If I were to say that there are more internet-connected devices than there are people in the world — statistically it would be correct! This surging tide of devices brings along the need to monitor them all. Monitoring is no longer optional or limited to servers and desktops but, incorporates almost every device you operate upon. Now more than ever, as the IT landscape has been swamped by inter-connected devices that constantly exchange data; your smart TV syncs with your smartphone, which syncs with your laptop.
You might ask what makes monitoring so crucial? Consider the example of a smart TV. We all own one. Imagine a scenario where you are out of town and you get an alert that your TV is on. It is good that you were monitoring it because what might look like a small glitch may be an intruder sitting in your house. Now replace this intruder situation with a DDOS attack or something in your system that seems out of place. Get the drift? Consistent monitoring of devices thwarts such potential threats before any real damage is done.
But wait, there is so much more to it.
When What and How?
Monitoring right does not necessarily mean monitoring all. Just because today’s modern tools give you the ability to monitor everything under the sun, doesn’t mean you need to. As always, balance is the key.
Monitoring is a tremendously broad and complex activity and it’s understandable why it gets so overwhelming at times. Most service providers are monitoring either too less or too much. What you should be monitoring depends largely on your business model and the need that comes with it. Having said that, there are some basic essentials that should definitely be on your monitoring checklist. Performance metrics such as memory, disk space, uptime, downtime, etc. are a must. To get a comprehensive list of such activities to monitor, download this RMM checklist here.
The Right Blend
So how exactly do you transform the concept of pro-active monitoring into a fluent mechanism that makes life easy for you and your technicians? Allow us to elaborate on the key steps:
Alarms– Compare alarms to making entries into a journal. At any given point of time, when something seems out of place, your system generates an alarm. The idea here is to immediately isolate and resolve the issue.
Ticket– Once the authenticity of the alarm is verified, it is followed-up with creating a ticket for issue resolution. Tickets let you track the workflow of activities related to detected alarm or issues that your technicians want to keep track of. As ticketing system generates a good chunk of revenue for MSPs, the more you automate this process, the more game-changing efficiency you get to witness.
Script- This is where things get interesting. Creating an alarm condition and associated ticket can either be done manually or through a script. A script contains the set of instructions that you want to execute when a valid alarm kicks off and if done right, it can do a lot more than just remediation.
Consider the Smart TV Example one more time. How do I follow up on an alert that my TV is switched on? The very first step would be to write a script that validates whether or not the alarm is valid. Because, in an industry, which is filled with false alert and white noise, you don’t want to add another ticket to the pile. It might very well be a hiccup that doesn’t need a ticket.
The second step is remediation. This is where automation kicks in and we have ample opportunity to automate or semi-automate certain steps. At the very least, we can write a script to give the techies enough information, so that when they receive a ticket, they actually have everything that they would have done manually through a script. Now, your engineers have all the information they need at their fingertips and they know exactly where to look without getting lost.
Scripting also provides the option to create and customize alerts, send alerts, write logs, create reportable metrics that help you gauge your performance and create logic around validating your automation.
The Right Workflow
If you are starting from scratch and don’t know much about the ideal workflow – take notes.
Monitoring Sets and Criteria
If you are not already monitoring, the first question you need to ask yourself is what do you want to monitor? You do not want your technician to overdose on information. The monitoring landscape is wide and you can choose from fault monitoring and security monitoring to performance and configuration monitoring.
Monitoring Automation and Protocols
Now that you’ve decided what you want to monitor, step two is creating protocols and automation around it. Do you want to automate certain processes; do you want to stick with manual ticketing or write some scripts? What automation/remediation/collection is conducted today which we can incorporate? The idea here is to build efficiency and automation around things that you’ve shortlisted to monitor.
Policy Management Creation
Since the crucial elements have been taken care of, you want to get into policy management. There is no better way to manage the growing number of endpoints without policy management. Standardizing agents across the board without policy management involves a lot of manual effort, which defeats the purpose of creating efficiency around the entire process.
A Kaseya Path Forward
Automating the IT monitoring process is as important as monitoring itself. Pro-active monitoring helps you stay ahead of the curve and receive valuable performance reports to track the effectiveness of your entire IT infrastructure. While automation helps you simplify, streamline and speed things up. To know about the A-Z of monitoring, check out our webinar with Rachael Walker Director, MSP Marketing at Kaseya and Oscar Romero Senior Product Manager.