Dynamic monitoring must underpin IT infrastructure

It goes without saying that to truly address citizens’ changing needs and expectations, government agencies need to be digital-first, flexible and responsive. That means ensuring a healthy IT infrastructure with maximum uptime, writes Sebastian Krueger.

Downtime doesn’t just affect the employees that work for the government agency; it can also be harmful and inconvenient to the public that relies on its essential services daily.

A high-functioning IT infrastructure protects and supports the work government agencies do every day.

Below are the top three technology areas of concern that government agencies should be monitoring:

  1. Uptime: Everything government agencies do is dependent on having 100 per cent uptime. NSW Police officers must stay connected to their Communication and Security Command Centre, enabling continuous secure access to comprehensive and detailed data. Council cameras must be working to keep the streets safe and the traffic flowing freely. Equipment outages from office computers to vehicle radios to lift systems can be incredibly disruptive and put people at risk.
  2. Security: should be a key concern for every organisation, but those in government agencies are especially aware of the threat of hackers and cyber-criminals. Every agency should have cyber security protection in place, including all regional and local councils, correction facilities, police and other emergency services. Any agencies involved in delivering critical services at a state or federal level, particularly housing, health, education, transport, justice or finance, are attractive targets for cyber attackers trying to disrupt services or steal personal information.
  3. Regulatory compliance: this is a top-level concern for government agencies who are required to prove they’re following procedures and processes and must record security and privacy measures as part of day-to-day operations. There are two essential areas to cover: infrastructure monitoring and network utilisation. Network monitoring can help government agencies keep a vigilant eye on both and keep the IT infrastructure running smoothly.

Dynamic monitoring

When the mandate is to keep the public safe, there’s no time for downtime. Being blindsided by IT infrastructure outages is not only a problem for agency employees but can also be detrimental to public safety. For example, what if a pram falls onto the tracks at a central train station or the traffic lights stop working at a busy intersection during the morning commute, or an inmate escapes from prison? It could be catastrophic if a system outage results in the right people not being immediately notified of a severe incident.

Dynamic infrastructure monitoring can identify system, application and network issues, which is therefore critical. It will allow government agency employees to stay productive and active in their mission to serve the public by preventing any downtime before it occurs.

Infrastructure monitoring helps government agencies maintain network health and safety by keeping a 24/7 watch on every physical and virtual device, application and system running on their network. If any key performance indicators see drastic changes that aren’t consistent with optimal or standard levels, they should be notified of an issue to address. The best strategy is to stay one step ahead of any potential problems.

Maintaining peak network performance

Government agencies must maintain the full power of their network by monitoring network utilisation levels to ensure peak performance. Monitoring their network’s bandwidth goes beyond just looking at internet traffic. Bandwidth speed or capacity, network traffic between devices and general web application traffic must be constantly monitored.

With infrastructure monitoring, government agency IT departments can set traffic and device thresholds to highlight network activity, alerting them when those levels have been reached. This prevents performance bottlenecks and connectivity issues and provides usage trends to monitor which devices are over-utilising bandwidth. It also enables the agency to identify any abnormal traffic levels that could be potential security threats.

Monitoring must be at heart of IT infrastructure

Both internal processes and citizen services depend on an available and high-performance IT infrastructure and network. To guarantee this is fully functioning, IT teams need the appropriate information at their fingertips. Therefore, a monitoring system should be at the heart of all government agencies’ IT infrastructure because this is the most critical asset that enables it to provide digital services to all its citizens, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Today government agencies have ambitious goals, numerous stakeholders and many legal and privacy compliance issues to adhere to. Monitoring government agencies’ IT infrastructure is essential to functioning, citizen-centred government work in 2022 and beyond.

Sebastian Krueger is Vice President for Asia Pacific at Paessler

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