MSP IoT – MSPs are monitoring these 10 IoT devices and systems (beyond computers)
MSP IoT is a hot topic in the industry right now which is why the MSP alliance says 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)
Many businesses rely on connected devices to be operational and this guide will cover the top IoT devices and systems that MSPs are monitoring and managing.
For example, an MSP managing a retail environment needs to monitor AV equipment, POS devices, network infrastructure, security cameras, digital signage and more.
How to decide what to monitor on a network
Think about what you actually need to monitor and why before setting up thousands of alerts on all devices.
Getting too much information is often worse than having no information at all. It takes a huge amount of time to process and becomes pretty in-actionable.
While you decide what to monitor on a network, here are some good things to consider.
- Which devices crucial to the network infrastructure?
- Are there specific 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, Security Camera Remote Monitoring 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!) so 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:
- Alvarez team gets an immediate status alert when a camera goes offline through network monitoring features
- The team can track the situation through Domotz third party integrations which generate a ticket
- 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 which will enable you to 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.
When you’re not physically on-site things can change or get moved around without you knowing. Its also impossible to remember which devices are connected to which managed switch. Visualize the network and any changes in realt-time with network mapping software.
As they say in tech support, device reboot is the magic tool to solve most issues.
Many network infrastructure devices never have a problem but sometimes things go wrong for no explainable reason. Your MSP will have a huge advantage if you can reboot devices remotely. Prevent an on-site visits that save you time and money by remotely rebooting devices.
Opened Ports/UPnP vulnerabilities
Operators or applications open ports on the internet creating network vulnerabilities. Keep the networks you manage secure by monitoring opened ports and UPnP vulnerabilities.
MSP IoT – How to monitor more IoT devices on a network?
Many forward thinking MSPs invest 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.
Stay tuned for our next post on how to monitor IoT devices.