Our digitally enhanced ‘always on – always accessible’ world means whether you are an employee, stakeholder or customer, we expect to access IT services, wherever we want, whenever we want. IT downtime or failure, if only for a few minutes and for seemingly small events, can critically impact business continuity often with devastating implications. So, the need to effectively and proactively monitor your IT services – around the clock, is ever more important in today’s technology driven environment.
Can you build a 24/7 IT and network monitoring operation, without significant investment?
IT teams are stretched and under-resourced with a multitude of conflicting IT priorities (cloud transformation, cyber security etc.); it’s no wonder businesses (large and small) are unable (or unwilling) to dedicate the necessary resources and financial outlay to build their own comprehensive network monitoring operations centre (NOC).
Achieving an ‘always on’ culture without significant investment
Just because a full-scale Network Operations Centre (NOC) is a difficult goal for many organisations, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t benefit from effective infrastructure monitoring by developing and driving a 24/7 culture within your business.
> First, evaluate your monitoring requirements
Monitoring your network can seem an overwhelming and time-consuming task given the vast array of routers, switches, servers, software, end-points etc., so it’s important to build intelligence into your approach:
- Keep things simple: Understand the key business requirements of your network monitoring, as well as the critical services for your users – then place priority on monitoring these identified services. Overly complex monitoring will generate too many alerts, information overload and could start to negatively impact the performance of systems, leading to potential network bottlenecks.
- Eliminate the noise of false alerts by defining the correct dependencies, rules, alerts, escalations processes and automation you can intelligently separate informational events from service impacting incidents.
- Focus on end-to-end service uptime (rather than just the alerts) by intelligently grouping applications, server and network infrastructure.
- Deploy an automated break/fix regime: Issues and faults that are prone to reoccurrence can be successfully automated; This is particular important for 24/7 deployments.
- Determine the most practical way to achieve 24/7 and/or ‘out of hours’ cover: If you only experience an infrequent need for ‘out of hours’ support, there are many better options. Similarly, if the impact of downtime is high (whether lost revenue, or productivity), you should ensure you have an effective 24/7 escalation resource in place.
> Next, understand what it takes
Real-time visibility across your entire IT infrastructure (with a commitment to building high-availability services) requires an assessment of what is ‘required’, plus what internal capabilities and limitations exist.
Here are some key questions to help you identify your specific requirements:
- What existing monitoring tools and processes do you have in place?
You may have a few basic tools in place, or perhaps some very powerful tool, but you are unable to dedicate the time/resources to get the most out of them. It’s important to determine whether these tools are configured optimally to give you visibility you need – with intelligent dashboards (not just alerts) of your critical IT services, so that you can identify and resolve faults before they impact overall business performance.
- What level of internal monitoring expertise and knowledge do you have?
Developing your own team’s knowledge can be advantageous, but finding the right people and training them to the right level can be both time consuming and costly.
- Are your IT teams well set up to own the process?
By reducing the ‘noise’ with conditional alerts – and by allocating clear responsibility to individual, you have help avoid the bystander-effect. There are often too many resources getting involved when there are other business critical projects on-going.
Then, determine how best to deploy your available internal resources (people, time, knowledge and tools) where it matters most and in a way that’s most cost-effective to your individual business requirements.
> Finally, know if, when (and how) to partner with a specialist
For many businesses, there’s little need to build a fully staffed and resourced NOC, dedicated to network monitoring. Once you’ve determined and utilised your internal capabilities, it’s then easy to determine the gaps in developing a successful ‘NOC culture’ for your business.
The common and often unavoidable problem with internal monitoring teams can be the delay in detecting (and then resolving) issues – particularly ‘out of hours’, or at weekends. Or there may be a lack of cover over critical business periods, such as Black Friday.
> 24/7 network monitoring costs
It may be surprising, but both ‘out of hours’ and 24/7 network monitoring support is hugely cost-effective, as a specialist partner would have already invested in the resources & capabilities required.
Partnering with the right NOC specialist will also provide access to a level of expertise that is often unattainable with existing internal resources – PLUS will give you the flexibility on how YOU need the service to work.
e.g, 2 days/month ‘on demand’ support – ‘out of hours’
At every stage – whether it’s about helping you get the most from your existing monitoring tools or fully outsourcing your infrastructure monitoring, there are expert resources that you can call upon to support your internal IT function.
From on-demand, out-of-hours, consultancy, co-managed or simply overspill during critical periods, you choose what works best for you.
24/7 peace of mind – for less than you thought
Every business will have its own unique requirements, risk profile and varying degree of resource and budget constraints. However, developing and implementing a roadmap for a 24/7 NOC culture, plus calling on expert support services to complement your monitoring needs will go a long way to build resilience and drive uptime.
And all at considerably less cost than setting up and maintaining a fully-staffed, state-of-the-art physical NOC infrastructure operating 24/7.
- [Case Study] IT infrastructure monitoring service helps 45,000+ University students
- [eBook] The 5 key principles of effective network monitoring
- [Article] The causes of network downtime: What are they?!
- [Article] Calculating the true cost of network downtime
- [Article] Benefits of an outsourced Network Operations Centre (NOC)
About Comtact Ltd.
Operating 24x7x365 from the heart of our state-of-the-art UK NOC, we’ve built our reputation helping the UK’s leading organisations leave behind reactive processes – helping you simplify and solve today and tomorrow’s IT challenges.
Comtact’s outsourced NOC services & Enterprise IT helpdesk help you flex and scale your ICT environment through highly skilled technology and support, extending your capabilities with on-demand Enterprise IT services – at a fraction of the cost of building your own.