White Paper |
Automation & Expertise: 360º Server Management
If you knew there was a cost-effective solution that could boost your IT team’s productivity and reduce your firm’s cyber-risk, would you implement it?
Agio Server Management is designed to monitor and maintain servers to operate at peak performance. During critical times, it provides hedge funds, private equity firms, and alternative asset managers with the most secure, reliable, and resilient server environment— so mature IT teams can focus on the bigger picture without disruption.
While other managed service providers are building teams that react to problems, Agio is using technology and data scientists to ensure optimal efficiency, uptime, and availability. The outcome? A highly specialized taskforce dedicated to maintaining a frictionless server environment and driving a more insightful and strategic experience for your firm.
IT Teams Have No Time To Waste Time
If we’ve learned one thing from COVID-19, it’s that everything you thought couldn’t be remote, is. The caveat is that your firm’s remote setup needs to be implemented properly and efficiently in order to truly benefit your employees and your bottom line.
When the pandemic first hit, many organizations hastily rushed to get remote workers up and running at home. Solutions were temporarily patch-worked together as quick fixes in anticipation of things quickly returning to normal.
Now we know—this is the new normal.
The days of tending to physical servers in data centers are long gone. By forcing entire organizations to adapt to a work-from-home model, COVID-19 amplified the need for firms to migrate to cloud-based services that can be managed from anywhere. Organizations that shy away from embracing these new technologies face interruptions that can negatively impact their productivity, cost, and security.
You’ve heard the stories, or maybe you’ve experienced it yourself: Amid a shelter-in-place order, your office data center experiences a power issue, preventing employees from connecting to their VPN. Until someone from IT support physically enters the office to switch the server back on, the firm loses productivity. The smartest way to avoid this situation is to ensure servers are:
- Based in the cloud
- Proactively monitored with modern tools and processes
Smart CTOs know better: Time is a commodity and shouldn’t be spent on routine tasks that can be automated. By implementing the right productivity-driving solutions, you’ll save your IT team from expending energy on everyday disruptions. When your engineers aren’t performing routine management and maintenance to keep servers up and running, they’re focused on finding new technologies to enable revenue generation.
What Firms Can Expect from Agio Server Management
Agio’s Server engineers are highly trained and skilled to ensure your server environment is designed, operated, and governed to maximize the performance and reliability of your infrastructure. Specifically, they deliver service through a dual reactive and proactive framework—a holistic approach that’s nonexistent in the competitive marketplace. The day-to-day services delivered include:
Monitoring: Agio provides 24x7x365 monitoring of your server environment in order to detect and escalate service-impacting events that could potentially harm your business. We keep “eyes” on your environments and notify your IT team when events transpire that require awareness and/or action. Server monitoring and reporting includes the following:
- Availability status (uptime, ping response)
- Uptime percentage over a period
- Syslog event feed rate and status
- CPU utilization and utilization of specific applications
- Local disk space and utilization
- Hardware (processes, modules)
- Cron Job and Windows Task Manager
- Custom application monitoring
- Windows services
- Process status
- Dynamic alert trend reporting
- Synthetic Transaction Monitors (email round-trip, Ping, HTTP(S), FTP)
- Monitoring of physical servers including ESX host, and all virtual guest hosts in the VM environment
Break-Fix Service: When an issue is reported via a monitoring application, system engineer, or an end-user, Agio will troubleshoot the server(s) and remediate to restore service and functionality. This includes troubleshooting availability, performance, and capacity issues. More specifically, we:
- Provide service ticketing and escalation
- Provide incident remediation and work with your firm to document steps to be followed for problem remediation
- Escalate hardware and software support issues to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and manage the problem resolution process with third party OEMs where appropriate
- Escalate all system alerts and outages in agreement with your organization’s documented process
- Troubleshoot and diagnose system alerts and outages
- Provide detection and solutions to problems, implement workarounds for immediate resolution, and provide root cause analysis with permanent solutions
Change Management: In accordance with your internal change management processes, Agio performs scheduled maintenance of your servers. This includes:
- Configuration changes (registry values, configuration files, etc.)
- Software upgrades and changes (operating system upgrades and application services)
- Physical and virtual hardware configuration changes (adding more compute, memory, and/or storage)
Patch Management: A subset of change management, Agio will deploy rigorous and structured patch management of your environments in alignment with your specific patch management schedule. If your current schedule isn’t within cybersecurity best practices, we will make recommendations to perform updates more frequently. And by leveraging Agio’s patching framework, you vastly expand your testing footprint across thousands of devices to drastically reduce your risk of untested or bad patches being deployed into your production environment.
Server Hardening: As part of our review process, Agio will baseline your servers against our security-informed configuration standard and make sure they’re matched.
- Agio will ensure your administrative and system passwords meet password best practices. In particular, we verify that privileged account passwords are not based on a dictionary word and are at least 15 characters long, with letters, numbers, special characters and invisible (CTRLˆ) characters interspersed throughout.
