Trying to proactively monitor a single network server or office location is challenging enough for IT staff. What if you have multiple offices? What if telecommuters need to access the network from home? Organizations spread out across locations can’t afford to lose network connectivity. And if they do, and IT doesn’t have the visibility they need, they’ll be clueless about how to fix it.
If you’re a network engineer or administrator managing off-site networks, an IT consultant monitoring traffic for clients, or a managed service provider (MSP), having remote server monitoring capabilities could make your life a thousand times easier. By ensuring you’re always connected to the people and systems that matter most, you can avoid catastrophes related to network performance.
I recently gave a live webinar all about the benefits of remote monitoring. Keep reading for my quick recap of the challenges that may indicate you could be ready for remote monitoring, four ways to secure remote access, and the high price of downtime.
Watch the webinar “Stay Connected to Your Network with Remote Monitoring” on-demand.
Do these challenges sound familiar?
How do you know if you need remote server monitoring? If you are dealing with any of the following situations, you’re probably an excellent candidate to consider moving forward with remote server monitoring:
- Managing distributed networks with telecommuting employees: Do your employees need to access critical information from their home or remote offices? I like to call telecommuters “walking networks.” The challenge for IT is being able to ensure that these connections are strong, while also keeping an eye on which employees are accessing the network from where and how they’re using network resources.
- Maintaining connectivity to remote sites: From high bandwidth to VPN connectivity, is your IT team responsible for making sure that remote sites have the same optimal network performance that your main location does? Things can get sticky here when an organization grows beyond a single corporate office to many end locations with many devices.
- Visibility: Polls consistently indicate that IT professionals cite visibility as one of their biggest struggles. Without ways to visualize what’s going on with network devices and flows information, IT has no way of knowing what’s wrong or how to fix it.
- Lack of on-site support: IT can’t be in two places at once (even though we’re often expected to be). When you can’t easily access your network remotely, without “boots on the ground” you’re forced to try to find a local technician or dispatch someone to the location, which can turn into a time-consuming nightmare.
How remote server monitoring makes life easier for IT
What are the benefits of remote monitoring?
- Flexibility. You can monitor remote sites outside of your network anywhere and at any time. Remote office gives you full visibility into network device performance from wherever you are, because remote sites need to be up and running 24/7 regardless of whether you’re in transition, in the office, or at lunch.
- Visibility. Remote staff can get visibility into how the network’s performing, too. Even if your main IT team is at the corporate office, you often have someone at a remote office who wants to keep an eye on their network performance, whether it’s a Level 1 technician or an IT manager. They might not be responsible for the full efforts, but providing them with some visibility provides context and grounds to collectively fix issues when they arise.
- Security. Third, you can give user access to the network without compromising security. Most remote server monitoring tools provide user access options so you have full control over who sees what. If you want people to have full access to your network maps, or read-only, you can give them the visibility you think is most appropriate.
- Central management. Direct access ensures your ability to manage complex networks regardless of location from a single tool. MSPs can also extend functionality to clients regardless of where they’re located.
- Mobility. Most remote monitoring tools give you mobile capabilities so you can be remote as well as monitor remote offices. For instance, you don’t have to be at your desk in order to check how the European office is performing. With remote access, you can check that office’s network devices from your laptop, smartphone, or other mobile device.
Four steps to securing your remote access
With security top of mind for most business leaders today, you may run into pushback when you try to roll out remote server monitoring at your organization. The fact of the matter is, if instituted properly, you don’t have to worry about remote access opening up unwanted doors to your network. Here are four tips to keep your network secure when you implement remote monitoring capabilities:
- Encrypted authentication: Make sure you have a secure connection to protect the transmission of data back and forth from remote locations to your main network
- Firewall protection: Protect your base network with a firewall.
- Standardized remote access: Ensure that everyone knows the proper way to access your network and that the point of entry is clear, so you will be able to spot a true intrusion.
- Security patches: Keep patches up to date for all devices that you’re using.
The price of downtime
If IT isn’t on their game, your company could pay a high price. For every hour of downtime, companies could lose thousands—even millions—of dollars depending on your industry and the services you provide. It’s been estimated that brokerage services lose, on average, 6.5 million U.S. dollars per hour when the network fails.
And IT is already a cost center. We don’t produce revenue. Network failures can cost you in lost revenue, impaired productivity, and unhappy customers. For a small company, this can be the difference between keeping the doors open and shutting down.
Network monitoring yields significant returns in the support and uptime it provides the business. It also gives IT time back to focus on other priorities.
Next steps: find a tool that gives you remote access
Do you think remote monitoring could help you monitor and manage all your remote locations and employees more effectively? Look for a remote monitoring tool that gives you secure remote access, along with standard features like automatic network discovery, real-time monitoring, dynamic mapping, SMNP support, and flows analysis. I know most IT professionals feel like their job is never done. Thankfully, a remote monitoring tool can lift the burden of manually keeping tabs on all your locations and employees.
Learn more about our remote server monitoring software solution, and try it free for 30 days.