Systems Administration Tasks

Question 1

Which of the following is a good policy to enforce on passwords? Check all that apply.

  • A long password length
  • The use of common words
  • A mixture of symbols and numbers
  • A short password length

Passwords are one of the first and biggest security policies that help prevent unauthorized access. A good policy for passwords is to make them long and with a mixture of symbols, numbers, uppercase, and lowercase characters.

Question 2

Which of these is part of the hardware lifecycle? Check all that apply.

  • Retirement
  • Procurement
  • Deployment
  • Network Connectivity

The hardware lifecycle consists of four main stages: Procurement, Deployment, Maintenance, and Retirement.

What is System Administration?

Question 1

Which of the following can be a responsibility of a systems administrator?

  • Setting up new user accounts and machines
  • Maintaining servers
  • Troubleshooting user issues
  • All of the above

A systems administrator has a wide range of responsibilities; this can include, but is not limited to, setting up new user accounts and machines; maintaining servers; and troubleshooting user issues.

Question 2

Which of the following make up IT infrastructure?

  • Hardware and software
  • Network
  • Operating systems
  • All of the above

IT infrastructure encompasses the software, hardware, network, operating systems, and other services required for an organization to operate in an enterprise IT environment.

Question 3

Which of these is considered a server? Check all that apply.

  • A software that provides a service to other software
  • Software that’s only available to the computer it’s installed on
  • Software that provides a service to other machines
  • A computer that provides a service to other computers

Servers are essentially software or computers that provide a service to other software or computers.

Question 4

A KVM switch is used to:

  • switch between multiple computers using one monitor, keyboard, and mouse
  • mount multiple servers into one server rack.
  • allow you to serve web content to many clients.
  • enable you to receive incoming SSH connections.

A KVM switch is a device used to switch between multiple computers using one keyboard and video display, like a monitor and mouse. That’s where the name “KVM” comes from!

Question 5

Which of these server hardware can you stack on top of each other in a server rack?

  • Blade
  • Tower
  • Desktop
  • Rack

A rack and a blade server lay flat and can be stacked on top of each other when you mount them on a server rack.

Question 6

With _, you can access your data, use applications, and more from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection.

  • a PAN
  • cloud computing
  • a LAN

The cloud is a network of servers that store and process our data. We refer to the concept of cloud computing as a way to do our daily computer job functions from anywhere, as long as we have an Internet connection.

Question 7

What are the benefits of cloud computing over local computing? Check all that apply.

  • Services are accessible from anywhere in the world.
  • There are smaller starting costs for cloud computing.
  • There are potential long-term costs associated with cloud computing.
  • Software updates are handled by the company providing the service.

Cloud computing has some great benefits, like smaller starting costs, services that are accessible anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, and software updates that are handled by another company.

Question 8

What are the benefits of local computing over cloud computing? Check all that apply.

  • Updates can be handled at anytime.
  • There are potential long-term costs associated with local computing.
  • Services are handled by another organization, so that makes your organization dependent on a third party.
  • You have complete control of the IT infrastructure.

With local computing, you’re in complete control of your IT infrastructure and can update and secure your organization at anytime.

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2. Network & Infrastructure Services

Intro to IT Infrastructure Services

Question 1

Which of the following is considered a physical infrastructure service? Check all that apply.

  • Laptop
  • Desktop
  • Rack server
  • Operating systems

Physical infrastructure services are comprised of the physical hardware that an organization uses in their IT environment.

Question 2

Which of these is considered a network service? Check all that apply.

  • Wireless Internet
  • DNS
  • Blade server
  • Ethernet cables

Network services are comprised of networking components that an organization uses in their IT environment, like network protocols, network hardware, etc.

Question 3

Which of these is considered a software service? Check all that apply.

  • Chat applications
  • Word processors
  • Email applications
  • Wireless Internet

Software services are comprised of the software that an organization uses in its IT environment.

Physical Infrastructure Services

Question 1

If you’re running a server, which one of the follow operating systems would be best suited for your server?

  • Windows 10
  • Ubuntu Server
  • MacOS
  • Ubuntu

When running a server, it’s best to use a server operating system that’s been specifically optimized for server performance.

Question 2

What are the benefits of virtualizing servers? Check all that apply.

  • Better hardware resource utilization
  • Easier maintenance
  • Lower costs
  • Better performance than a dedicated server

Virtualizing servers offer lots of benefits, like enabling hardware to be better utilized, easier to maintain, and generally lower in cost.

