the importance of remote IT health monitoring

on 11.03.21

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When connected devices fail, they can present significant challenges for organizations and the IT teams who are tasked with managing that infrastructure. All it takes is one device going offline to derail workers, hurting productivity and, in worst-case scenarios, affecting the business’s ability to maintain operations. Additionally, it creates additional headaches for on-site IT professionals, who are typically already strapped for time. And for smaller organizations that don’t have their own IT department, it can mean waiting hours for a fix, even when the solution is relatively simple.
Remote IT health monitoring, sometimes referred to as “smart maintenance,” can help organizations avoid common issues with IP-enabled devices and allow them to be quickly resolved remotely by third-party IT partners.
In this post, we identify the causes of these issues and outline why remote monitoring has become an essential service for most businesses today.

a common problem

Most businesses today know the frustration of an IT-enabled device suddenly not working, but it’s an issue that’s especially painful for organizations that rely on a wide range of connected devices.
Here are some examples of what this issue typically looks like:

  • Losing Wi-Fi because a wireless access point is not responding
  • Inability to connect with a smartboard
  • Conference-room touchscreens are frozen
  • Wireless printers suddenly go offline
  • Smart lighting stops responding
  • Digital signage or kiosks not functioning properly

These issues are more than just a nuisance. When they prevent workers from doing their jobs, they have real consequences on operations and the business’s bottom line.

costly consequences

Losing access to IP-enabled devices creates frustrating roadblocks for the users who rely on them to perform their jobs. And typically, it’s not just one employee that is affected by the device’s failure. Entire teams, or even the entire organization, can feel the impact, especially for broad network connectivity problems.
These roadblocks ultimately translate into lost productivity and downtime for the affected businesses, which can result in a number of costly consequences:

  • Idle workers: If workers are unable to perform essential job duties as the result of failed IT devices, then the company is losing money through wasted wages for every minute that the devices stay down. When entire teams are affected, this translates into a significant waste of resources.
  • Lost revenue: When failing devices affects the customer-facing side of your business, this can translate into a loss of revenue. For example, consider a large restaurant that relies heavily on automated lighting in its dining rooms. If the lighting becomes unresponsive, this could mean having to temporarily close off the affected areas, preventing the business from accepting as many guests as it normally could and thus losing out on its full revenue potential.
  • Reputation damage: In the same example above, the closed off dining room could frustrate guests by causing longer wait times and preventing the restaurant from keeping its reservations. This can have a lasting negative effect on the business’s reputation, ultimately hurting its revenue in the long term.
  • Expensive fixes: If the business does not have a managed service provider (MSP) or active IT provider, then it will likely be a costly service visit, even if the solution is similar. Emergency IT visits can easily cost hundreds of dollars, no matter how quick the fix. And as we illustrate below, the fix for unresponsive IT-enabled devices is often relatively simple.

why it happens

Any IP-enabled device will experience connectivity issues from time to time. This does not always mean the devices themselves are faulty. Rather, the issues typically arise from network issues or disruptions to the devices’ process of sending or receiving packets of data to/from the network.
A recent report by Commercial Integrator found that IP-enabled devices typically freeze due to:

  • Issues with the device’s firmware, software, or hardware
  • Unforeseen network issues
  • Network overload
  • Electrical surges from lightning or other electrical disturbances

the surprising power of power cycling

Despite the significant impact of failing devices, the fix is typically simple: power cycling. Power cycling is the process of manually rebooting a device by turning it off and back on again or by temporarily removing power.
Power cycling effectively resets a device, along with its network activity, enabling it to resume normal operations. Despite the seeming simplicity of the fix, manually rebooting a device can be a challenge when it’s in a hard-to-reach location. This is typical for wireless access points and other network gear that is usually hidden within the environment and sometimes behind walls. Other devices, such as digital signage, may also be difficult to manually reboot when they’re installed high off the ground or embedded into the walls.
This is where remote IT health monitoring can be particularly advantageous.

the need for remote IT health monitoring

Remote IT health monitoring enables approved IT partners to monitor the health of connected devices remotely. When additionally powered by automation capabilities, remote monitoring can be a business-saving service that reduces the risk of costly downtime due to frozen or failed devices.
Monitoring is typically done via one of two ways:

  • Active: Often referred to as PING monitoring, active monitoring is done by periodically sending data packets to the monitored device to ensure it is responding. When there is no response, this signifies a connectivity issue that requires attention.
  • Passive: Somewhat similar to active monitoring, passive monitoring sends data packets from the device to the monitoring system. If the device fails to send the packets as expected, this signifies a connectivity issue that requires attention.

In both scenarios, any connectivity issues detected are brought to the attention of the IT providers monitoring these systems. In turn, they can then troubleshoot the issue by remotely power cycling the device or performing other actions. If the process is automated, these actions can happen automatically, often resolving the problem before it comes to the attention of users.
Remote IT health monitoring can significantly reduce the risks and impact of failed IT-enabled devices, ultimately benefiting the business in several ways.
Benefits:

  • Decreased downtime and associated expenses
  • Continuity of operations and revenue streams
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Reduced IT maintenance costs
  • More efficient utilization of IT resources
  • Improved employee morale

At a time when businesses are relying more than ever on their connected infrastructure, remote monitoring has become a necessity. As more IP-enabled devices are added to networks, businesses must be proactive about quickly detecting and resolving common issues in order to prevent operational disruptions and maintain productivity.

remote monitoring & support from AVDG

AVDG specializes in integrating world-class smart systems, while providing proactive support to ensure the proper function and performance of installed devices. We offer dedicated, 24/7 remote system monitoring, on-call client support, and preemptive service, powered by AVDG’s own machine-learning process. This process enables us to preemptively address many common issues that would otherwise
require a service visit.
We provide remote program optimization through internet, network, AV system, and power monitoring. Our reboot capabilities also allow for the reboot of devices without needing to access software. When assistance is needed, AVDG guarantees a 30-minute response time for remote support, and 70% of service tickets are resolved within 15 minutes.