TL; DR: The demand for remote server and data monitoring has flourished as many industries embrace a structural shift to a distributed workforce. Power Admin helps manage this transition with three comprehensive software applications intended to monitor workers, administer file servers, and prevent potential data loss. The company’s suite of products saves time and money while promoting best-practice compliance standards. Power Admin continues to refine these products as it maintains a focus on their scalability.
The mandatory lockdowns and social distancing following the outbreak of the coronavirus fueled a new interest in remote monitoring. Many knowledge workers, for example, migrated from an in-office cubicle farm to an in-home dining-room table.
While these workers adjusted to a different workspace, their employers struggled to ensure that the IT infrastructure required would prove adequate without incurring additional compliance risk.
“There was a lot of work from home,” said Doug Nebeker, Founder and CEO of Power Admin. “And so a lot of companies suddenly needed to make sure that they had the right network bandwidth and tools in place for their remote workers.”
Power Admin delivers three major products: a monitoring and management tool for servers, a disk- and data-monitoring tool for file systems, and a data auditing and protection framework. Each product supports both in-house and distributed workforces with a minimum of administrative complexity.
Because Power Admin develops its product in alignment with customer feedback, the company was well-positioned to lead this unexpected transition to work-from-home business arrangements.
“If customers have a suggestion that’s low-hanging fruit, and we see it would be useful for other people, we’ll get it in the next release so that they can try it out,” Doug said. “If it’s a bigger request, it gets put onto the to-do list. Then, as we work on the next version, we go through that list and find things that have been requested.”
This commitment to the consumer voice has led Power Admin to refine its products based on the needs of IT leaders who had to pivot to distributed workforces.
Distributed Workforces Require Innovative Monitoring
Power Admin’s PA Server Monitor product delivers on-premises and agentless monitoring of networks and servers. The software can monitor a single local network or hundreds of remote networks, and it seamlessly works with Windows, Linux, and embedded networking devices.
PA Server Monitor displays easy-to-read web-based reports. Users can manage configuration visually, casting away the complexity of scripts or configuration files. The software monitors and provides alerts on server health, including memory and disk usage, and critical event log messages.
Meanwhile, PA Storage Monitor focuses on file systems. The solution checks directory sizes, locates orphaned files, and provides low-disk-space alerts. It also catalogs data and reports on common metrics, including file age, type, owner, and out-of-space time frames.
PA File Sight also focuses on files, but from a security and compliance perspective. The software provides ransomware protection — a big deal after high-profile debacles like the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline attack — but its compliance component is crucial.
PA File Sight is a full-featured data loss prevention tool that detects specific types of file-copy commands and alerts security staff to launch an immediate investigation. The built-in file-access audit tool keeps track of employees who access, move, and delete files. That kind of logging is often an essential part of a company’s compliance framework.
“There hasn’t been a huge shift because it’s already been something that people have been concerned with all along,” Doug said.
What has shifted, though, is the way that employers must deploy compliance solutions to manage distributed employees. Not every tool on the market works well on local networks — but Power Admin’s tools sure do. The user-friendly GUI saves IT engineers from the tedious task of configuring server scripts and initialization files.
Mission-Critical Software Must Be Bug-Free
The software you use to monitor your network ecosystem must be bug-free. Life continues when your word processor glitches or your browser experiences a plugin collision. But the stakes are much higher when the software your company depends on to monitor business encounters technical problems..
Power Admin’s internal development team maintains a no-bug policy. Development cycles are short and focused, making product fixes easier to deploy. And correcting known defects tops the company’s priority list for each new release.
“If we hear about any customer issues or if there’s a bug, development stops until that bug is fixed,” Doug said. “There’s never a known bug in the product. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect; things creep in. But we try very hard to make sure there’s never an issue. Focusing on that so much keeps the support burden low. Because if one guy hits something, and we can fix it, then 100 people down the road will never see that problem.”
Community suggestions play a significant role in the development roadmap. The companies that rely on Power Admin to monitor their businesses serve as excellent laboratories to identify new use cases and alternative ways to solve problems. The development team takes this feedback and, when appropriate, incorporates it into the next software release.
Power Admin’s programs also help IT leaders meet regulatory and compliance needs. Healthcare organizations, for example, are subject to HIPAA security regulations, and companies that process credit cards must pass a PCI audit. The auditing and monitoring tools in PA File Sight help companies demonstrate compliance. PA Storage Monitor, on the other hand, verifies access control and traces potential bad actors with access to the corporate network.
Reliable Tools for Security and Compliance
The mid-pandemic world demands an alternative approach to deploying and managing resources, both human and technical. In the hustle to adapt to a different workflow, it’s essential that critical systems and data monitoring not be sacrificed for expediency. With its responsive release roadmap and easy-to-use interface, Power Admin’s software reduces the friction involved in managing remote data and server assets.
Because monitoring software ties closely to regulatory compliance, companies should select a vendor that strives for bug-free software. Software with long development times or weak customer support features should raise particular concerns.
Power Admin strives for bug-free software. And while glitches are inevitable, the company’s rapid development and a commitment to quashing known bugs helps customers reduce their risk.
Power Admin helps companies save time and money with software that’s both easy to configure and deploy. In addition, the software itself ensures high performance and uptime rates, promotes operational agility within the organization, and contributes to formal compliance auditing.
As for what’s next, Power Admin is turning its attention to scalability. The company’s customer base spans the gamut from small organizations to large ones. As Power Admin aims for larger enterprises, its software must scale to handle potentially tens of thousands of servers or users per deployment.
Hardening software to manage that kind of volume is a priority for nearly every company.
“The thing that we love hearing from customers is how easy to use the products are,” Doug said. “That’s usually our biggest selling point. We go up against huge companies, and we get customers from them because our product is so easy to use.”