Question 3

Which of the following do you need in order to SSH to a machine? Check all that apply.

  • An SSH client on the machine you want to connect from
  • A VPN connection
  • An SSH server on the machine you want to connect to
  • A virtual server to connect to

To make an SSH connection from one machine to another, you need to have an SSH client on the machine you want to connect from, along with an SSH server on the machine you want to connect to.

stopping and starting services

sudo service rsyslog status # checking the status of the service
logger This is a test log entry # send the text to the rsyslog service and the service will then write it into /var/log/syslog
sudo tail -1 /var/log/syslog # looking at the last lines in /var/log/syslog
sudo service rsyslog stop # stop the rsyslog service
sudo service rsyslog status # see the service current state
sudo tail -5 /var/log/syslog # see what the command logged to /var/log/syslog
logger This is another test log entry # try sending text with our logger command again
sudo tail /var/log/syslog # check the contents of /var/log/syslog
sudo service rsyslog start # start the rsyslog service
sudo service rsyslog status # check status

fixing a failing service

sudo systemctl –state=failed # list services that are in a failed state
sudo service cups status # get more information about failure services
sudo ls -l /etc/cups # look at the contents of /etc/cups directory
sudo mv /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.old /etc/cups/cupsd.conf # move file
sudo ls -l /etc/cups # look at the contents of /etc/cups directory
sudo service cups start # start cups
sudo service cups status # check the status

restarting services

sudo service ntp status # look at the service that is keeping the date and time of the machine accurate: NTP.
sudo date -s ‘2017-01-01 00:00:00’ # manually change the date
date # check the date
sudo tail /var/log/syslog # look at the last lines in syslog
sudo service ntp restart # restart ntp, the service will notice the change in time and fix it to the current time
date # check the date

reloading Services

sudo ls -l /var/log/cups # see the content of /var/log/cups directory
sudo nano /etc/cups/cupsd.conf # edit /etc/cups/cupsd.conf using nano, replace warn with debug
sudo service cups reload # reload cups
sudo cat /var/log/cups/error_log # see that there’s now a lot of content in /var/log/cups/error_log
sudo service cups reload # reload cups

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3. Software & Platform Services

File, Print, and Platform Services

Question 1

What are the benefits of setting up an NFS server? Check all that apply.

  • Connecting to printers
  • Storing files on a network drive
  • Enabling files to be shared over a network
  • Serving web content

A network file storage, or NFS, server is used to store files on a network, and allow them to be shared with others.

Question 2

What methods could you use to set up printing in an organization? Check all that apply.

  • Directly connecting a printer
  • Setting up a print server
  • Using a cloud service to set up printers
  • Setting up an NFS server

From small to large organizations, you have lots of ways to set up a printer.

Question 3

When you have a web server, what service is used to enable HTTP requests to be processed?

  • An HTTP server
  • The web server
  • HTTP status codes
  • A database server

HTTP servers, like Apache web server, are used to process HTTP requests.

Question 4

You can use a(n) ______________to store large amounts of customer data for a website.

  • NFS server
  • HTTP server
  • database server
  • DNS server

Databases, like MySQL and PostgresSQL, are widely used to store data.

Software Services

Question 1

What are some communication services you can utilize in your organization? Check all that apply.

  • Email
  • Chat applications
  • DNS
  • Phones

Communication services, like chat applications, emails, and phone calls, allow you to communicate with others in an organization.

Question 2

What’s the difference between POP3 and IMAP? Check all that apply.

  • POP3 can only download email to one local device.
  • IMAP can only download email to one local device.
  • POP3 is used for sending emails.
  • IMAP can download emails onto multiple devices.

POP3 allows you to only download email to one device, which you may want to use if you want added privacy with your emails. IMAP allows you to download email onto multiple devices, which is the email protocol that’s widely used today.

Question 3

True or false: Commercial-use and personal-use software licenses are essentially the same thing.

  • True
  • False

Most software distributors have separate agreements for businesses. Before purchasing or installing any software, you should check the license agreement for the software.

Question 4

What are the differences between TLS and SSL? Check all that apply.

  • TLS is the successor to SSL.
  • TLS is more secure than SSL.
  • SSL is more secure than TLS.
  • SSL is the successor to TLS.

While TLS and SSL are used interchangeably, they do have differences. For example, the latest versions of TLS are more secure than SSL.

