Fight Alert Fatigue

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How to Win the Alert Fatigue Battle IT engineers and DevOps teams cannot help but experience alert fatigue when they receive after-hour alerts lacking context or relevance. Messages come in, for example, telling the engineer on-call that disk space is used up. Does this mean 60% used up or 100% used up? Or an after-hours message might come in alerting to a downed server. Which server? Did the back-up server come on-line as a result? The remedy then is to implement an IT alerting system that differentiates high priority alerts and allows for messaging with attachments. Lack of context can cause significant frustration among engineers as well as alert fatigue. Impact of Alert fatigue Companies shouldn’t downplay the impact of alert fatigue. There are also significant financial implications for companies if they have stressed out, unhappy, sleep deprived engineers. For example, engineers who are feeling the stress of alert fatigue are […] Read more »

7 steps to creating an actionable IT on-call schedule

How to make sure IT on-call works for you I spent a bit of time on Reddit the other day and thought it interesting just how many posts were focused on IT on-call and on-call scheduling. Some posts were rants on horrible customers – who hasn’t had some of those? Some actually wrote about positive interactions from being on-call – those were rare posts. But many engineers in DevOps and IT posted on their trepidation about being on-call. They wondered: What is the best way for my team to create an IT on-call schedule? How do I ensure I wake up if I am alerted? Should my growing on-call team use an on-call cell phone and hand it off between rotations? How do I manage being on-call and then having to show up at 8 a.m. the next morning? Is it reasonable to expect on-call duty 24/7? The answers to […] Read more »

Critical Alerting Is the New Black

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WHY CRITICAL ALERTING IS A MUST HAVE FOR INCIDENT RESPONSE TO BE EFFECTIVE At OnPage, we spend lots of time thinking about how to apprise people about the importance of critical IT alerting. So when our CEO Judit Sharon emailed me about an upcoming webinar from HIMSS entitled: Incident Response is the New Black – A Must Have For Your Security Strategy, I was intrigued. I wanted to know how the speaker would entertain alerting in incident response. As it turned out, while the webinar was fascinating, the discussion focused on response dictionaries and procedures and did not mention critical alerting at all. I was left wondering, why would an organization focus solely on incident response to save their IT? How can an organization have an effective incident response platform without a critical alerting platform? In the vein of fashion, wouldn’t the scenario be like having pants but forgetting to button […] Read more »

Seven reasons why we need pager alternatives in healthcare

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Pitch the pager or face the consequences While smartphones have become the manner of communication for most professionals, pagers are still used in many professions as the standard mode of communication. This choice for pagers comes with significant consequences and indeed many suggest the need for finding pager alternatives in healthcare. For example, pagers are not a secure method for communicating as pager messages are unencrypted. They leak information. Pager communications can also be hijacked. What is surprising is that while pagers have many significant reliability issues associated with them, many doctor and healthcare organizations continue to use them rather than seek a pager alternative. Stickiness While the overall popularity of pagers has been in decline over the past several years (see Google trends graph), pagers still maintain stickiness in the healthcare industry. In part this reason is historical as pagers have been used to alert doctors since the 1950s and […] Read more »

OnPage Integration with Microsoft Outlook Email

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How to play by the rules Email integration has been our bread and butter since we started the company in 2011. As such, we think it important to explain how using the powerful, dependable and reliable logic inherent in Microsoft Office’s email platform, allows you to  easily set up a framework to get notified in OnPage in case of an alert. First rules first According to a 2015 report, Microsoft Office 365 products are used by 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 companies. That’s a huge number of companies using Outlook. So with every monitoring system on the planet having the ability to send email, your ability to send emails to your Outlook account is ensured. Assume you are an Ops engineer tasked with monitoring your company’s servers. You want to know when a server is experiencing an error. Do you want to sit around and wait and watch? Of course […] Read more »

ChatOps – Secret to great incident management in DevOps teams of 20 or 2000

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Chat your way to excellence DevOps is constantly trying to improve production through automation, collaboration and tools. ChatOps is often the paradigm which brings these tasks together into a single conversation. In ChatOps, “chat applications and tools for real-time communication and task execution [are distributed] among members of development and IT operations teams”.   Yet often times the proponents of ChatOps don’t pay sufficient attention to the incident management component part of the operation, preferring instead to look at the bots and chat room tools. However, as James Fryman noted in his talk on ChatOps: Technology and Philosophy at Geekdom San Francisco “the shared context [of chat rooms] allows everybody to see and collaborate around things that happen. This is super amazing [for] the incident management space.” Specifically, though, when high priority or critical alerts occur, notifications need to be used to broadcast the incident beyond the chat room and ensure the conversations […] Read more »

OnPage ensures compatibility with Android 7.0

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Maintaining its customer and technology focus OnPage, the leader in incident alerting and management for IT, healthcare and IOT, released the updated version of its application to ensure compatibility with Google’s Android 7.0 N operating system. Affectionately known as Nougat, Android’s newest operating system was only around for a few weeks before the OnPage update was made. Support engineer Alex Berkson indicated that creating the update was important for ensuring that OnPage users using OS N can receive critical notifications without interruptions. The OnPage update continues to support the capabilities the app has historically demonstrated such as: Secure alerting: All messaging is encrypted Persistent messaging for up to 8 hours: Also known as alert until read, alerts will continue for up to 8 hours before expiring Split Screen on Samsung devices Real time communication: Instantaneous messaging with individuals or team members Forwarding: Send messages to your team members to bring […] Read more »

