7 Best Practices for Cloud Monitoring
Why is cloud monitoring important?
A cloud monitoring solution gives you a bird’s eye view of your network. This is sometimes times referred to as observability or topographical visibility. Having this global view of your network traffic and activity gives you an edge on mean time to resolution (MTTR). Simply because, if you can see it… you can fix it. Cloud monitoring makes it easier to see big picture health and also to quickly hone in on the root cause of a problem.
Troubleshooting faster is essential – according to research by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), NetOps only detect 61% of network problems before an end-user complains. That’s not great.
Cloud monitoring enables NetOps to shave down their MTTR through tools that enhance their response strategy with automated alerting and predictive analytics.
What can I expect cloud monitoring to do?
There are many different types of cloud monitoring. Cloud monitoring products can sometimes be siloed into services like:
- cloud storage monitoring
- website monitoring
- database monitoring
- virtual machine monitoring
Ideally, you can find a unified solution that can monitor and provide actionable insights on resources, websites, applications, data centers, and processes.
Pro Tip: Because most businesses looking into cloud monitoring aren’t starting from scratch, make sure your cloud monitoring platform can integrate the existing metrics collected on legacy systems into cloud data types. This is usually done through an API connection.
7 Best Practices in Cloud Monitoring
1 – Set Goals
Establish what your monitoring goals are and what your response strategy will be.
A monitoring strategy needs to answer the question, what exactly do I want to monitor, and in what priority?
- If that answer is performance, you’ll need visibility into latency, jitter, memory usage, and user capacity.
- If that answer is reliability, you’ll need metrics on uptime and downtime, error rates, MTTR, and the frequency of failures across the network.
- If that answer is security, you’ll need threat detection monitoring to spot irregular traffic patterns and see through encryption for latent malware.
You need a response strategy with a predetermined point of contact(s) that will receive alerts when there is a problem. Set up a chain of command if those individuals do not respond within a certain time window.
2 – Find a Unified Cloud Monitoring Solution
Find a platform that pulls all the different data metrics into one dashboard. Make sure your on-premise equipment is integrated into the new cloud environment so you can gather data on it. Your cloud monitoring platform should have the ability to integrate existing infrastructure metrics along with your cloud-based components using an API, whether it’s SNMP, Packet, or Flow, the more data, the merrier.
3 – Baselining & Capacity Planning
Baselining and Capacity planning go hand in hand. Baselining gives you a control point to compare against and capacity planning is the act of adjusting provisioning to maintain the healthy baseline equilibrium.
Baseline your current application performance once migrating to cloud VMs. If you don’t have a reference point for comparison, you can’t know when conditions are deteriorating or when capacity upgrades become necessary.
Baseline data typically includes connectivity, normal bandwidth usage, protocols, peak utilization, and average throughput. Your cloud monitoring provider may include this service in their platform, or you may opt to use a third party. LiveAction offers a demo of baselining to make sure you’re comfortable with the process.
Once the baseline is set, you can run multiple out-of-the-box capacity planning reports to keep the network from being under-provisioned.
4 – Housekeeping – Who has the keys?
Keep a running spreadsheet of which users have access to the cloud monitoring system. Use the principle of least privilege (POLP) in assigning role-based access to the monitoring system. POLP is a philosophy that users should only have access to what is necessary for them to perform their job. This will reduce the risk of accidents.
You have to trust each person you give access to you will use best practices creating unique strong passwords, not using the public internet, etc., and that’s a big ask when company assets are at stake. The more people with access to business critical functions, the more vulnerable those functions are.
5– Hackers abound…don’t forget threat detection
The massive shift to remote work over the last two years has had a steep cost to enterprises regarding data breaches. The cost of a data breach where remote work was involved was over $1 million higher (IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021). You need a Cloud monitoring solution that not only has the telemetry to reveal remote sites but the intelligence to see through encrypted traffic where malware could be hiding.
6 – Walk a mile in an end user’s shoes
It doesn’t matter how great you think your cloud monitoring solution is if that is not the end user’s experience. You need a way to monitor your end-user’s experience. Does your cloud monitoring platform allow you to playback the choppy VoIP call that lost the deal? Can you see the IP address or the packet details of exactly what happened and when?
Finding a solution that includes historical reporting and playback technology saves NetOps hours trying to recreate scenarios with countless possible factors to control. The less friction you can create in the user experience, the more successful your business will be.
7- Use a Device Management Service (DMS)
Any mid or large-scale company cannot efficiently manage network devices on a 1:1 basis. A centralized device management portal allows for synchronized global changes across network devices without manually addressing each device ad-hoc. Although sometimes sold as a third-party offering, a robust cloud monitoring solution typically includes a DMS console for complete observability and management.
To save you time, we’ve condensed our best practices into a checklist for your exploration in the Cloud Monitoring wilderness.
Your Pocket Checklist To Considering Tools for Monitoring Network Performance
Ask your vendor if their solution can…
- Monitor on-prem and cloud environments?
- Unite various reporting data into one dashboard?
- Deliver targeted alerting?
- Offers custom reporting?
- Integrate with your network hardware provider?
- Scan encrypted traffic for safety without needing to decrypt?
- Extend visibility to remote sites?
- Detect threats?
LiveAction Cloud Monitoring visually ties application paths from the on-prem network to the cloud and back so users can clearly identify per-hop application behavior from an end-to-end perspective. Paired with our proprietary encryption scanning, network blindness can end today. Experience a demo of our cloud monitoring solution.