Keeping your enterprise network running smoothly is a full-time job with many things to maintain and monitor regularly.

While doing that regular maintenance, it can be easy to delay in-depth maintenance until something goes wrong. However, by performing a few key maintenance tasks at least once a year, you can save yourself a headache down the road.

In order to keep your enterprise network running smoothly there are a few things you should schedule annually:

#1 Remove Unused Accounts

While removing user accounts may be part of your day to day operations, doing an annual audit of Active Directory for old or unused accounts is important for security, database and server performance.

If your Active Directory is in the cloud, it may also save you storage costs. Get an up to date list of employees that have left the company in the last year from HR and verify that their accounts have been removed and deactivated. Also check for accounts that are disabled, expired or otherwise unused. Groups and Group Policy Objects should also come under scrutiny as they can take up unnecessary storage space.

#2 Test Backups and Restores

Though you may have monitoring and alerts that notify you when a backup fails, doing a full backup and complete restoration of the entire system on an annual basis will give you peace of mind that in the event of a catastrophic event you won’t lose data.

Run a test to verify that the technology and procedures used by your business back up the information and restored the information completely and successfully. Use a file comparison to verify that there hasn’t been any data corruption.

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#3 Optimize Network Routes

Optimizing the traffic on your network benefits everyone in the enterprise as data moves quickly and efficiently between systems and through the network. But before you can optimize your network routes, you must analyze current traffic patterns.

There are several techniques you can use to analyze network routes and identify issues, such as physical health, broadcast storm, network capacity overload, network throughput, packet route and path cost, and end-to-end file transfer. By using all or several of these types of analysis together, you can get a broader picture of the state of your network and where things can be optimized.

#4 Monitor Server Room/Data Center Climate

For your network to run efficiently, your servers need to be kept at an optimal temperature and humidity level. Check your server room’s temperature throughout a typical work day to ensure that it’s not getting too warm for your servers to work properly.

Check the room’s humidity levels also, moisture in the air can cause issues with equipment corrosion and static electricity. Airflow is also important, air should be moving through the server racks and AC intake and outtake vents should be unobstructed for a free flow of air.

#5 Dust or Blow Out Servers

Related to the environment of your server room, you should also be periodically checking your servers for dust. Dust can impede airflow and trap moisture, neither of which are good for the efficiency of your server.

Even if your office is clean and your server room is far from any manufacturing or anything else that might cause undue air pollution, it’s important to monitor your equipment.

Many server rooms have a fan and dust filter or other air purifier, and even in this case, checking your equipment annually for dust buildup can increase the lifespan of your hardware. When it comes to cleaning your servers, normal vacuum cleaners create a lot of static electricity (bad for electronics!), so it’s best to use a vacuum cleaner designed specifically to be used with electronics or use an air compressor to blow the dust out of the server rack.

#6 Retire Old Equipment

Keeping your equipment longer increases its overall value and saves your company money and time spent replacing perfectly good equipment. Often conversations around retiring equipment come up as your support contract is coming to an end.

But your equipment may last significantly longer than the support contract from your vendor and you may be able to find a third party to support the hardware to avoid the cost of replacing it.

However, if your equipment is reaching end-of-life or if your network requires technical advances, it may be time to replace or begin planning to replace it. And, if you are running mission critical functions, you will probably want to plan for replacement before the hardware starts showing signs of malfunction. Review your equipment list annually to determent a cost-effective retirement and replacement schedule for your enterprise.

Summit’s buy back program is an excellent way to recoup some of the initial investment in equipment being retired. Before sending your old technology to the recycling center get a buy back quote from Summit.

#7 Check for Upgrades from Your Internet Service Provider

Before contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP), run a speed test through a wired connection to make sure that you’re getting the speed of the service tier you’re paying for.

Reset the router, if needed, to verify any inconsistencies. Contact your ISP if you’re not seeing the speed you expect. Or contact them to ask if there are any upgrades available and about any new services they offer or will be offering soon (such as the new 802.11ax wireless standard). Remember to verify equipment compatibility with upgrades or higher speed services, if they are available.

Remember to schedule these annual tasks along with your other regularly performed maintenance to make sure they aren’t forgotten or postponed by other day-to-day priorities. These seven things will keep your equipment and network performing optimally, saving you time and your company money.