Business continuity in the remote age

Business continuity in the remote age

The global COVID-19 pandemic has, in more organisations than will ever admit it, exposed business continuity plans as tick-box formalities with little to no value in a real crisis.

In our tech-enabled world, we’ve begun to take it for granted that the IT systems and devices we rely on ‘will just work’. That’s turned out not to be the case, with many organisations facing issues with licensing, availability and connectivity, for example. Even those contingencies that were in place didn’t account for the speed and scale of change that we’ve had to deal with in the last few months.

Some enterprises have found gaps in their ability to track productivity and engagement among employees working from home. That’s not to mention issues with monitoring network availability, application performance and security at a time when new technologies are being adopted and infrastructures rapidly adapted.

While most organisations will have got to the functioning stage by now, there are inevitably compromises being made due to the nature of working from home. On the surface, operations may seem to be running smoothly, but how is your business being impacted? Will your business’ reputation suffer because you simply can’t see the issues you’re having with, for example, employee productivity or app availability?

To make a proper plan and make sure that plan is working, you have to ensure business continuity is measurable. This will more than likely include metrics that are not typically visualised by your IT monitoring dashboards, but which are central to monitoring business performance, such as productivity and engagement, absentee rates and supply chain deliverables.

Our team has developed Business Continuity Dashboards which link data from multiple sources to provide an overview of your key business metrics, so that you have remote visibility of performance against your SLAs in every aspect of operations. Root cause analysis can be conducted, and problems addressed to ensure good customer experiences are maintained. When a crisis hits you can carry on as close to usual as possible, but you’ll also be able to tell at a glance what ‘usual’ is.

Let’s face it, things aren’t going to go back to normal. A successful and sustainable transition out of lockdown will mean learning the lessons available in your data to make more informed business decisions. But you need visibility to be able to see and analyse what that data is telling you. Whether the gaps that have been exposed are on security, on operations or on networks, now is the time to get better visibility and improve your monitoring capability permanently.

We believe that those organisations which take the time to reflect on what they’ve learned will be proactive in using monitoring technology to future-proof their enterprise. They will put themselves in a position to emerge stronger from this devastating pandemic.

Contact us to discuss the place of critical data monitoring and visualisation in your business continuity strategy.

Chris Booth

Chris Booth

Solutions Architect

Listens to your problems, then identifies the best tools and products to build solutions.

Call us today on 01782 752 369
KedronUK, Kern House, Stone Business Park, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0TL

Business visibility in the new business normal

Business visibility in the new business normal

For organisations of all stripes and sizes, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge. Whether you’ve benefited from a huge increase in online sales or been swamped with customer service calls, whether you have a desk-based team all happily working from home or delivery drivers out on the road at all hours, your IT infrastructure will have played a critical role in keeping your business up and running – and so will your IT team. 

Maintaining good end-user experiences throughout this period was – and still is, in most cases – key to the longer term sustainability of your enterprise. Where IT performance, availability and security issues aren’t dealt with quickly and efficiently, it can cause huge reputational damage or loss of business. 

If you don’t have visibility of remote workers when it comes to productivity, engagement, access, network security and a host of other areas, how do you know things are functioning as they should be? There may be problems you’re not aware of, and if you are aware you may be struggling to find the root cause.

Such problems are compounded by the fact that your IT team are working remotely themselves, with a proportion off on sick leave at any given time. And at the same time, this department is being relied on to support other staff with their IT needs and likely firefighting demand and downtime issues. 

For 15 years now, we’ve been vendor-independent consultants specialising in application and network performance monitoring, so we know which software will give you the visibility you need to track your business metrics. Our solution architects are able to identify new ways to use tools you already have to tackle new problems, as well as recommending tools that will integrate with your existing infrastructure. 

There are numerous examples of software that can be deployed quickly and remotely to provide better visibility of your key data. To give just two, you can use:

  • Ixia’s Hawkeye to run tests from end user laptops or mobile devices, quickly understanding how their home environment is impacting access to key business services. 
  • Instana to gain 1 second granularity into application performance and issues, supporting key containerised applications. This SaaS platform provides immediate visibility of key web applications such as e-commerce. 

We offer support to deploy these solutions quickly and easily, with remote configuration and installation or even technical staff on-site where necessary. By exploring what the most helpful solutions might be for your circumstances, you can use data to your advantage to make better business decisions now and improve your monitoring capability permanently.

You can find out more about some of the solutions we provide in our guide to getting visibility fast. To talk about your specific monitoring needs, call us on 01782 752 369.

Chris Booth

Chris Booth

Solutions Architect

Listens to your problems, then identifies the best tools and products to build solutions.

Call us today on 01782 752 369
KedronUK, Kern House, Stone Business Park, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0TL

The development of NetFlow – time to look again?

The development of NetFlow – time to look again?

Over a decade ago now, KedronUK were extremely successful providing customers with one of the first complete NetFlow solutions, called NetFlow Tracker, developed by an Irish company called Crannog Software (later purchased by Fluke).

It was almost like a traffic analysis revolution, as Network Engineers were reliant on wire data ‘Sniffer’ Packet Capture technologies, to analyse traffic flows NetFlow, although it had been around for a little while, had not really taken off.

Crannog developed a very intuitive, cost-effective, NetFlow collector and reporting solution that was extremely powerful. A customer that before had to deploy costly probes to report on the make-up of their routed traffic, could now do this centrally using the routers they already had deployed. Happy Days!

Other network device vendors followed suit and it became possible to monitor cFlow, sFlow, jFlow, and the emerged standard IPFix. Like Packet Inspection, NetFlow was, and still is, utilised for both management and security use cases.

In time SNMP and Packet-based vendors realised they were in a great position to add this functionality to their existing portfolio and this probably, in truth, started the Unified Management trail.

So, standalone NetFlow for performance, although still very much there, was slowly being replaced by tools that included it as part of their data sources. This happened with mixed results, however, with some vendors nailing it and others have some pretty obvious limitations, such as the necessity to immediately aggregate data, which seriously affected the troubleshooting use case.

From a Network management standpoint, the big difference in the early days was that NetFlow was all about ‘accounting data’ – the who, what, where and when.

Where customers wanted to understand how fast and how delayed – Packets were still king. The other limitation was that NetFlow was only for routed traffic (layer 3), so you still needed the Packet insight to understand your local traffic performance.

It’s safe to say that for many, taking the above into account, NetFlow has become a tick in the box when looking at a Network Management or SIEM tool, and not a primary focus.

We think that view has been changing in recent years with developments in technologies such as NBAR2, CBQoS, Flow Generation probes and improvements in the built-in intelligence within NetFlow led products to deliver AI and Anomaly Detection.

We recommend you revisit your current NetFlow capabilities and see if you’re getting everything you could from this valuable data. The previous limitations are now not always the case and we find ourselves often recommending a more powerful Flow solution to our customers, for integration via standard APIs into their existing monitoring stack.

Chris Booth

Chris Booth

Solutions Architect

Listens to your problems, then identifies the best tools and products to build solutions.

Call us today on 01782 752 369
KedronUK, Kern House, Stone Business Park, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0TL