Being an MSP, where do we spend the majority of our time with IT items?
On maintaining your network. This may sound easy, but it is quite difficult if you do not know what you are doing. To best maintain your network, knowledge is power and the best place to gain that knowledge is by implementing solutions. These enable you to monitor what is happening with your various clients, which is network gold.
While those are many integrated solutions that you could choose to implement using Microsoft's tools, most of them require a significant amount of individual configuration and end up relying on using email. Instead, we encourage you to choose and select a tool to perform this work for you. There are many free solutions that can give you the basics, as well as reasonably priced paid for programs that can offer you some more advanced features.
When looking for a solution consider the following:
- Identify important devices and determine that they are online (Uptime Monitoring)
- Eventlog Scanning
- Resource Utilization
- Easy deployment (either installable agent, or even better is Windows Management Instrumentation, or WMI, integration)
- Event Triggers & Notifications (for letting you know when something has crashed)
- Asset tracking & auditing (this is especially useful down the road for documenting your environment and software)
- SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)
As a guideline, configure alerts for common things such as resource utilization and uptime monitoring – especially for servers will let you know about critical issues as they happen (and hopefully before the rest of your staff notices).
Using the data collected by your monitoring environment, you should be able to see if there are memory and hardware deficiencies, as well as if you see many issues with a computer, make a determination that the computer should be marked for replacement. However, as powerful as these tools are, they are passive tools designed to inform, not to correct issues. To get the most out of monitoring your network, you will need to proactively review your notifications, the platform and the data it provides and determine actionable steps to resolve problems as you see them.
If you want to learn more about how you can create and maintain a successful network, then check out the book I wrote! It goes through all the steps needed!