Technology Decision Makers

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A group for those in nonprofit IT decision-making roles to connect with peers and share best practices. This Technology Decision Makers group is for nonprofit IT or MIS Directors/Managers as well as CIOs and CTOs to connect with their peers and share best practices. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: hardware and software management, product reviews, emerging technology, best practices, collaborating effectively with other departments, and management conundrums. Membership is restricted to IT staff at nonprofit organizations.

Monitoring and Asset Management

  • 1.  Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 15, 2018 11:03
    Any recommendations for monitoring and asset management tools? I've been looking at Spiceworks, but it's free which gives me concern (as most products that are free).






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    Julius Rainey Jr
    Director of Information Technology
    Parents for Public Schools, National Office
    Jackson, MS
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 15, 2018 11:53

    I've used Spiceworks for a couple years and it works. I really appreciate the community for questions and IT help. I've had some technical issues with setting Spiceworks up with agents and firewalls, and such, so that can be difficult, but the community is quick to suggest things when I ran into trouble. I tried their Network Monitoring tool as well, and it is ok, not great.

     

    I don't like how it doesn't have an unattended remote access tool, so when I get a workstation ticket, I can't just remote in and deal with it. I've looked at a lot of RMM tools and MSPs recently for our organization since I'm overworked and don't have a tech to pass things off to. I think we're going to go with Goverlan for that given the pricepoint (unlimited internal endpoints instead of a price per endpoint), and then continue using Spiceworks for ticketing and inventory of non-AD items. Goverlan ends up being about 1/4 - 1/3 the price given our network size than its competitors for us. Goverlan doesn't automatically do all the reporting and monitoring though and that's a downside.

     

    I'm happy to talk more about our experiences with Spiceworks or my recent searches if you want.

     

    Michael

     

     

    Michael Hofrichter, Esq. | Director of Compliance and Operations | Staff Attorney

    Houston Volunteer Lawyers  | 1111 Bagby, Suite FLB 300 | Houston, Texas 77002 | 713.275.0147

     

    www.MakeJusticeHappen.org

     

     




    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 18, 2018 08:23

    Hi Julius,

    Our organization uses Naverisk but unfortunately I don't really know much of the details. I believe the team is fairly happy with it. When we started using it (maybe about 4 years ago) there was the option to either purchase an on-prem version or cloud hosted version. From what I understand it has quite a bit of functionality available.

     

    If you'd like more details let me know and I can either find some answers for you or connect you with someone else here who's better positioned.

     

    Thanks,

    Martin

     

     


    Martin Hansen
    Team Lead, Web Services
    519.725.7875 x2120 | 888.817.3048


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    PeaceWorks™ Technology Solutions
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    Waterloo ON  N2L 5Z4
    www.peaceworks.ca

     

    Mission driven technology solutions

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  • 4.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 18, 2018 11:46

    Julius,
    We also use Spiceworks. It is full featured. The reason it is free is that it is advertising sponsored. I would not consider this to be a hindrance, and I don't consider it a low end program. However, the real benefit from it will only come if you spend the time to learn the monitoring capabilities in detail. We use it primarily for helpdesk ticketing and inventory as it does those well and easily. Our managed service provider uses n-able to monitor the network separately.



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    Richard Wollenberger
    Director, Information Technology & HIPAA Compliance and Security Officer
    Parents as Teachers
    St. Louis MO
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 19, 2018 11:51
    I too use Spiceworks mainly for inventory but it also monitors conditions such as disk space on the servers and toner levels in the printers. It's nice to get an email about these things before they become an issue.

    I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Regards,

    Laura

    Laura Leche Bailey | Director of IT and Facilities

    Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
    1331 H Street, NW | Suite 350  

    Washington, DC 20005 | www.LegalAidDC.org
    P: (202) 386-6684 | F: (202) 727-2132 


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  • 6.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 19, 2018 15:32
    We've tried just about everything but are predominantly using LANSweeper and Kaseya currently. Neither is particularly expensive, especially with a non-profit discount. Lansweeper gives a good searchable asset database, while Kaseya offers some really nice endpoint management tools for deploying and tracking patches, software deployments, and running various scripts to log people off, restart machines on a schedule, etc. Kaseya will also let you build monitoring sets on things like DHCP servers, DNS servers, print servers, etc., that will specifically watch the matching services and try to restart them if they go stop. Depending on your preferences, Kaseya can be cloud hosted, which makes managing off-domain computers, like laptops or telecommuter stations much easier since they don't need LAN access. The remote access tool in Kaseya also makes supporting those remote users easier. Kaseya also has integrations with ITGlue, Webroot, MalWareBytes, Kaspersky and some others if you have interest in managing any of those with the same tool.

    Personally, my favorite part of LANSweeper is being able to search for a user's name and have it tell me which computers that person uses. It can be oddly challenging to quickly find that information when you have hundreds of endpoints and management tools that focus on the asset name rather than user names.

    ManageEngine's tools are a little more expensive but they have specialized tools for monitoring and managing particular things like AD, Exchange, network gear, etc.If you are most concerned about one of those particular parts of your organization, they are worth a look.

    For a high-end tool, PRTG is really powerful but it is more expensive and has a high learning curve. If you have one or more full time network engineers, they probably can get a solid ROI on it but not so much if you are a small shop. If I was building and staffing my dream NOC, I'd probably go with PRTG.

    If you just want quick scans of network gear, UVExplorer is a nice tool. It's not expensive and can quickly tell you what endpoints are plugged into which ports on which switches. I've had some projects, like moving printers to a different VLAN, where that tool was worth its relatively low purchase price just to quickly and easily find those ports or even identify critical trunks on poorly documented switches so we can make them a little less poorly documented.

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    Jeff Nash
    Sr. Director of IT
    United Way of Greater Houston

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    Tech Accelerate


  • 7.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 19, 2018 17:48
    For the organization's using Spiceworks, do you have it installed on the on-premise server or are you taking the cloud based option.

    Honestly, I'm debating on retiring our on premise serve as the size of staff has decreased plus we are only using it as file server and using it for active directory.

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    Julius Rainey Jr
    Information Technology Director
    Parents for Public Schools, National Office
    Jackson, MS
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 8.  RE: Monitoring and Asset Management

    Posted Jun 28, 2018 17:32
    Hi Julius,

    Here's a link to a website we used to evaluate different RMMs: https://rmm-survey-2018.netlify.com/

    I work for Geek Girl Tech (and volunteer for a non-profit!) but we do security and IT solutions (and are an MSP), we'd be happy to chat for a few minutes about what you're looking for. Maybe we can help. You can schedule a call on our website, geekgirltech.com

    Best,
    Loren

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    Loren Diesi
    Business Development Associate
    Asante Africa Foundation
    ldiesi@asanteafrica.org
    CA
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    Tech Accelerate