You’re working on your tasks for the day, and everything appears to be going well … until your client sends an urgent message saying that their server has crashed! It sounds puzzling—because you were positive that it was working the last time you checked it. None of that matters since your client has extremely important data stored on their server and now they are losing several hours of productivity because nothing can get done.
As an IT worker, it is your sole responsibility to figure out what is happening with the servers and fix it ASAP. But if you are new to this kind of situation, you might be unsure as to what steps need to be taken. While this short article can’t possibly cover all the ground, we can give you some general guidelines that you will find useful when a situation like this happens to you.
Step 1: Be upfront and honest with the client.
The rookie mistake that most IT workers make is to tell a white lie to the client in the hope that they will be at ease and give you the time needed to fix the project. This mistake is common when the worker in question knows that the issue is severe.
Respond right away, tell them the honest truth about what happened, what you are doing right now to get it fixed, and the timeframe by which you expect the problem to be solved. You will be surprised to see that clients are far more forgiving if you are timely in your responses and forthcoming about the situation. Always assure them that you are doing everything in your power to fix the issue.
When the problem has been solved, make sure to provide a report that goes into detail about what happened and the steps you are taking to ensure that this kind of problem will never happen again. This step may seem like it is straightforward common sense, but it is crucial to maintaining a healthy long-lasting relationship with your clients.
Step 2: Rule out all physical problems.
This is the part where you physically check the server machines and any network connections to ensure that nothing is unplugged or damaged. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a replacement or a switch to fix the server and have it up and running again.
If you feel that there is a performance issue with the equipment or cabling that cannot be seen with the naked eye, you will need to use your trusty tools to diagnose and fix the problem.
Step 3: Rule out all digital problems.
Assuming that there are no physical problems and the server is still down, now you will have to get your hands dirty with the software. Maybe there is a program that has crashed or stopped working for no particular reason. Problems like this are easy to fix with a simple restart.
The problem could also be far more complex in detail, such as a bug within the server program or a hardware malfunction that is not visible on first sight. There could be TCP/IP settings that are incorrectly set up, which could lead to routing problems. The factors that you will have to look for will largely depend on the setup of the server and the nature of the error in the first place.
Step 4: When all else fails, ask for help
Any IT professional will tell you that troubleshooting is an art and science that needs to be learned through direct hands-on experience. No matter how many times you bang your head, you simply can’t get the problem solved. This is the time to give up and ask for outside assistance from someone whose expertise you trust.
The most important part to remember about a client’s server going down is that the situation can be fixed. Therefore, there is no need to panic or worry, in the overwhelming majority of cases. Simply take it one step at a time, and your client’s server will be up and running before they know it.