MSP IoT – 10 IoT devices MSPs are monitoring and managing on a network (beyond computers)
This quick MSP IoT guide will help you get started with what to monitor on a network and the top IoT devices MSPs are monitoring.
We recently stumbled into a great podcast by the MSP alliance on why IoT managed services are going to the next big trend in managed services.
“For those of you not already delivering managed services around “IoT” devices, it might be time for you to consider doing so.” (MSP Zone)
Businesses now rely on many connected devices, IoT systems and services to be operational.
For example, an MSP managing a retail environment would need to monitor AV equipment, POS devices, network infrastructure, security cameras, digital signage and more.
How to decide what to monitor on a network
Before setting up thousands of alerts on all devices, it’s important for you to think about what you actually need to monitor and why.
Getting too much information is often worse than having no information at all. Information overload takes a huge amount of time to process and becomes pretty in-actionable.
Before you start monitoring more devices on a network, here are some good things to think when you device what to monitor on a network.
- What are the devices crucial to the network infrastructure?
- What are the services crucial to business continuity?
- What will you do with the information? Is it useful and actionable?
MSP IoT – IoT devices MSPs are monitoring
The Network Infrastructure
Monitor anything that makes up the backbone of the network: routers, access points, firewalls, hubs and switches. These are crucial to a secure and stable network and by monitoring them you’ll be alerted in real time if there is a problem. If one of these key devices goes offline or loses connection, you can remotely intervene to solve the problem immediately.
MSP IoT Systems
MSPs are using software like Domotz to manage the IoT systems that are on a network such as VoIP or Unified Communications. These include multiple devices that are interconnected on a network.
Device Inventory/Asset Management
More and more, MSPs are interested in having a full inventory of everything on a network. This information is useful for creating a full asset inventory (and connecting it to an asset management system), understanding exactly what you are dealing with and seeing who comes and goes from a network. In addition, knowing what is on a network is the first step in securing it.
Determine which devices are crucial to business continuity so you can monitor their statuses. A retail environment couldn’t operate without POS equipment and digital signage so those would definitely be crucial devices. If you detect a problem, you can use something like the Domotz remote network monitoring and management platform to remotely intervene and solve the issue.
We all know what it’s like when the office printer runs out of ink (it’s frustrating and annoying!). You may want to monitor the status of the printer ink to keep your customers extra happy.
Knowing what is on a network is the first step in securing it. Being alerted about new devices joining the network ensures you are in control of what is happening on the network. Monitoring for new devices that connect will help you keep the network secure.
You can monitor the status of IP cameras to ensure that they have not been tampered with, switched off and that they are pointed in the right direction.
For example; Alvarez technology is using Domotz to ensure the security systems they manage are always functioning in the cannabis facilities they are monitoring.
How security monitoring works with a system like Domotz:
- Through network monitoring features Alvarez team gets an immediate status alert when a camera goes offline
- Through Domotz third party integrations a ticket is automatically generated, so the team can track the situation
- The team can then remotely log into the network using the Domotz Dashboard and validate if the camera is still offline and issue a power cycle through the managed switch or PDU
- If the camera comes back online, using Domotz they can validate the functionality by looking at the streaming image from the camera and then close the ticket
- The actions taken by the team at Alvarez Technology Group are logged and recorded for auditing purposes
Learn more about how Alvarez Technology uses Domotz for security monitoring by reading the case study.
Use a remote monitoring and management platform to set-up on-demand and scheduled speed tests. These tests will help you establish a baseline for network speed. You can also set-up alerts when there is a drop in network speed so you’ll know right away if the network is having a major problem.
Device Round-Trip-Delay (RTD)
For devices that have a wireless connection, the quality can be affected by many factors (e.g. someone moves the device). With RTD features you can check if a given device is working at the optimal speed, and if any change has occurred compared to the past.
It’s impossible to remember which device is connected to which managed switch. And since you are not physically on-site sometimes things can change – someone moves something. Plotting devices on a network topology map helps visualize the network in an intuitive and easy to navigate interface. With remote monitoring and management software, you will always know in real-time which devices are connected to each port of a managed switch.
Many network infrastructure devices will never have a problem. But sometimes things go wrong for no explainable reason. Being able to remotely reboot devices is a huge advantage for your MSP to have and can eliminate costly “truck rolls” saving your business money. As they say in tech support, device reboot is the magic tool to solve most issues. Being able to manage this remotely, can prevent an on-site visit saving you time and money.
Opened Ports/UPnP vulnerabilities
Operators or applications may open ports on the internet creating network vulnerabilities. Monitoring opened ports and UPnP vulnerabilities will help you keep the network you are managing secure.
MSP IoT – How to monitor more IoT devices on a network?
Many forward thinking MSPs are investing in platforms (like Domotz) which can monitor and manage all IoT systems and devices on the network.
This kind of tool is paired nicely with an RMM designed for monitoring and managing computers so you can develop a full service offer.
Now that we’ve covered what to monitor on a network – stay tuned for our next post on how to monitor IoT devices.