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Questions to ask before choosing an IT Alerting Vendor

IT alerting vendor

Here’s what you should ask your IT Alerting Vendor

Many IT teams start out with a focus on building out monitoring through Nagios, Splunk, BigPanda or one of many other monitoring tools. However, they soon realize that the key to fighting expensive downtime doesn’t start and end with good monitoring. Teams also need a strong IT alerting solution. Fighting expensive downtime also means having the right alerting platform in place from a solid IT alerting vendor.

Yet what questions should one ask of an IT Alerting vendor in order to choose the right platform? To help IT managers, we have developed the following guide. This guide will raise the important questions that managers must ask and issues they must investigate before choosing an IT alerting vendor.

Is the alerting solution reliable?

The first question that an IT manager must raise is the one of reliability. That is, how reliable is the product of the IT alerting vendor? Reliability is defined by how resilient the product is to outages and what constructs have been premeditated to maintain up-time in the case of a disruption?

One way in which the IT alerting vendor can ensure robustness of their engine is by ensuring the product is in the form of a cloud-based SaaS platform. By definition, a cloud-based SaaS platform will not be on-premise and thus won’t go down if there is a power outage. Additionally, a SaaS product will easily provide updates when patches or new functionalities are available.

Another key component required to ensure the reliability of the cloud-based IT alerting platform is through redundant and geographically distinct servers. That is, you want to make sure your vendor stores its data on multiple servers which are spread across distinct geographies.  Redundancy is required as it ensures that if one server is downed by a blackout, a redundant and geographically separate server is at the ready with all the necessary information to continue providing your IT team with critical alerting functionality.

One more important part of reliability that you want to investigate is the recorded uptime of your vendor’s product. If they can guarantee 99% SLA, then you should end the conversation there. Unfortunately, 99% is not enough. With 99% up-time you will still have 72 hours of downtime per year. Downtime is very expensive and can cost up to $7900 per minute. Ideally, you will find a solution that can guarantee at least 99.9% uptime with redundant servers that can switch over to separate servers during any downtime.

Is the solution easy to use?

The next point which managers should focus on is the ease of use of the product. During a crisis or an emergency, a human’s ability to manage complexity decreases. Consequently, you will want to find an IT alerting vendor whose solution is intuitive and easy to use. Also, as on-call engineers are mobile, you want to make sure that the solution is mobile and provides the necessary functionality on a smartphone.

The functionalities you want to see are, for example, having buttons on the application that are clearly marked and have their functionality clearly noted. Is it easy to figure out how to write and send a message to a colleague or do you have to jump through multiple screens? Even worse would be to find out that you cannot even create messages on the application but instead must jump to yet another application or Slack to write messages.

Ideally, the platform you choose will be easy to use and maintain important functionalities close together and make them easily accessible.

Conclusion

Choosing an IT alerting vendor who can provide you with the proper alert management platform requires proper diligence as well as the asking of insightful and pointed questions. However, knowing which questions to ask if half the battle.

To read five more questions you should ask of your IT alerting vendor, download our whitepaper.