Troubleshooting Platform Services

Question 1

HTTP status codes that begin with 4xx, like 404, indicate errors on:

  • The client-side
  • The server-side
  • Nowhere; these codes are successful
  • Redirections

4xx HTTP status codes indicate an issue with the client, like entering a bad URL or accessing something they aren’t authorized to.

Question 2

HTTP status codes that begin with 5xx, like 501, indicate errors on:

  • The client-side
  • The server-side
  • Nowhere; these codes are successful
  • Redirections

5xx HTTP status codes indicate an issue with the server serving the web content.

# The ServerName directive sets the request scheme, hostname and port that
# the server uses to identify itself. This is used when creating
# redirection URLs. In the context of virtual hosts, the ServerName
# specifies what hostname must appear in the request’s Host: header to
# match this virtual host. For the default virtual host (this file) this
# value is not decisive as it is used as a last resort host regardless.
# However, you must set it for any further virtual host explicitly.

ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
DocumentRoot /var/www/ourcompany

<Directory /var/www/ourcompany>
    Options +Includes
    XBitHack on

# Available loglevels: trace8, ..., trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
# error, crit, alert, emerg.
# It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
# modules, e.g.
#LogLevel info ssl:warn

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

# For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
# enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
# include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
# following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
# after it has been globally disabled with "a2disconf".
#Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

vim: syntax=apache ts=4 sw=4 sts=4 sr noet

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4. Directory Services

Active Directory

Question 1

What is Active Directory? Check all that apply.

  • An open-source directory server
  • A Windows-only implementation of a directory server
  • Microsoft’s implementation of a directory server
  • An LDAP-compatible directory server

Active Directory is Microsoft’s Windows-specific implementation of a directory server. It’s fully LDAP compatible, so it works with any LDAP-supported client, though it has some features unique to the Windows ecosystem.

Question 2

How is an Organizational Unit different from a normal container?

  • It’s not; it’s just a different name for a container x
  • It can hold other objects
  • It can only hold other containers
  • It can hold additional containers

An Organizational Unit is a special type of container that can hold other containers.

Question 3

When you create an Active Directory domain, what’s the name of the default user account?

  • Superuser
  • Root
  • Username
  • Administrator

The default account in an AD domain is Administrator.

Question 4

True or false: Machines in the Domain Controllers group are also members of the Domain Computers group.

  • True
  • False

While Domain Controllers are technically computers, they’re not included in the Domain Computers group. The Domain Computers group holds all computers joined to a domain for an organization, except for the Domain Controllers, which belong in the DC group.

Question 5

In what way are security groups different from distribution groups?

  • They’re the exact same thing.
  • Security groups are used for computers, while distribution groups are used for users.
  • Security groups are used for users, while distribution groups are used for computers.
  • Security groups can be used to provide access to resources, while distribution groups are only used for email communication.

They’re both groups, but a security group can be used to permit members of the group to access a resource, while a distribution group is only used for email communication.

Question 6

What’s the difference between changing a password and resetting a password?

  • Changing a password requires the previous password.
  • Changing a password does not require the previous password.
  • Resetting a password locks the account.
  • They’re the same.

When changing a password, the previous password must be supplied first. When resetting the password, an administrator is able to override this and set the password without knowledge of the previous one.

Question 7

True or false: Joining a computer to Active Directory involves joining the computer to a workgroup.

  • True
  • False

Joining a computer to Active Directory means binding it, or joining it, to the domain. An AD computer account is then created for it. A workgroup is a collection of standalone computers, not joined to an AD domain.

Question 8

Joining a computer to an AD domain provides which of the following advantages? Check all that apply.

  • Centralized authentication
  • More detailed logging
  • Centralized management with GPOs
  • Better performance

Active Directory can be used to centrally manage computers that are joined to it by pushing Group Policy Objects. Computers joined to a domain will also authenticate, using Active Directory user accounts instead of local accounts, providing centralized authentication, too.

Question 9

What are Group Policy Objects?

  • Special types of containers
  • Special types of computers groups
  • Special types of user groups
  • Settings for computers and user accounts in AD

GPOs are objects in AD that hold settings and preferences, which can be applied to user accounts or computer accounts. GPOs allow for centralized management of accounts and computers.

Question 10

What’s the difference between a policy and a preference?

  • They’re the exact same thing.
  • A policy is used to set a preference.
  • A policy is enforced by AD, while a preference can be modified by a local user.
  • A policy can be modified by a local user, while a preference is enforced by AD.

