoft’s RSAT gives you the ability to not only handle server management, but allows you to managing roles, features and policies from anywhere. I’ve used this tool many times for simple fixes – such as machines being disabled to moving them to an active OU. You’ll find many use cases with RSAT, and for the many problems you can encounter – it’s as simple as taking a look in your toolbox to find the answer.
Keeping your IT infrastructure safe and secure in today’s world is important more now than ever. It’s not uncommon to see ransomware or even DDoS attacks strike quickly, and force even the most well-maintained infrastructures to crumble or succumb to these attacks. But as these challenges grow, we will continue to surmount them, preparing for the threats we will forever face.
As I’ve mentioned before, there’s many paths in IT to take. If systems or network administration may be that path for you, then it is essential you prepare yourself to know what tools to use and how to use them.