Remote IT Management: 10 Best Practices

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-08-07 Print this article Print

Although we're into August and preseason football has already started, it is still summertime, and for most that means sunshine, vacation and relaxation. For the IT pro who is often the only person at an organization qualified to deal with technical issues that arise all too often—at any time of the year—these summertime luxuries can come to a screeching halt when duty calls. Enter remote IT management. To help IT pros deal with any situation that may come their way while they're trying to enjoy some downtime, Glenn Gray, product marketing manager for SolarWinds, worked with eWEEK to compile a slide show that outlines IT scenarios and accompanying best practices for remote management. SolarWinds, according to Gray, focuses exclusively on IT pros and seeks to eliminate the complexity that often comes with products from traditional enterprise software vendors. The company provides purpose-built products that are designed to make IT professionals' jobs easier. After all, these unsung heroes of organizations deserve a little downtime, too.

  • Remote IT Management: 10 Best Practices

    by Darryl K. Taft
    1 - Remote IT Management: 10 Best Practices
  • End User's Active Directory Account Locked Out

    This scenario plays out every day in organizations across the globe, and it's an easy one to manage if you are in the office or at least at home near your computer. However, when an IT pro is enjoying some summer fun at a local lake or beach, this can be a tough one to handle.
    Best Practice: Invest in tools that provide access to systems from a mobile device, giving IT pros the power to unlock an end user's account no matter where they are.
    2 - End User's Active Directory Account Locked Out
  • End User Needs Help Using a Business-Critical App

    All IT pros receive requests for training disguised as support tickets. It's not uncommon for a system administrator or help desk technician to spend a good portion of his or her day on activities that would be better categorized as training rather than support. Imagine a scenario in which an end user's inability to perform a simple task in a CRM solution is slowing sales.  It's an easy one to manage while an IT pro is in the office, but when on vacation it can mean training by phone with no visual clues as to what the end user is doing.
    Best Practice: Using a remote IT management tool, remotely access the end user's PC from a mobile device, share the end user's screen and walk the end user through the resolution.
    3 - End User Needs Help Using a Business-Critical App
  • Email Server Goes Offline

    An email server going offline is a serious situation that can be greatly complicated when an IT pro is away from the computer. Being alerted to this problem is hard enough since so many alerting systems rely on email systems to relay alerts, but troubleshooting the issue while away from a computer is next to impossible without the right systems in place.
    Best Practice: Troubleshoot the issue from a mobile device by establishing a remote connection to the email server through a mobile remote desktop solution.
    4 - Email Server Goes Offline
  • Lost Files or Folders

    This is another common scenario that is easy to resolve while in the office, but can be tricky while away. Imagine one of the organization's C-suite executives losing track of an important file just before an analyst call. With the right remote administration tool, it's a situation that can be swiftly addressed and make an IT pro look like a hero … even when relaxing by a pool.
    Best Practice: Using a mobile systems administration solution installed on a mobile device, restore the lost file right to the end user's desktop in a matter of minutes.
    5 - Lost Files or Folders
  • Entire IT Staff Is Out of the Office

    If the IT staff happens to be simultaneously out of the office, let the help desk software be the wingman. Balance the load according to skill sets when IT staffers are on vacation or away at a conference to ensure that the right person is assigned to work on appropriate tickets to minimize downtime, maintain end-user satisfaction and avoid any unnecessary vacation interruptions.
    Best Practice: When choosing help desk software, look for one that's capable of setting up forwarding rules to get tickets to the right resources based on the type of work expected. Assign and define rules for automated help desk ticket routing and then establish a notification and prioritizing system, including SMS-enabled alerting to send messages directly to a mobile device.
    6 - Entire IT Staff Is Out of the Office
  • VMware Host Is Alerting That a VM Guest Is Using All Allocated Resources

    Many organizations leverage virtualization technologies to get the most out of their server hardware, and VMware is still the most widely used virtualization platform in the market. Making sure individual guests have the CPU and memory necessary to perform tasks can be an ongoing exercise, and it is not uncommon to temporarily increase resource allocations for guests.
    Best Practice: Determine the cause of increased utilization from a remote mobile desktop tool. From a mobile systems administration platform that integrates directly with the VMware vCenter, IT pros can increase the guest's allocation of resources.
    7 - VMware Host Is Alerting That a VM Guest Is Using All Allocated Resources
  • SQL Server Instance Stops Unexpectedly

    Do sysadmins sometimes end up being their organization's de facto database admin? You bet. When a database instance goes offline, your business can grind to a halt. Restarting a SQL Server instance is simple while in the office, but without access to a computer, a sysadmin can find the task daunting.
    Best Practice: From a mobile device with comprehensive mobile systems administration software installed, restart the instance through direct SQL Server integration.
    8 - SQL Server Instance Stops Unexpectedly
  • End User Reports Company-Issued Mobile Device Was Stolen

    Company-issued mobile devices often contain important information. To prevent such information from leaking in a situation where a mobile device has gone missing, sysadmins are often called on to perform a remote wipe. This is another scenario that is easy to handle while in the office but much more difficult when away.
    Best Practice: Mobile administration software that integrates with Microsoft ActiveSync or BlackBerry Enterprise Server can be used to remotely wipe the most commonly used mobile platforms.
    9 - End User Reports Company-Issued Mobile Device Was Stolen
  • End User Reports Printer Has Stopped Working and Print Queue Is Full

    Runaway print jobs that halt entire print queues have been plaguing organizations for decades. Any sysadmin knows that the fix can be as easy as canceling the offending job, but how does one do that while enjoying some beach time?
    Best Practice: From the mobile systems administration software installed on a mobile device, locate the printer on the print server and cancel the offending print job.
    10 -End User Reports Printer Has Stopped Working and Print Queue Is Full
  • For Extra Measure

    Have a strong foundation to continuously monitor and manage activity at all times, including new applications, servers and network devices that may be added while IT staff is away.
    11 - For Extra Measure

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