Policies are settings that are enforced and reapplied regularly, while preferences are defaults for various settings, but can be modified by users.

Question 11

With a brand new AD domain, what do you need to change before you can target groups of users and machines with GPOs?

  • Nothing; the default configuration is good to go.
  • You need to place users and computers into new OUs.
  • You need to create an administrator account.
  • You need to rename the default groups.

Since GPOs can only be applied to sites, domains, and OUs, and because the default users and computers groups in AD are not OUs, GPOs cannot target these groups directly. In order to target specific groups of users or computers, new OUs need to be created, and users or accounts need to be added to them.

Question 12

Select the right order of enforcement of GPOs:

  • Site –> Domain –> OU
  • OU –> Domain –> Site
  • Domain –> Site –> OU
  • Site –> OU –> Domain

When GPOs collide, they’re applied according to site first and domain second. Then, any OUs are applied from least specific to most specific.

Question 13

What can we use to determine what policies will be applied for a given machine?

  • gpupdate [INCORRECT]
  • A control panel [INCORRECT]
  • A test domain
  • An RSOP report

Question 14

How does a client discover the address of a domain controller?

  • It’s pushed via an AD GPO.
  • It sends a broadcast to the local network.
  • It makes a DNS query, asking for the SRV record for the domain.
  • It’s provided via DHCP.

The client will make a DNS query, asking for the SRV record for the domain. The SRV record contains address information for domain controllers for that domain.

Question 15

Which of the following could prevent you from logging into a domain-joined computer? Check all that apply.

  • You’re unable to reach the domain controller.
  • Your computer is connected to Wifi.
  • The user account is locked.
  • The are time and date are incorrect.

If the machine is unable to reach the domain controller for whatever reason, it wouldn’t be able to authenticate against AD. Since AD authentication relies on Kerberos for encryption, authentication against AD will depend on the time being synchronized to within five minutes of the server and client. And of course, if the user account is locked, you won’t be able to authenticate to the account or log into the computer.

Centralized Management and LDAP

Question 1

Which of these are examples of centralized management? Check all that apply.

  • Role-based access control
  • Centralized configuration management
  • Copying configurations to various systems
  • Local authentication

Role-based access control makes it easier to administer access rights by changing role membership and allowing for inheritance to grant permissions (instead of granting each permission individually for each user account). Centralized configuration management is an easier way to manage configurations for services and hardware. By centralizing this, it becomes easier to push changes to multiple systems at once.

Question 2

Which of these are components of an LDAP entry? Check all that apply.

  • Uncommon Name
  • Common Name
  • Organizational User
  • Distinguished Name

The Common Name contains a descriptor of the object, like the full name for a user account. A Distinguished Name is the unique name for the entry, and includes the attributes and values associated with the entry.

Question 3

What’s does the LDAP Bind operation do exactly?

  • Modifies entries in a directory server
  • Looks up information in a directory server
  • Authenticates a client to the directory server
  • Changes the password for a user account on the directory server

The Common Name contains a descriptor of the object, like the full name for a user account. A Distinguished Name is the unique name for the entry, and includes the attributes and values associated with the entry.

Question 4

Which of the following are authentication types supported by the LDAP Bind operation? Check all that apply.

  • Anonymous
  • Simple
  • Complex
  • SASL

Bind operations support three different mechanisms for authentication: (1) Anonymous, which doesn’t actually authenticate at all, and allows anyone to query the server; (2) Simple, which involves sending the password in plaintext; and (3) SASL, or Simple Authentication and Security Layer, which involves a secure challenge-response authentication mechanism.

Introduction to Directory Services

Question 1

What does a directory server provide?

  • A real-time communication service
  • A network time service
  • A lookup service for an organization
  • A replication service

A directory service allows members of an organization to lookup information about the organization, like network resources and their addresses.

Question 2

What benefits does replication provide? Check all that apply.

  • Redundancy
  • Enhanced security
  • Increased capacity
  • Decreased latency

Directory server replication grants you redundancy by having multiple copies of the database being served by multiple servers. The added servers that provide lookup services also reduce the latency for clients querying the service.

Question 3

What’s the most popular directory services protocol used today?

  • Directory Access Protocol
  • Directory System Protocol
  • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
  • Directory Operational Binding Management Protocol

LDAP is the most popular and widely used directory access protocol today.

