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5 Must-Have Features of Your Remote Monitoring Solution

As a technology solution provider (TSP), chances are you have a desire to take your business to the next level. The TSPs that are successful in this endeavor have a key ingredient in common: they are armed with the right tools for growth. The most critical tool for success in this business is a powerful remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution.

So the question is, what should you be looking for when you purchase an RMM tool, and why are those features important to your business?

The right RMM tool impacts your business success with five key benefits. With a powerful and feature-rich RMM solution in place, you can:

Automate any IT process or task
Work on multiple machines at once
Solve issues without interrupting clients
Integrate smoothly into a professional services automation (PSA) tool
Manage everything from one control center
To better understand why these features are so influential, let’s talk a little more about each of them.

1. Automate Any IT Process or Task

Imagine being able to determine a potential incident before your client feels the pain, and fix it in advance to avoid that negative business impact. Being able to automate any IT process gives you the proactive service model you need to keep your clients happy for the long haul.

2. Work on Multiple Machines at Once

To solve complex issues, an TSP must be able to work on all the machines that make up a system. If you are attempting to navigate this maze via a series of webpages, it is hard to keep up with progress and makes it easy to miss a critical item during the diagnosis. Having the ability to work on multiple machines at once is paramount to developing your business model and maximizing your returns.

3. Solve Issues Without Interrupting Clients

One of the biggest challenges that MSPs face is fixing issues without impacting their clients’ ability to work. With the wrong tools in place, the solution can be nearly as disruptive as the issue it’s meant to fix. The right tool must allow a technician to connect behind the scenes, troubleshoot and remediate the problem without impacting the client’s ability to work.

4. Integrate Smoothly into a PSA Tool

Two-way integration between your RMM and PSA solutions eliminates bottlenecks and allows data to flow smoothly between the tools. The goal of integration is to enable you to respond more quickly to client needs as well as capture and store historical information that leads to easier root cause analysis.

A solid integration will also increase sales by turning data into actionable items that result in quotes and add-on solutions. The key areas to examine when looking at how a PSA and RMM integrate are:

  • Managing tickets and tasks
  • Capturing billable time
  • Assigning incidents based on device and technician
  • Scheduling and automating tasks
  • Identifying and managing sales opportunities
  • Managing and reporting on client configuration information
  • A solid integration into a PSA will create an end-to-end unified solution to help your more effectively run your IT business.

5. Manage Everything from One Control Center

The control center for your RMM solution should be the cockpit for your service delivery. Having the ability to manage aspects that are directly related to service delivery such as backup and antivirus from the same control center keeps your technicians working within a familiar environment and speeds service delivery. Also, it cuts down on associated training costs by limiting their activities to the things that matter on a day-to-day basis.

Success means equipping your business with the right features and functionality to save your technicians time while increasing your revenue and profit margins. Selecting an RMM solution that solves for these five influential features is the key to getting started down the path to success. What are you waiting for?


This article was provided by our service partner : Labtech. 

5 Must-Have Features of Your Remote Monitoring Services

Remote Monitoring Services Features You Must Have

As a managed service provider (MSP), we have a desire to take your business to the next level. The MSPs that are successful in this endeavor have a key ingredient in common: they are armed with the right tools for growth. The most critical tool for success in this business is a powerful remote monitoring services and management (RMM) solution.

So the question is, what should you be looking for when you purchase an RMM tool, and why are those features important to your business?

The right RMM tool impacts your business success with five key benefits. With a powerful and feature-rich RMM solution in place, you can:

  • Automate any IT process or task
    Work on multiple machines at once
    Solve issues without interrupting clients
    Integrate smoothly into a professional services automation (PSA) tool
    Manage everything from one control center.

To better understand why these features are so influential, let’s talk a little more about each of them.

Automate Any IT Process or Task

Imagine being able to determine a potential incident before your client feels the pain and fix it in advance to avoid that negative business impact. Being able to automate any IT process gives you the proactive service model you need to keep your clients happy for the long haul.

Work on Multiple Machines at Once

To solve complex issues, an MSP must be able to work on all the machines that make up a system. If you are attempting to navigate this maze via a series of webpages, it is hard to keep up with progress and makes it easy to miss a critical item during the diagnosis. Having the ability to work on multiple machines at once is paramount to developing your business model and maximizing your returns.

Solve Issues Without Interrupting Clients

One of the biggest challenges that MSPs face is fixing issues without impacting their clients’ ability to work. With the wrong tools in place, the solution can be nearly as disruptive as the issue it’s meant to fix. The right tool must allow a technician to connect behind the scenes, troubleshoot and remediate the problem without impacting the client’s ability to work.

Integrate Smoothly Into a PSA Tool

Two-way integration between your RMM and PSA solutions eliminates bottlenecks and allows data to flow smoothly between the tools. The goal of integration is to enable you to respond more quickly to client needs as well as capture and store historical information that leads to easier root cause analysis.

A solid integration will also increase sales by turning data into actionable items that result in quotes and add-on solutions. The key areas to examine when looking at how a PSA and RMM integrate are:

  • Managing tickets and tasks
    Capturing billable time
    Assigning incidents based on device and technician
    Scheduling and automating tasks
    Identifying and managing sales opportunities
    Managing and reporting on client configuration information

A solid integration into a PSA will create an end-to-end unified solution to help your more effectively run your IT business.

