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The Key to a Great Monday; End-to-End Lync Monitoring

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It’s 5pm on Friday and you are ready to head home. You make one last check of the health of the Microsoft Lync environment. It’s all green lights on your dashboard and off you go to enjoy the summer weather.

FrustratedFast forward to Monday morning where you arrive back to work refreshed from a great weekend. You check your dashboards and all systems show those satisfying green lights. As 8am rolls by your mood changes dramatically. Help desk tickets start to flood your inbox alerting you that dozens, hundreds and then thousands of users can’t access Lync from remote locations. You jump into action and start looking for the problem. You log in and Lync is working perfectly. You double check your system and network monitoring tools. Everything shows a green light. You call the network team, they tell you that packets are zooming across the wire just fine on their end. You’re scrambling.

While you are performing your diagnostics and trying to find the root of the problem, the firestorm from above has already begun. Though you don’t show any issues from your system monitoring, you have validated that thousands of employees can’t access Lync, while employees on the corporate network can. Worse, this is causing customers to fail their attempt to “Join Lync Meeting” causing your company to cancel conference calls effectively shutting down the revenue machine. Executives are outraged and pulling your boss into meetings. The entire IT team goes into emergency mode.

After an hour or more into the outage you find out what happened. While you were out enjoying the weekend with your family and friends, a few members of the networking team were hard at work. Late Sunday night they implemented a new networking policy and made several DNS changes to improve security. Unfortunately, one of the changes they made affected the external DNS entry for your Lync system preventing all remote logins to Microsoft Lync from reaching your system.

Sounds like a crazy scenario right? Actually, this was a recent real world incident for a Fortune 500 company. After this incident, and its immense impact on the business, the executives demanded action to reduce the risk of this scale of outage. Realizing that mistakes will happen, they wanted to ensure if or when it did, IT would be the first to know and have the information they need to identify the root cause.

The IT team was familiar with using synthetic transactions to test end to end system availability for other complex environments. IT has used synthetic monitoring for years on high impact customer facing web sites and with systems like Microsoft Exchange to ensure timely mail delivery. Because this was a forward thinking company they were already using synthetic transactions that alert to internal issues that affect end users. After this incident, they quickly they realized that this solution didn’t go far enough because it ran from inside the environment and modifying this approach required a tremendous amount of work to make it a useful solution.

The IT team needed a solution that monitored from outside of their network and tested all points of the system in-between. The team turned to Unify Square PowerMon, a cloud-based end-to-end monitoring solution for Microsoft Lync. With just a few hours of effort, PowerMon was implemented and running end-to-end synthetic tests across the organization’s global environment. Now with the proactive nature of PowerMon simulating user activities they operate with reduced risk of an incident going unnoticed.

PowerMon solves your company’s needs because it doesn’t let issues that occur outside the managed IT environment slip through the cracks. On a regular basis, PowerMon acts like a user and runs through all of the routes into and out of the Lync environment ensuring the system is working properly. This includes testing actual PSTN calls into and out of your system! Across the existing customer base, PowerMon is running over 800,000 tests per month identifying, prioritizing and guiding first responders to rapid fixes. With PowerMon, this company has continually improved end-user availability. Learn more about how Unify Square PowerMon can increase your confidence that Microsoft Lync is actually working for your end users.

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