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The Monitoring Jigsaw

Posted 06/12/16

Get a Complete Picture with all the Pieces.

Jigsaw puzzles begin as a fun team event, especially on a rainy day.  You open the box and spill 1,000 pieces on the table.  You study the final picture. Anticipation builds. Then you get to work.  On-line jigsaw puzzles are similar except it is usually a single individual playing against the clock.

In either scenario starting with a strategy such as completing one recognizable element, or starting from one corner, or isolating by color or shape helps organize the process.  The most common strategy is to build the edge first.  In a group setting, this is the most fun because you can assemble the border quickly and begin to see the picture.  Then it gets harder. When there are many puzzle pieces, it becomes difficult to find the right connections. Progress slows down as the time to solve the puzzle lengthens and frustration sets in because you realize this is going to be a harder undertaking than anticipated.

Monitoring your critical communications environment requires a team and can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, only without the finished picture to use as the guideline.  Instead there are multiple vendor solutions that all look the same.  You think it makes sense to implement solutions that are familiar or well marketed.  In reality, most monitoring solutions only satisfy the edge of the entire communications spectrum and their own side of a given service.  On the trading floor one side could be the PBX element manager, another side the trader voice element manager, the third side the network management system and the fourth side the voice recording element manager.  All services look good, except these element managers aren’t connected by the inner pieces of the puzzle such as the critical services they support, so you end up with only a portion of the spectrum actually being monitored.

An integrated testing and monitoring solution that looks at the services and applications running across the technology components provides the end-to-end active monitoring required to complete the entire communications puzzle.  While the element managers have their place emitting SNMP traps when a process fails within their domain or a threshold has been violated, what they can’t tell you is whether the services are fully operational, or if services or users adhere to policy, or if the audio quality deteriorated during the process.  In order to see the complete picture, you need to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle.  On the trading floor there are many parts to the puzzle, missed by vendors point solutions, that need to be filled in to negate compliance and business risk:

Confirm infrastructure is working in harmony to deliver services.

Validate users to recording policy and to actual recordings for live calls.

Verify end-to-end audio quality from device to device.

Examine retention files for continued compliance to retention rules.

Police user behavior by ensuring assets are being used consistently and in a compliant manner.

Not being able to solve the entire puzzle can lead to frustration and worse, to regulatory and business risk.  To achieve a successful end game consider adopting a puzzle strategy that combines edge monitoring with integrated active monitoring that joins the pieces together to give you the complete picture.

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