Daren Horner has a big job. As the data center operations manager for Avera Health, he supports about 15 data centers across the health care system’s regional market area.
“They’re our eyes and ears when we’re not there or are sleeping at night. We receive notifications from them if there’s trouble,” he says. “We rest easy knowing that her group is monitoring our two facilities and our connections.”
“We rest easy knowing that her group is monitoring our two facilities and our connections.” - Daren Horner
Baldwin, contact center manager for SDN, has a staff of 22 people to staff the Network Surveillance Center (NSC) 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The team provides Remote Network Monitoring services and keeps watch on clients’ network devices and systems.
Baldwin credits Sam Hoffart, who directly supervises the NSC, and the center’s experienced staff for doing top-notch work.
“We’ve been doing this for more than 11 years. One of the biggest pluses is I have very little turnover. The staff is familiar with the companies and who to call,” if they spot possible problems, Baldwin says. “We get to know our customers. We get to know their networks. We get to know their pain points.”
The NSC is in a secure room on SDN’s main campus in west-central Sioux Falls. At any given time, it is staffed by at least two to four people. Staffers monitor a series of TV-sized screens on the wall and PC-sized screens on their desks.
They watch screens to make sure electronic traffic is flowing normally on clients’ networks and to ascertain whether equipment such as routers and switches are operating.
Remote Network Monitoring service also can help a business or organization detect and thwart problems such Distributed Denial Service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attackers attempt to overwhelm and disrupt targets such as websites with malicious electronic traffic.
“We’re really monitoring every aspect of connectivity,” Baldwin says.
When possible problems arise, staffers conduct additional investigation and respond in preplanned ways, depending on the level of service desired by the customer.
The NSC often notifies clients of potential problems before they’re even aware of the issue. Some clients want to know about potential problems immediately. Others prefer to discuss non-emergency concerns during regular business hours.
In addition to monitoring traffic to devices, websites or networks, NSC staffers monitor environmental factors such threatening weather, which can be a precursor to network problems. SDN also provides regular reports to clients to help them manage volumes of data.
The NSC currently serves about 75 of SDN’s customers, including large organizations in fields such as health care, financial services and government,
Increased connectivity is making it easier to do business. But it’s also increasing the potential for problems because the expanding number of entry points to networks is expanding. With more devices in play, the potential for mechanical breakdowns also is significant.
In addition to large organizations, Remote Network Monitoring is likely to be attractive to small businesses that aren’t staffed around the clock as well as companies with computing networks critical to their success or failure. A secure web portal provides clients direct access to the NSC so that they can check on the health of their network at any time from any web browser.
Most importantly, Remote Network Monitoring service allows clients to worry less about their networks so that they can focus on what makes their business successful.