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Do Small Businesses Really Need Network Management?

We meet a lot of small business owners who experience a LOT of business pain because of badly performing or just downright failing networks. Network connections, (or put more simply your broadband connection and the ability to transact and communicate) have become essential for all but the tiniest fraction of businesses nowadays. Of course, its been the dilemma for as long as technology has been a factor in business that small businesses simply cannot afford to support their technological infrastructure in the way that they know they need to.

So whats to do? Most people are just winging it to be fair. The systems we buy nowadays for business are pretty good but far from perfect.

Of course the real trouble is never expected until it arrives.

So when the perfect storm of unaffordable costs to cover the systems we need and systems failure hits, we need to make decisions we really don’t want to have to make. Unjustifiable costs suddenly become justifiable in the face of the totality of the eclipse and the value proposition changes dramatically until everything is fixed, the network goes back to sleep and calm is restored. Until the next time.

This is where a low cost management solution from Rustyice Solutions really becomes your greatest asset. Our small unobtrusive RCAD (Rustyice Control & Access Device) will sit quietly inside your network continuously monitoring the health of your network devices and also your connection to the outside world.

Our systems offer 24x7x365 real time visibility of a multitude of measurable metrics within your network ensuring that, when coupled with our realtime SMS, Email and Messenger alerts component you are always fully informed about the health of your network systems.

Imagine your business broadband connection goes down in the middle of the night. You don’t want to be in the position where you are making the necessary telephone calls having just realised the problem when you arrive at the office at 8.30. With an RCAP that process can begin via our automated systems while you sleep and can potentially be resolved by the time you get to your front door.

An RCAP is much more than a broadband & network monitor however. Through your RCAP you can monitor anything on your premises such as motion sensors, fire alarm panels, smoke alarms, in fact anything that can be measured by a sensor. You can collect statistics on printer paper use, ACU health, HVAC system performance and even the levels in the coffee machine. The RCAP from Rustyice solutions really does it all and, with a customised dashboard designed by our engineers you will have all the data you need at your fingertips, alerting you at precisely the trigger points you require to ensure your business runs smoothly.

At the superbly affordable price of £14.99 per month why wouldn’t you?

Interested? Contact us today for a test drive. With no contracts and no commitments it really is an offer you can’t afford to refuse.

Contact us today to order your new RCAP.

Reporting As A Business Tool

reportingThe business IT environment is changing rapidly as more enterprises move to the cloud. The resulting dependence on bought-in applications will make service assurance a key issue for both enterprises and service providers.

Enterprise managers and service providers alike need a service assurance tool that is easy to use and accepted as an industry standard.

Therefore, just as enterprises have long outsourced business functions such as fleet management, building maintenance and training, they are now increasingly happy -doubtless in many cases deeply relieved – to outsource their IT systems. As a strategy it’s entirely consistent with the general imperative to make businesses leaner, more efficient and less burdened with overhead.

So as IT comes of age, it leaves home. The situation changes from:“Our business is successful because we control our own applications running on our own servers’ to: “Our business is successful because top-quality service providers deliver all our IT.”

Once the basic need for service assurance is recognised, the next logical step is to look at the scope for standardising it. Because without a standard service assurance platform, an enterprise customer could end up with as many reporting formats as it has service providers. This is already happening, as service providers agree on the need to give customers a service monitoring facility but don’t agree – or haven’t yet agreed – on the need for all customers to use the same reporting format.

From the customer’s point of view this is a messy and increasingly unacceptable situation. They find themselves having to learn to use several different tools, all with different login procedures, all with different reporting formats, and probably none of them directly comparable with any other provider’s reports. And to cap it all, most reports are in technical language that enterprise managers may not be able to interpret without help from their own IT engineers – if they have any, with many of their services in the cloud.