Bringing Dev and Ops together with on-call groups

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Make Dev and Ops better together by building empathy with on-call groups   Create Effective Schedules Much has been written on the tension that often exists between Dev and Ops teams in an organization. All too frequently, Devs are focused on rapid prototyping and creating code while Ops are focused on keeping the ship stable and making as few changes as possible. When I was at the DevOps Boston Conference last week, much of the “hallway conference” was devoted to conversations on how to build empathy between these frenemies and make them exist in less opposition to one another. How can Dev and Ops become less siloed? How can management encourage cross pollination? One important psychological realization was that in order to create empathy between these two groups and ensure an effective group dynamic, the teams need to spend more time living in one another’s shoes. One strong and significant step that can […] Read more »

50 Ways to leave your pager: Why it’s time to think pager replacement.

Why is it time to think about pager replacement? Perhaps the need for finding a pager alternative is clear to many realize the inefficency and time waste caused by using the device. These facts are highlighted in an article from 2014 entitled Why Are Hospitals Still Using Pagers?, Cliff McClintick writes “If you read the marketing copy of nearly any large hospital or health system, you’ll see references to “state-of-the art equipment” and “cutting-edge technology…. [C]onsumers have a right to expect the claim to be true. But if they or their family members experience delays in care because a doctor hasn’t returned a page, their faith may be shaken.” Moreover, the beep on a pager doesn’t rise above the constant alarms and sounds of other machines in hospitals or data centers. And often pager holders can sleep through their alarms. At OnPage, we have thought long and hard about how […] Read more »

Leading Global Air-Transport Company Chooses OnPage

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Onset Technology, creator of OnPage Priority Messaging®, announced today that one of the world’s largest helicopter and air-transport service companies has chosen OnPage to help prioritize time-sensitive messaging within the organization. For over 70 years, the rotary and fixed-wing aviation company has been serving international clients with offshore transport, search and rescue, and emergency medical services. Judit Sharon, CEO of Onset Technology said, “We are pleased to have this air-transport leader entrust their time-sensitive communications to OnPage. They tested OnPage and found it to be a bullet-proof solution for their high-priority messaging needs. Speed, reliability, and efficiency can make the difference in critical situations. We are proud to be their solution of choice.” An International air-transport service At any given moment in time, the company’s fleet of aircraft are transporting men and women to the world’s offshore oil rigs and vessels, airlifting injured people to safety, and transferring critically ill […] Read more »

Family Celebrates Century Of Volunteer Firefighting

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“When the pagers go off, it’s like stereophonic sound.” That’s what Mom says about her family of three boys and their Dad — all volunteer firefighters. Volunteer firefighting is a tradition in this Mayer, Minnesota family. Combined, the family has served over 100 years putting out fires, protecting property, and saving lives. Rod Maetzold (Dad), is Mayer’s fire chief. The three sons — Jon, Andy, and Adam have been volunteering since they turned 18. Together, at one point, the family made up almost a third of the entire small town fire department. They sometimes joked around and called the firehouse the Maetzold Fire Department. It’s been a rewarding experience for the family, but also one that has not been easy. One evening, Andy Maetzold was dispatched to the scene of an accident. Inside the single car rollover he saw a friend. It was one of the toughest accident scenes Andy […] Read more »

What Does IT Downtime Cost Your Business?

Reduce Server Downtime with OnPage IT Alert Management Software

Can You Guess the Average Cost of IT Downtime? $50,00 per incident $100,000 per incident $250,000 per incident $500,000 per incident MORE THAN $500,000 per incident Here’s How to Increase Responsiveness and Decrease IT Downtime for Healht Care and for IT. The answer is #5 – the average outage incident in a health care environment costs $690,000, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute & Emerson Network Power. Large enterprise groups, according to the study, may incur costs exceeding $1.74 million per incident. The Cost of the Outage Alone is Only Part of the Picture: Today, the healthcare industry is dependent on data for clinical metrics, patient care, billing, reporting, and more. Server downtime is not only costly, but can be detrimental to daily operations. Fines associated with each incident can increase the cost substantially, depending on a number of factors such as the length of data downtime and the […] Read more »

11 Technologies Obsolesced by Smartphones

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The Smartphone Revolution is Here! Gone are Camcorders, Pagers and Remotes. Mpeg players, Pagers, and calculators have all been swept into the dustbin of technology and replaced by your smartphone. Today, smartphones can do just about everything these icons from yesteryear could, and much, much more. So, lighten your load. There’s no need to carry around all your old devices anymore — they all can be consolodated into one device, your smartphone. (Violins and Trumpets) Let’s spend a minute reminiscing and shedding a tear for technology devices gone bye, and herald in “The Age of the Smartphone”. The Top-11 Technology Devices Obsolesced By Smartphones Rating Scale: **** (extremley obsolete) *** (very obsolete) ** (quite obsolete) * (obsolete) . Pagers These buzzing-vibrating little devils — I found them annoying — were state of the art in their day, but are now vintage technology. The issue with Pagers is that once you sent […] Read more »