- Agio disables services that are not needed for the system to function and that represent a security vulnerability.
- We remove any unnecessary Windows components from critical systems to keep the servers in a secure state.
- Agio configures local file/folder permissions for the server.
Application Management (Citrix)
- Manage Netscalers
- Netscalers high-availability pair spanning data centers
- MFA-enabled Citrix gateways for external access
- Internal and external global server load balancing instances for resilience
- Load balancing servers for storefront farm and LDAP for resilience
- Manage Storefront Servers
- Storefront HA server groups spanning data centers
- Internal and external stores on each HA server group
- Integration with Netscalers and MFA single sign-on via Citrix federated authentication servers
- Manage Citrix Delivery Controllers
- Maintain XenApp and XenDesktop delivery controllers
- Manage application servers and the applications hosted on each
- Manage VDI virtual machines and delivery groups
- Manage Microsoft GPO and Citrix policies to control behavior of hosted applications and desktops
- Manage Citrix and RDP licensing for all users
- Manage Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS)
- Manage PVS infrastructure and hosted servers
- Update server OS images
- Perform monthly vulnerability scan remediation via security updates for all OS images and applications
- Maintain replication and deployment of OS images to all servers spanning data centers
Administrative Tasks: Agio will document processes and perform administrative tasks relating to your environment such as:
- User account management, server reboot, OU management, file server maintenance, and virus scan processing and updating
- Basic deployment of approved software releases and effective communication and management of service during the planned rollout of new releases
- Protection of production environment and its services through the use of formal procedures and checks
- Reviewing and recommending measures to improve environmental integrity and performance
- Support for standard Active Directory (LDAP, DNS, DHCP, etc.), file, and print server services for Windows platforms
- Support for standard anti-virus server policy management tasks
Proactive & Governance Activities: Agio handles proactive and governance responsibilities including delivering monthly reports to your firm, licensing, redundancy, cybersecurity, testing, and tools configuration.
- Monthly reporting: Agio will produce a comprehensive review of the client’s environment within our Agio Insights report that includes server performance, capacity trends, common incident trends, actions for major incident prevention, and recommendations to improve environmental integrity and performance.
- Software Licensing Assurances: Server engineers highlight any instances where clients are using outdated software—either in patches or in full operating system versions.
- Redundancy: We determine areas where there is a lack of—or reduced—redundancy with recommendations on how to achieve better redundancy.
- Cybersecurity: We review your configuration, monitoring, and processes to maximize your cybersecurity and ensure your approach is resilient.
- Testing: We perform monthly backup restore testing for critical files/directories.
- Tools configuration: We review tools configuration against AgioNow CMDB to confirm expected tools are installed and verified on each device.
How Agio Server Management Drives Speed & Resiliency
This 360º approach sounds great, but how are we doing it at scale in a cost-effective manner for our clients?
To start, we install a suite of next-generation tools to monitor and manage your environment. These tools include monitoring agents, software distribution agents, script repositories, vulnerability scanning agents, core ticketing platform, automation routines, self-healing automation, and knowledge articles. Or as we like to call, it Agio 2.0.
Our Server engineers then perform frequent reviews of your server environments and operational activities to ensure we are:
- Eliminating potential outages and cybersecurity incidents
- Reducing the impact of service disruptions
- Reducing cyber-risk by implementing a series of compensating controls
All of this is done in the most efficient way possible. Speed—to resolve issues and fulfill requests—is one of Agio Server Management’s most critical factors. In order to maximize the resiliency of your environment, our highly customized and integrated toolset is designed with speed in mind.
Take Agio LaunchPad, for example. We developed Agio LaunchPad to verify your server environment is maintained with the highest level of quality and security. At a high level, Agio LaunchPad is a collection of scripts and automation practices that we assemble and make available to our support engineers and case agents to effectively execute service requests. More specifically:
- Agio LaunchPad leverages calls to Azure DevOps script repository in a private, highly secure Agio tenant.
- Execution details are logged centrally in the Agio Azure tenant to the DevOps repository and are queryable via an Azure Function.
- The framework is in place for log details to be picked up by Azure pipeline and added to an associated ServiceNow incident via API.
- Agio Azure AD credentials are required to invoke Agio LaunchPad and execution of scripts requires valid ServiceNow.
The Bottom Line
Don’t allow your firm to fall behind because you’re still relying on antiquated systems. Ditch your data center and leave the routine management and maintenance to us—so your IT team can focus on projects that impact your bottom line.
We have the people, processes, and tools in place to ensure your server environment is designed, operated, and governed for maximized performance and reliability. Complete with next-gen monitoring and management tools, our Server engineers deliver a cost-effective, impactful, and insightful experience on day one.
Have questions Agio Server Management? Contact us to discuss your options with one of our Server engineers.
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