An unsurprising outcome is that in practice, enterprise managers have access to service assurance tools but don’t use them as much as they should. And given that the data is largely incomprehensible anyway, there may be a strong sense that they’re not missing much. This isn’t good for either enterprises or service providers, and it doesn’t help the cause of service assurance or the cloud.
It’s a compelling argument for a single service assurance tool that everyone can use. Not just IT engineers, but also – primarily, in fact – enterprise managers who want information in a format they can use to make management decisions. They want a tool that is actually helping them to run and improve their business, and isn’t just paying lip service to a clause in an SLA about providing service assurance data.

How Useful Is Syslog

syslogThe foremost use of syslog is for systems management. Proactive syslog monitoring really pays off because it significantly reduces downtime of servers and other devices in your infrastructure. Then there is the cost savings from preventing loss of productivity that usually accompanies reactive troubleshooting.

Alerting is another good use of syslog. You have a variety of options and severity levels that you can choose in setting up syslog alerts, including emergency, critical, warning, error, and so on. Also, alerts have fine points like host details, time period, and log/message details. The following are different areas where syslog alerting is useful:

  • Network alerting: Syslog is extremely helpful in identifying critical network issues. For example, it can detect fabric channel errors on a switch fabric module. This is one of many such warnings or errors that other forms of monitoring metrics cannot detect.
  • Security alerting: Syslog messages provide detailed context of security events. Security admins can use syslog to recognize communication relationships, timing, and in some cases, an attacker’s motive and/or tools.
  • Server alerting: Syslog can alert on server startups, clean server shutdowns, abrupt server shutdowns, configuration reloads and failures, runtime configuration impact, resource impact, and so on. All these alerts can help detect if the servers are alive. Syslog also helps detect failed connections. Server alerts are always useful, especially when you oversee hundreds of servers.
  • Application alerting: You need application alerting for troubleshooting live issues. Applications create logs in different ways—some through syslog. When you run a Web application, dozens of logs are written in the log folder. To get real-time monitoring, you need a syslog monitoring solution that can observe changes in the log folder.

Monitoring high-availability (HA) servers is important and another good use of syslog. However, not all the logs from the HA server are important. You just need to monitor the logs that are troublesome. However, in case of a HA server failure, you still need all the logs from the server. The solution for this is to have a dedicated syslog server for your HA cluster.

Despite the importance of proactive monitoring, some logs can only be analyzed later. Sometimes an alert or an error sends only basic details that are located in the local memory buffer. For detailed analysis, you need to dig into the historical syslog reports using any syslog analysis tool, like LogZilla®, Kiwi Syslog®, syslog-ng, etc. Historical syslog data can often provide comprehensive details, like configuration changes, high momentary error rates, a sustained abnormal condition, etc., that cannot be shown using other forms of monitoring.

Proactive syslog monitoring and troubleshooting reduces trouble tickets because you detect and resolve issues before they become trouble tickets. A synchronous Web dashboard, alerting system, and log storage (with search options) are the basic features of any syslog monitoring tool. Moreover, integrating the syslog monitoring tool with other infrastructure management tools adds value to your syslog monitoring.

IT Helpdesk Network Management

helpdeskYour Business and Staff Require Technology to Work.

There’s no getting around it, there’s almost no business on the planet these days that cannot fucntion without technology. It is a tool that all businesses and staff require to function.

Help Desk:  Professional, Certified Experts Supporting Your Business

In the world of IT, problems happen. Computers crash, passwords are lost, email stops working, and the list goes on. And without proper technical support in place, these problems can bring your business to an abrupt – and potentially damaging – halt.

Not every support issue can be called a catastrophe…until it prevents you from being able to do your job. We’re here to help you stay ahead of the curve, so you can focus on growing your business – and to do so, we’ve adopted a proactive approach to network monitoring and IT maintenance.

That’s why our help desk is a seamless extension of our Sentinant Networks remote monitoring platform. So when you call to report an issue, there’s a good chance we’re already aware of the problem you’re experiencing – and are actively working to resolve it.

Our technicians receive regular training, coaching and quality review to continuously sharpen their skills, and they’re backed by a team of professional supervisors and managers to ensure consistency and unmatched service delivery.