The Benefits of Cloud-based Server Monitoring

There has been a lot said about the cloud and its advantages. Cloud-based server monitoring has been the latest solution to make this transition, but what advantages does it offer? Not being one to shirk a task, we threw down some magic beans and hopped up the resulting beanstalk to poke around the cloud and see how this solution stacks up and what it can offer to busy system administrators to make it worth their while.

Cost

One element that has contributed greatly to the cloud’s popularity is the low start-up costs and the predictable, subscription-based pricing models for IT system administrators looking to do more on a small budget. Cloud-based solutions require no software or hardware changes to your network infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about capital expenditure costs taking a bite out of your budget.

The low entry cost of cloud-based server monitoring solutions thus provides you with a fast ROI – which is great news for IT departments struggling with budgetary constraints.

Fast Deployment

Cloud-based network monitoring solutions only require the deployment of an agent to the servers and workstations they need to monitor, which means they can be set up in minutes, greatly facilitating their installation on all devices, including remote PCs. System administrators have an easier task as there is no hardware to source, no applications to install, and no firewall ports to open.

Maintenance is simplified as updates and upgrades are automatically deployed by the host, leaving administrators free to concentrate on getting the value out of the system, not keeping it up to date and running and removing any issues that may arise from incompatibility, dependencies or conflicts.

Device and location independence

While many server monitoring solutions can alert you to critical events through email or text message so that you know what is going on, cloud based server monitoring solutions also enable you to log in to a management console through a web browser to see what is going on without the need to connect back into the office network.

Not only does this give you the ability to stay in touch with your network easily while you are out of the office, it also allows you to be proactive and deal with issues rapidly. In turn, this faster reaction time allows you to reduce system downtime and increases your organization’s productivity.

Simplicity

Cloud-based server monitoring solutions bring increased simplicity to the process of keeping your network healthy. While most monitoring solutions can offer pre-configured checks for the most common aspects of Windows servers, as well as easy-to-use interfaces, cloud-based solutions go one step further. They are designed to be implemented and managed by less experienced IT administrators, allowing you to redeploy senior staff with expensive skill sets to more productive tasks.

If you are looking to optimize your network, cloud-based server and network monitoring solutions offer you several advantages. Cost savings, rapid deployments, device and location independence and simplicity makes it easy to understand why cloud-based server monitoring is rapidly gaining ground. In fact, we like it so much at the top of this beanstalk, we think we’ll stay in the cloud a little while longer.

This guest post was provided by Jeff Smith on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on how you can benefit from cloud-based server monitoring.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Voting Machines Auto-Selecting Obama; Calibration issue or are they Hacked?

Numerous reports are surfacing about touch screen voting machines automatically selecting Obama, even when Mitt Romney was chosen. Even when Mitt was repeatedly pressed, the system selected Obama. Is this a touchscreen calibration issue, or could the machines have been hacked?

According to Foxnews one voter had to press Romney three times before it would take:

She said that the first time she pushed “Romney,” the machine marked “Obama.” So she pushed Romney again. Obama came up again. Then it happened a third time. “Maybe you make a mistake once, but not three times,” she told Fox News.

It could be a calibration issue, “This phenomenon can occur when a machine goes out of calibration. The need to re-calibrate frequently is an important reason for discarding these aging, unreliable, and inaccurate machines and replacing them with paper ballots,” said Barbara Simons a member of the US Election Board of Advisors.

And according to reports, in one location a machine that was suspect was taken out of service and recalibrated. But with reports coming in from several states, concerning numerous machines, could something else be going on?

A year ago the Vulnerability Asset Team of Argonne National Lab showed that some of the touchscreen voting devices could be hacked very easily. According to a CNNMoney report, on one model all it would take would be physical access to the system, a paper clip, and about $20 worth of electronics. And in under a minute they could have remote access to the device with the ability to change someone’s vote.

When I touch the touchscreen, that is going to send a signal to the CPU“, says Jon Warner of Argonne Laboratory in the video above. “Well, the CPU is going to respond back with something. And all I did was intercept that communication flow. If I like the vote, fine, let it go through. If I don’t, I change it.”

Many of these machines have the ability to dump a printed copy of who was voted for, but shockingly some do not, and there is no way to physically validate the votes.

Calibration issue or not, this is going to be a very close election and it does not bode well that there are already issues with the voting systems.