Doug here.  Health Checks on your SQL Servers are an easy proactive way to determine if data is safe and secure.  Data is the life blood of business and keeping yours protected should be a priority

Recently we performed a routine SQL Server Health Check for a mid-sized client and uncovered a variety of surprising discoveries.  The system was installed by a 3rd party application vendor and it served as the back end to their productivity application.  The system was running slower than expected and justified a closer look.

During the Health Check we discovered a number of misconfiguration, security and availability shortcomings.  Some of the configuration settings were misaligned.  Access to restricted data had been granted to the entire user base rather than the select few with appropriate authorization to access the data. The backup jobs created were still working against the test system rather than the production system.  Also, some critical maintenance jobs were failing silently resulting in a misleading level of comfort.

These issues were adversely impacting the overall solution and putting the client’s data at risk.  Once identified, they were easily corrected.  At that point the client’s data was actually in the state they desired – secure, available and protected.


 
This article excerpt, by Andy McDermid, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1lSCAFj
 
Halfway through the management of a crisis is not the time to discover that your disaster recovery plan involves crossed fingers. To avoid that kind of drama, a formal SQL Server health check should be considered routine, required and responsible.
 
Basic Database Health
A comprehensive SQL Server health check provides you with a better understanding of your complex database environment, and delivers answers you need to the questions you need to ask:
 
•Is our data accessible, available and recoverable?
 
•Is our SQL Server stable? Is the hardware able to manage current demand for the data it provides?
 
•Are there any immediate security concerns?
 
•Is our SQL Server properly configured? Are memory settings accurate?
 
•Is our current hardware and software infrastructure sufficient to support our current database growth patterns?
 
The answers to those questions provide the kind of baseline data that is critical if your team is going to be able to support your ongoing database needs. It’s equally important to their understanding and support of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of these systems.
 
Advanced Database Care
Building on that baseline, consider whether your organization can confidently respond to the following questions:
 
•What SQL Server maintenance should be completed within the next 30 days?
 
•Is there a regular maintenance schedule that allows for security patches to be applied and server upgrades to be performed?
 
•Are our databases performing efficiently? Have indices been implemented? Is there index fragmentation? Are there duplicate or unused indices?
 
•Is there a predetermined series of best practices that are being followed as they relate to database design and management?
 
•Has a disaster recovery plan been implemented? Does it adequately support the needs of your organization? (consider the maximum acceptable time period you could be without access to your data, as well as the legal liability and potential consequences that could result if it is unavailable for recovery)
 
•Does our team have the necessary expertise?
 
Database Diagnostics
Even beyond the obvious benefits of being educated and prepared, there is an additional dimension to consider regarding the management of SQL Servers. As an organization you expect excellence from your team, and that means equipping them with the tools and information they need to perform competently and confidently.
 
Don’t worry if this feels overwhelming. An ounce of prevention is a lot less expensive than a pound of cure.