Every IT leader knows the feeling. You need a certain aspect of your network to be monitored. You do some research and find an application that can do the job. The app installs easily and immediately starts working.
Then a software system needs monitoring, so you repeat the process. Again, the app is easy to install and does its job. Then some end-user devices need to be monitored; the process repeats again, and again and again.
Before you know it, you have a complex web of apps monitoring many different aspects of your environment. Each one works perfectly, but they don’t communicate with each other, and each consumes valuable resources. Monitoring sprawl has taken over, and your IT department is getting pulled under while trying to manage it. The next thing you know, you get your bill in the mail and you fall out of your chair. It’s huge. You may have to explain to the CEO why the company’s IT spending is so high, because he is not happy. Or even worse, a data breach results from all the moving parts and the lack of oversight. Sensitive records could be compromised, and the IT department overlooked the problem because it was too busy monitoring the numerous dashboards to notice other warning signs. The list of “what ifs” could go on and on.
It doesn’t have to be this way. With monitoring as a service (MaaS), many of the problems associated with monitoring sprawl can be eliminated. Instead of trying to wrangle the processes and reporting, you can streamline them and potentially even gain new insights. Rather than all these applications overwhelming your IT team, MaaS can help you efficiently use IT for what it’s meant to do: keep your company safe from security breaches and other dangers, and provide valuable data about your organization.
Here are five things to know about MaaS before you get started.
It’s easy to deploy. Let’s get this out of the way first: MaaS is not quite as easy to deploy as all those monitoring apps. After all, what is? But it’s much easier to implement than large, enterprise-level software options. Depending on the service provider, MaaS can be installed and start collecting data in a day or so.
It’s easy to change. Without MaaS, change management in a monitoring-sprawl environment isn’t just difficult; it’s downright dangerous. For every change made, your IT department must ensure every aspect of the system affected by that change is accounted for. It’s a delicate, manual task, and one that’s virtually impossible to complete without issues cropping up.
MaaS avoids this quagmire by allowing you to construct a blueprint of your company’s whole IT environment. Every device, application, software solution and hardware product is included and mapped. Then, when a change is needed in one aspect of the environment, everything linked to that area is automatically modified at the same time, with no manual effort required.
It can help with reporting. One of the major issues with monitoring sprawl is just how difficult it makes reporting. After each monitoring app is queried manually, the results for all of the apps must be cobbled together in an ad-hoc report. Each individual report requires the process to be repeated.
MaaS enables reports to be created automatically through a dashboard, no matter how many different systems are involved. Reports can also be scheduled to run at specific intervals or times, as well as when certain events happen. This reporting isn’t limited to technical systems, either. Any application that’s collecting data or monitoring any part of your business can be included.
It can help with data siloes. Another major issue associated with monitoring sprawl is that every application has its own user interface, documentation and data. Since none of these applications communicate with each other, this situation creates many checkpoints that need to be managed manually. As the number of applications increases, so does the potential to miss something along the way.
MaaS service providers have expertise in helping companies determine what applications need the closest monitoring and in managing all that data correctly. This approach pulls an important task out of the hands of your IT department, freeing them up for more-mission-critical projects.
Support is available. IT time is valuable, and generally scarce. Your IT department should be focused on projects and tasks that improve your company’s bottom line. Managing a rat’s nest of monitoring applications is not one of those projects. In addition to managing the numerous monitoring applications, additional training may be required for every app a company adds to its IT. This can also affect the bottom line at a business if the necessary training is costly. It also may result in a shortage of tech professionals in your IT department, which can in turn cause more stress on those who are left. The effects of having to monitor too many applications can snowball.
MaaS service providers have the expertise to take this task off your hands and provide 24/7 support. They also tend to have broad skill sets, owing to the fact that they work across industries. This approach can bring a fresh view to your company’s application monitoring, as well as solutions that you wouldn’t have considered on your own.
There’s no way around it—every company needs to monitor its many security and business checkpoints. But, how do you monitor and manage the applications that monitor your business? Without help, this task consumes time, takes IT resources away from other projects and is fraught with potential errors.
Monitoring as a service solves these problems through automation and provider expertise. It tames monitoring sprawl, freeing your IT department. As a result, you can maximize the benefits of all the monitoring data your company is already collecting.
About the Author
Clayton Weise is a cloud architect at Key Information Systems, where he is responsible for designing, architecting, and implementing cloud solutions, managing production workloads, and using cloud resources in disaster recovery, clustering and hybrid (cloud and on-premise) infrastructure solutions.