Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Would you believe...

Written by David Ianetta

One of my favorite shows growing up was "Get Smart" with Don Adams. That show was famous for reoccurring gag lines like, "Missed it by that much!" and my favorite, "would you believe..."

When ever Maxwell Smart was telling a cover story and could see by the look on someone's face they were not "buying what he was selling" he would keep diminishing the fabricated story until he eventually gave up.

Each new version of the story reduced his credibility with whomever he was speaking with.

Recently I had an issue with my car, I was told that the car was tested and that the problem was my starter. I brought the car home, knowing I needed to bring it back in a few days while they waited to get the part in.

However, knowing something about how engines work and the symptoms I was having, I didn't think it was the starter. I thought it was more like the alternator or battery.

So when I brought the car back, I told them my concerns and they "tested again" only to find that the starter was fine. It was the alternator. This time they brought me into the garage and showed me the test results. The mechanic explained that last time he was simply wrong.

Honest mistake.

As I sat and waited all day for my car to be fixed, I could not shake the feeling that if he was wrong once, he could be wrong again. 

His haste to make a diagnosis lead to my doubting his new conclusion.

Our customers can feel the same way. I've often come into a situation where they needed a fix, immediately, and the temptation was high to rush into what I thought was a solution. Sometimes I got lucky, other times I did not.

And when we are in a rush, we make mistakes, honest mistakes, but the results are the same.

The solution? 

Slow down and gather enough information to know for sure what the issue is, and more importantly test to make sure that the issue has been resolved.

Take the time to fully investigate any issue you have. Use the tools at hand to see if the facts support your conclusion.

For example, if a Server is acting up, use your Monitoring report to look at how the resources are acting at the times of the issue. Cross examine this with event log checks or other failed checks.

Failed checks are not annoyances to be quickly dismissed, but often clues to a bigger issue at hand.

They can contain a wealth of information that can aide our diagnosis of an issue. Just recently I was discussing a failed login check during a Tech Walk training session. A closer look at the thousands of failed logins, (on a server) showed an alphabetized list of names that attempted access and failed.

It was an honest mistake for the MSP not to have paid attention to that one failing check, but taking the time to simple look showed that check was doing it's job, pointing to an obvious hacker trail.

Sometimes a customer simply wants you to harden their network.  Rather than just jumping right to the tasks, take before and after "snap shots" of the Servers and workstations.

For example you can run a Patch Management report before you begin getting them up to date, and then after to show no more missing patches. Or use the vulnerability checks as a guide. The Risk Intelligence data breach scan can take a great snapshot of Patches as well as vulnerable data and open ports. Or use an automated task to list the running services, shutting down any security risks.

This can be a new way of thinking especially for those of you who have moved from a break fix model to Managed Services. Managed services is about building and keeping credibility.

And this leads to my final point. Know what your RMM tool can do for you.

As a Sales Engineer I am always amazed to see how even long time customers are not aware of all the Dashboard can do for them, or of the new features added.

As always, we are here to provide you with a personal, one on one tech walk to train you on your Dashboard, if you haven't had one recently, it's time to contact your sales rep and get one scheduled. They are free and always time well spent.

In fact, if you have ever benefited from one of our Tech Walk training sessions, please take a moment to comment below!

Thanks, and have an awesome Holiday Season!