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5. Data Recovery & Backups

Disaster Recovery Plans

Question 1

What elements should a disaster recovery plan cover? Check all that apply.

  • Detection measures
  • Preventative measures
  • Recovery measures
  • Drastic measures

A disaster recovery plan shouldn’t only have recovery procedures; it should include detection measures so that you can be made aware of an incident, along with preventative measures to help avoid a disaster in the first place.

Question 2

Why are detection measures included in a disaster recovery plan?

  • They aren’t
  • Because it’s important to know when a disaster occurs
  • Because they prevent data loss
  • Because they make recovering from data loss easier

The sooner you can be alerted that an incident is going on, the quicker you can take measures to stop it.

Question 3

What are good preventative measures to incorporate in your organization? Check all that apply.

  • Monitoring and alerting systems
  • Redundant systems
  • Regular backups
  • Accessible and up-to-date documentation

Good documentation is considered a preventative measure, since it can avoid costly mistakes and make handling outages or system failures easier.

Question 4

What are good detection measures to incorporate in your organization? Check all that apply.

  • Environmental monitoring
  • Backing up firewall rules
  • Redundant power supplies
  • System performance monitoring

Monitoring the environmental conditions in a server room will alert you if things might cause problems for your equipment. System performance monitoring can also alert you to anomalies in requests or traffic to a server.

Question 5

What are good recovery measures to incorporate in your organization? Check all that apply.

  • Restoring server configs from backup
  • Following detailed recovery plan documentation
  • Monitoring for internet line outages
  • Maintaining redundant servers

Maintaining backups of server configs will make restoring a damaged system much quicker and easier. Detailed documentation on how exactly to do this will also speed up this process.

Planning for Data Recovery

Question 1

How can you recover from an unexpected data loss event? Check all that apply.

  • Write a post-mortem report.
  • Recover data from damaged devices.
  • Restore data from backups.
  • Design a disaster recovery plan.

Question 2

Where is it best to store backups, physically?

  • On-site
  • Off-site
  • In a safe
  • Across multiple locations

Ideally, backups should be stored in multiple physical locations to reduce the risk of a catastrophe causing you to lose your backups. Typically, data would be backed up somewhere locally, and the backups would be replicated and stored off-site.

Question 3

Which of these should be included in your backups? Check all that apply.

  • Firewall configurations
  • A downloads folder
  • Family vacation photos
  • Sales databases

Critical data for an organization, like firewall configs and relevant databases, should be included in the backup plans.

Question 4

What’s magnetic tape backup media best suited for?

  • Long-term archival data
  • Low-latency cached data
  • Cheap backup systems
  • Quick and efficient backups

Magnetic tape media is very cheap, but it’s also super slow and inconvenient to retrieve data from. This makes it a good option for archiving old data that won’t be needed often.

Question 5

Why is it important to test backups and restoration procedures? Check all that apply.

  • To reduce the size of backup data
  • To speed up the backup-and-restore process
  • To ensure backups work and data can be restored from them
  • To ensure that relevant data is included in the backups

It’s super important to test backups and restore procedures to ensure that they actually work! Backup archives could be corrupt or inconsistent, preventing proper restoration. Restore procedures are just as important to test, to ensure that critical data can be extracted from backups if a disaster strikes. Disaster testing can also reveal any gaps in your backup coverage without risking real-world data loss.

Question 6

Which of the following backup types are most space-efficient?

  • Full backups
  • Differential backups
  • Incremental backups

Incremental backups are the most efficient. While they start with a full backup, on subsequent runs, they only backup the parts of files that have changed since the last run.

Question 7

True or false: You can use a RAID array and use rsync to copy critical data to it for backups.

  • True
  • False

A RAID array isn’t a replacement for a backup system because it doesn’t protect against data corruption or deletion.


Question 1

What’s the intent behind writing a post-mortem?

  • To assign blame for mistakes
  • To assign legal liability
  • To learn from mistakes and improve in the future
  • To scare people into avoiding risky behavior

A post-mortem is meant to analyze what happened around an incident to identify what went wrong so it can be avoided in the future.

Question 2

What should the timeline in a post-mortem include? Check all that apply.

  • Actions taken before, during, and after the event
  • A detailed analysis of the incident, including root cause and scope
  • Detailed dates and times
  • A summary of the incident and how long it lasted

The timeline should include actions taken leading up to, during, and after the incident, along with the dates and times when these actions were taken.

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6. Final Project

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