Workstation Monitoring, How interesting is it?
Dam it, workstation monitoring is very interesting.
At the heart of the Bytesafe agreement is the monitoring of the server and the workstation. Monitoring just isn’t that sexy, although I have tried my best to explain the fantastic benefits over the years.
I would even go as far to say that some of the monitoring checks could even be described as over the top. I have even heard some people say that they don’t think that monitoring on a workstation to be that useful.
Interesting will depend on your viewpoint but useful they certainly are.
We called an amazed customer this week, explaining that one of the checks had failed and it was the predictive disk failure.
“Just check your backups and we will replace the disk before it goes.”
I can’t tell you how much time and inconvenience has saved for that very busy business man.
I can tell you straight, we do not use a stethoscope on a computer. But we are making workstation monitoring checks every 30 minutes all the time the computers are turned on.
First thing in the morning there are also daily safety checks. These are like a “snapshot” in time of the health of the workstation. These in turn automatically form a workstation report that you can get sent to you weekly.
So are workstation monitoring checks really necessary?
Most viruses enter into the network via a workstation. That means if you are not monitoring what is going on, then you will not know what has hit you.
Monitoring checks are about predicting and informing you about a hardware of software failure – so you can do something about it on your schedule rather than fire fighting.
Last week we created a script for a workstation to check for the presence of Quicktime. If Quicktime is present it removed it and replaced it with the K-Lite codecs. That check alone could save an entire network in the future.
So much of our work is just that, preventative checks on workstations to prevent problems even happening.
Daniel, one of my techs called a customer this week to tell him that his machine had just filled up his disk and it had failed a check. That would render the computer useless and it would appear to have happened randomly. The symptoms would have been that the machine would close down and then on restarting, the laptop would work normally until it would again shut-down.
This man is a business owner who is on the road and brings in an astonishing amount of business for his company. The last thing he needs is a useless laptop getting in his way.
We solved the issue by removing some files and the drama was over.
My favourite top 10 workstation checks (In order of usefulness)
- Predictive disk failure
- Disk space check
- Virus or malware check
- Critical events check
- Vulnerability check
- Windows service DHCP client check
- Windows service Task Scheduler check
- Windows service Security Center check
- Windows service Windows update check
- Windows service BITS check
(We both know that the “Security Center” should be called the “Security Centre” and the “Network Neighborhood” should be called the “Network Neighbourhood” – but that’s Microsoft for you)
Apart from saving a customer from a potential disaster which is why the predictive disk failure check is my favourite all of the other save my customers time. They also save me time because when I match them with some computer behaviour they make the fixes so much easier. In some cases the troubleshooting could take hours instead of just minutes.
One of my customers has requested a report on the load of a server over a period of time. From that report we will be able to see where the bottlenecks are. It’s a science thing so it helps with decisions as to whether to replace the server or not. Depending on the success or otherwise of the process I am considering making standard practice to report on this every six months.