Tips for ensuring your alarm management system is working for you


Software alarms are a key part of an effective network management and service assurance, helping to safeguard that faults and performance issues are addressed as quickly as possible.

However, the environment for IT and telecommunications alarm management has rapidly evolved over the last years, generating many new challenges that could disrupt the operations of an unwary business.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for ensuring your alarm management systems are working for, rather than against your firm, and delivering the best possible outcome.

 

Not every alarm is critical

In the past, software alarms were utilised to inform operators that there was something amiss, and guarantee that correct resolution activity was undertaken as rapidly as possible. When used properly, these alarms were able to allow operators to fix problems before they even had the opportunity to impact the experience of users.

However, modern networks are so complex that it is simply not possible for human operators to act on every alarm that is triggered throughout a system.

Besides, many networks today have automations built-in to guarantee that they are robust enough to continue operating even with a number of faults or potential issues that might have completely derailed a less complex and robust system.

It is truly important to come to terms with the fact that not every single software alarm is essential. However, by identifying the critical ones and prioritising these ahead of unnecessary alarms, you can guarantee that your network continues to operate at full functionality without affecting your productivity.

 

Alarm patterns

While it is not possible to predict the future with accuracy, those who neglect history are doomed to repeat it. While some faults might be unexpected, one-off events, others will happen several times over a given period of time. By analysing the distribution of your previous alarms as well as the outcomes of those incidents, you can actually identify which outages require more attention ahead of time.

When studying past alarm patterns, it is best to focus on certain metrics – the average time required by an operator to resolve a problem, the probability that the fault in question will have a negative outcome for your company, and the likelihood of the issue to resolve itself if left without human intervention.

By weighing up these factors, you can assign ratings to recurrently occurring alarms to let operators be aware of which ones they should focus on and which ones they should ignore.

 

Benchmarking

Once you have started assessing past incidents, and used this data to determine which faults are happening more often than others, you can utilise this information to benchmark your network performance against your industry standards and compliance guidelines.

From here, you can establish deficiencies and strengths in both your alarm system and your network. If your network is actually performing in line with industry standards, while your alarm system is throwing up more issues than it really should, then this suggests you should rethink your approach.

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