Manage Everything from One Control Center

The control center for your RMM solution should be the cockpit for your service delivery. Having the ability to manage aspects that are directly related to service delivery such as backup and antivirus from the same control center keeps your technicians working within a familiar environment and speeds service delivery. Also, it cuts down on associated training costs by limiting their activities to the things that matter on a day-to-day basis.

Success means equipping your business with the right features and functionality to save your technicians time while increasing your revenue and profit margins. Selecting an RMM solution that solves for these five influential features is the key to getting started down the path to success. What are you waiting for?


This article was provided by our service partner Labtech.

Network Management : Is SNMP here forever?

The first SNMP release came out in 1988. 28 years later, SNMP is still around, a go to Network Management tool … Will this still be the case in 10 years from now? Difficult to say but the odds are lower these days. Why are we predicting SNMP could go away?

If you’re already savvy about SNMP, check out this blog for getting insight into current SNMP limitations and why we are making this prediction.

SNMP was designed to make it simple for the NMS to request and consume data.  But those same data models and operations make it difficult for routers to scale to the needs of today’s networks. To understand this, you first need to understand the fundamentals of SNMP.

SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol. It was introduced to meet the growing need for managing IP devices in a standard way. SNMP provides its users with a “simple” set of operations that allows these devices to be managed remotely. SNMP was designed to make it simple for the NMS to request and consume data. But those same data models and operations make it difficult for routers to scale to the needs of today’s networks.  To understand this, you first need to understand the fundamentals of SNMP.

For example, you can use SNMP to shut down an interface on your router or check the speed at which your Ethernet interface is operating. SNMP can even monitor the temperature on your router and warn you when it is getting too high.

The overall architecture is rather simple – there are essentially 2 main components (see Figure 1)

  • A centralized NMS system
  • Distributed agents (little piece of software running on managed network devices)

NMS is responsible for polling and receiving traps from agents in the network:

  • Polling a network device is the act of querying an agent for some piece of information.
  • A trap is a way for the agent to alert the NMS that something wrong has happened. Traps are sent asynchronously, not in response to queries from the NMS.

How is information actually structured on network devices? A Management Information Base (MIB) is present on every network device. This can be thought as a database of objects that the agent tracks. Any piece of information that can be accessed by the NMS is defined in a MIB.

Managed objects are stored into a treelike hierarchy as described in Figure 2:

The directory branch is actually not used. The management branch (mgmt) defines a standard set of objects that every network device needs to support. The experimental branch is for research purposes only and finally the private branch is for vendors to define objects specific to their devices.

Each managed object is uniquely defined by a name, e.g. an OID (Object Identifier). An object ID consists of a series of integers based on the nodes in the tree, separated by dots (.).

Under the mgmt branch, one can find the MIB-II that is an important MIB for TCP/IP networks. It is defined in RFC 1213 and you can see an extract in Figure 3.

With that mind, the OID for accessing information related to interfaces is: 1.3.6.1.2.1.2 and for information related to system: 1.3.6.1.2.1.1

Finally, there are 2 main SNMP request types to retrieve information.

GET request – request a single value by its Object identifier (see Figure 4)

GET-NEXT request – request a single value that is next in the lexical order from the requested Object Identifier (see Figure 5)

 


This is a repost of a blog by one of our service partners Cisco.

Where To Start With Infrastructure Monitoring

Recently I spent time revisiting our monitoring system. It needed a little bit of TLC and some of the staff wasn’t clear on exactly how it works and does its magic. As a follow-up, I thought it might be useful to write a little about monitoring. I mean, so what’s the point anyway?

Monitoring has evolved over the years. Especially with cloud computing and more resilient infrastructures. The tools have also progressed and I think it’s pretty clear that anyone deploying a serious monitoring system has long since abandoned the old-days of MRTG (http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/), and mon (https://mon.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Main_Page).  Even the infamous and all power Nagios is falling by the wayside. Finally, on the other end of the spectrum is software like SMARTS (http://www.emc.com/it-management/smarts/index.htm) formerly System Management Arts.

A good monitoring tool starts with:

  • Trends collected data (collection history)
  • Applies thresholds to data
  • Sends notifications based
  • Displays information in a meaningful way

That’s really the nuts and bolts of it. After that, things get much more in-depth. For example, how the data is collected and what escalation rules can be applied when sending notifications, etc. In addition, what about correlating the data and setting dependencies? The feature list goes on and on.

Once the data is collected and made useful (graphs, excel, whatever) it opens up the doors to things outside of monitoring such as planning, troubleshooting, faster SLAs, etc.

So if you’re planning on doing a Performance Monitoring Project, think about what you want and a little bit about how you might get there. What makes a tool do performance and monitoring in one package? Explore what others have and how they have leveraged it to improve their SLAs, planning, troubleshooting etc. Finally, it would also be worth considering what software has been used in conjunction with Monitoring Software to leverage it even further.

I noticed our system works well and is now a mature deployment. Our challenges now revolve around making sure people really know how to leverage the data and continuously document and improve the system.