Monitoring Behind the Firewall

An intranet, or a private network, is something most organizations rely on everyday to run their businesses. Accessible only to staff members, the network is shielded from external internet access and acts as an essential hub for communication, collaboration, and more.  But how can you understand when and why websites, applications, and APIs that are internally facing are not available or performing as expected?

Internal monitoring is vital to understanding how the internal resources you rely on are operating on a consistent basis.  

Why Does Monitoring Internally Facing Assets Matter?

Often, the tools we rely on most, although unexposed to the public world, are the tools that are forgotten when we craft monitoring strategies. In the customer-first era, we place a lot of emphasis on making sure everything is working fantasitcally for our customers, partners, and new users. It is essential to recognize that in order to better serve our customers and external stakeholders, we have to make sure we are supporting internal stakeholders, whether it is monitoring an API call that internal users rely on, or monitoring an internally facing website's performance and availability. 

To better support external stakeholders, you have to monitor internally. 

How Can You Monitor Internally?

Monitoring your internal network can be done through a variety of methods, the most common being server monitoring and proactive monitoring. 

Server Monitoring

Server Monitoring helps gauge a server's system resources like CPU Usage, Memory Consumption, I/O, Network, Disk Usage, Process etc. so you can improve capacity planning and provide a better end-user experience. Typically, most organizations will have a server monitoring plan in place, and often this is one of the first internal monitoring moves a company will make. However, server monitoring alone cannot give you full visibility into the state of your applications. Pairing server monitoring with proactive monitoring can be a great way to get a better understanding of the full picture.

Proactive Monitoring

Synthetic monitoring, also referred to as proactive monitoring, takes an active approach to monitoring digital assets by simulating a user interacting with your application, website, API, and more. Synthetic monitoring tools emulate real users by carrying out key actions or transactions that your application, website, API, web service, etc. would execute. Rather than monitoring real user interactions, synthetic monitoring offers organizations a way to monitor what a user would encounter in reality, so that any issues or performance deviations can be caught and fixed before a real user experiences the problem.

What Can You Monitor with Proactive Monitoring Tools?

Websites, applications, APIs, and more! Internal Monitoring in essence should have the same capabilities as external monitoring options. With AlertSite you can use our PrivateNode tools to: 

  • Monitor internal applications – CRM, ERP systems, intranet portals and others – that are not accessible from the public Internet.
  • Monitor public websites and APIs from inside the firewall – as experienced by your internal users.
  • Compare response times from inside and outside the firewall to troubleshoot performance problems.
  • Monitor critical applications from multiple regional offices.
  • Monitor on-premise applications at customer sites.
  • Add custom monitoring locations in addition to the 80+ locations provided by AlertSite.

Monitor Behind the Firewall with AlertSite

What Type of Data and Insights Can You Get By Monitoring Internally?

Depending on the monitoring tool that you choose, you shoulg have access to the same metrics for internal resouces as you would if you were monitoring externally. For example, good synthetic monitoring tools are able to give you insight into the availability, performance, and correctness of your digital assets. So if you were monitoring an internally facing website, at minimum you would be able to monitor the page load time, response time metrics, payload, and object data.  With AlertSite, you can go beyond these metrics to better analyze object level details, root-cause metrics, Apdex baselines, business benchmarks, and more. AlertSite helps visualize the data so you can instantly draw conclusions from your data, like our run scatterplots, graphics, waterfall analytics as well as screen capture upon error.

Moving Forward

Understanding what internal tools you depend on and formulating a strategy to monitor the key user journeys that matter can help you improve your performance internally in the short run and externally in the long run. Whether its ensuring your intranet portals are up and running, making sure custom applications are functioning properly, or optimizing the web applications that support buisness functionality, monitoring these tools 24x7 can help you streamline efficiency in your organization. Craft a strategy that captures the use cases that matter to internal stakeholders.

How Can You Get Started With Proactive Montioring?

Select a tool that gives you flexibility and comprehensive analysis of your internal assets. AlertSite offers four different ways to monitor internally:

  1. PrivateNode VM - delivered as a preconfigured virtual machine image for rapid deployment. Once registered in AlertSite, it appears as a new location in your global locations list, and you can begin using it in your monitors. 
  2. PrivateNode Cloud - internal monitoring location running on your private cloud network set up on public cloud infrastructure, such as AWS and Azure.
  3. PrivateNode Hardware -  monitoring server that offers the capabilities of our cloud monitoring solution, delivered straight to your door, installed wherever you determine is the most appropriate location for your organization. 
  4. PrivateNode Endpoint - our most lightweight, flexible monitoring option, PrivateNode Endpoint can be deployed almost anywhere (even a raspberry pi!). Deployed onto a desktop that supports Windows, MacOS, or Linux, PrivateNode EndPoint can be used to monitor on a schedule, as is done from the platform, or it can be used to diagnose performance, availability, or functionality issues faced by remote employees. 

AlertSite can help you reinvigorate your internal monitoring strategy.

Additional Resources