IT & InfoSec Interview Questions part 3
Troubleshooting is the most important skill anyone in any technical profession. No matter what the job you are interviewing for is, they all require the ability to figure out problems. At some point in your job everyday there will be problems that need to be solved. It can be your customer’s machines, installations or maintenance issues. Knowing how to answer IT & InfoSec interview questions about basic troubleshooting will not only help you with your interview, but your career as well.
In order to understand what the situation is you have to know what is going on. If you are engaged by a user, finding out the last few things that happened to the machine might be important. If you are not the administrator of the machine but are helping out, finding out what maintenance might have occurred can be crucial. Sometimes patches are pushed to fix an issue that might break something else. If you can reproduce the behavior, then you can experiment with figuring out exactly what makes it trigger.
There are logs you can check for different types of issues as well. Any good software has its own logs, so understanding where to look is important. There are typically logs for login authentication, various processes the program requires to run, and database logs. If you are troubleshooting an error accessing the database, those would be the first logs to check. Other problems like a login error, it is good to check the login logs first.
Research the issue
If it is something you haven’t seen before, it is important to know how to research the issue. There are many different websites that offer advice and tips for troubleshooting, but the vendor website is a great first stop. Many big companies have their own forums you can just ask the question on and wait for an answer. You should also try searching Google for the issue, there are many websites with articles about specific issues. Don’t forget to ask around for help, a co-worker may have seen the issue before as well.
You would probably be surprised at how many times restarting a machine fixed the issue. Sometimes just restarting a services or process is enough too. Other times, you might need to reconfigure files or permissions within software. Always start with the simplest answer first and work your way to the harder ones. If a simple fix worked, great. If not, you didn’t waste too much time on it and can move on. Another philosophy is to check all common fixes first, whether easy or difficult, and move on to less common if they don’t work. I try to minimize the time it takes to fix each issue, but sometimes quick easy fixes don’t work. Therefore, there is merit to trying the more common resolutions first.
It is important to know how a system or program is designed to look. How are user accounts setup, how are permissions configured, and how does the program interact with the machine or network? Noticing issues with this and correcting them will lead to easier repairs. Another key is staying abreast of what is going on within your environment. Upgrades and maintenance can cause outages and are easy to fix if you are aware of what its going on. If you know the basics, you can ace your entry level IT & InfoSec interview questions.
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