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How to Help Ensure You Have the Best Server Monitoring and Alert Management System

Server monitoring alerts are an essential component of enterprise IT landscapes. As attack surfaces continue to expand, along with IT environments growing in complexity, having alert management that simplifies the process in an efficient, reliable manner is now more important than ever in maintaining business continuity.

In this article, we discuss what your organization should consider when reviewing these systems.

What is server monitoring?

Server monitoring, as the name implies, refers to monitoring system resources as related to servers—offering the data needed to help ensure everything is running optimally for performance, security, availability, and other criteria.

As a complementary component to monitoring, timely alerts can warn your IT team when issues or events require attention.

How to be successful at server monitoring and alerting

When mere seconds of downtime can greatly impact your business, you want to ensure mission-critical services are restored as quickly as possible. Here are some considerations when looking for a server monitoring management system.

Triage alert information: Any server monitoring alert system you’re considering should provide automatic notifications by triaging information to the best on-call team members. If an issue goes unanswered, escalations should occur at predetermined intervals. By triaging alerts, you can help ensure events receive faster responses, commensurate with their urgency and potential impact.

Alert fatigue avoidance: A server monitoring system that utilizes machine learning can proactively identify and reduce redundant or unactionable alerts through deduplication. This helps your team focus on P1 or P2 events (the “P” specifying the priority in which incidents should be addressed, with “P1” denoting the highest priority).

Constantly monitoring for every conceivable metric manually isn’t possible. Here’s where automation with machine learning can play a key role in reducing alert fatigue and detecting changes that might go otherwise unnoticed, such as file modifications or improper changes that could lead to security breaches.

Modern dashboard visualization: Effective server monitoring and alert management depend upon fast responses from a typically distributed team. The greater the complexity in the tools, the more friction is likely to accumulate in the process.

To help minimize friction, consider a dashboard with visualized metrics within a modern graphical user interface (GUI) for easier usage across your organization. One that provides KPIs for business stakeholders outside of IT can also be a plus.

What should you monitor for in your server environment?

When deploying your server monitoring system, you can set up alerts for any number of criteria, but you’ll want to give priority to events with the most potential to impact the business.

As a starting point, consider monitoring:

  • Your server availability with pings
  • The availability of server-specific functions
  • Event logs (Windows) and syslogs (Linux/Unix)
  • System KPIs (e.g., the CPU, RAM, HDD, network, etc.)
  • Application-level metrics
  • Security across your attack surface

How to find the best monitoring system for your business

To answer this question, first consider the specific requirements of your organization, and the scope of your IT team and their experience and expertise in server monitoring and alert management.

Keep in mind that the actionable incident thresholds that work best for the line of business at your organization may not match the KPIs of others. Endless daily fire drills will only burn out your team—potentially leaving the door open for P1 business-impacting events to go ignored.

Think about starting with an established baseline for incident values, along with assigned roles denoting who is responsible for what on your on-call server monitoring team for greater accountability. This can go a long way in preventing damage to your departmental reputation after an event occurs.

Find the best server monitoring and alert management system for your needs

Having real-time information with rich visibility is only part of the server monitoring and alert management equation. You’re unique. You want the ability to manage incidents on your terms, in the manner that best suits your organization—reaching the right people with the right information.

PagerDuty’s on-call management capabilities make this simple—letting you and your team members focus on performing the job they were hired to do. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today and see how simple it can be to automate your incident management. No credit card is required.