From The Expert Feature Article
March 27, 2017

Environment Monitoring is Essential to Offering Business Continuity for MSPs

By Special Guest
Richard Grundy, President, AVTECH

Business continuity plans are a key service many MSPs help develop and implement for their clients. Security, redundancy, and the ability to prevent downtime by being proactively alerted to issues are all at the top of client concerns, and clients rely on MSPs to help keep their businesses up and running as much as possible.

When businesses think about their own business continuity plan, they often focus on their network, connectivity and data. These are all areas where an outage or problem can lead to productivity-killing downtime. SMBs will often look to a valued vendor or partner to assist with putting their business continuity plan into place, and that’s where environment monitoring can (and should) be put into motion.

What too many businesses don’t realize is that nearly 30 percent of all downtime they’ll experience is due to environment factors. Data loss, intrusion, and hard drive failure are all top of mind, however, environment factors are just as likely to impact them, and environment monitoring usually isn’t part of their business continuity plan.

Factors such as temperature, water, power, and more all fall under the environment umbrella, and often aren’t tracked by firewalls, security equipment, or software. Understanding what factors can cause outages, and putting a monitoring plan into place, are important ways MSPs can help increase uptime for their clients.

Protect against nature’s outages

Temperature changes due to the weather can bring a host of potential issues with them. Colder temperatures can bring burst pipes and ice dams on roofs, leading to the possibility of water inside the business. Warmer temperatures can lead to internal temperatures quickly rising if an HVAC system breaks or doesn’t work properly; the excessive heat can quickly lead to hard drive failure and equipment/data loss.

Storms also introduce potentially damaging weather concerns. Heavy rains and winds can cause roof or structural leaks, bringing the strong possibility of internal flooding and water damage with them. Coastal flooding is a concern for many businesses as well. While one can’t stop a flood from occurring, one can monitor for the effects to help implement a business continuity plan.

Power loss can lead to extended downtime as well, even when backup plans are put into place. Redundant power may not kick in for one reason or another, and lead to server crashes and extended downtime for the office’s network. Notification that power is completely lost can sometimes mean the difference between a short outage and the possibility of catastrophic local data loss.

Treat your environment just like your network

Monitoring environment factors can notify you and your clients of any potential problems before they impact mission-critical business practices. Instant alerts via SMS and email allow for an immediate response regardless of the time of day they occur; being alerted that water has been detected in a server room is just as critical as being alerted of an intrusion attempt against the customer’s network.

Environment monitoring over time can also help you and your customers identify trends that can help increase their uptime. Gradually rising temperatures can help indicate a potential HVAC problem, for instance. The same goes for gradual humidity changes as well – a malfunctioning HVAC unit can cause condensation that can damage and erode sensitive electronic devices, leading to network failure.

Providing environment monitoring will help you and your customers quickly address issues to help them maintain maximum uptime, and help decrease the possibility of needing to rely on emergency backup services. It will allow you to provide a truly comprehensive monitoring platform as part of their business continuity plan, and reassure them that their data, network, assets, and facilities are all constantly monitored against a wider range of outage causes. By monitoring environment factors, you’ll help increase uptime and reliability for your customers, and further act as a valuable resource for their business.

About the Author

Richard Grundy leads the design, development and manufacturing of all AVTECH products including Room Alert, GoToMyDevices and Device ManageR, and manages all technology projects. He has over 15 years of experience with AVTECH and has handled responsibilities across the company throughout that tenure.

Edited by Alicia Young