TL; DR: Power Admin has brought value and service to the system monitoring industry for the last 20 years. The company works with Fortune 500 companies around the world and provides solutions for servers and storage, as well as the often overlooked area of file monitoring. Its goal is to simplify its products and services to minimize the time and effort required to run routine operations and datacenters. Power Admin can save businesses time and money and help prevent burnout among overworked IT personnel.
Kansas-based monitoring software company Power Admin is a small, privately held business with no outside investors. Yet, its clientele includes Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and prominent educational institutions around the world. In addition to Chevron, NASA, and Northrop Grumman, Power Admin also serves leading information technology providers, including Intel, Symantec, Comcast, and Xerox.
Power Admin offers a portfolio of products designed to provide focused support and address many critical areas of corporate IT management. PA Server Monitor is the company’s flagship solution, supported by three powerful products — PA Storage Monitor, PA File Sight, and PA WatchDISK.
The desire for specialized monitoring software is primarily driven by the growing complexity of the world’s datacenters — the powerhouses of today’s global digital economy. The IT managers who operate those datacenters now need a wide array of tools to ensure that their facilities run efficiently and as glitch-free as possible. To that end, system monitoring is integral to performance optimization of all components, especially servers — which are the datacenter’s most vital components.
Because they are, arguably, the longest-established type of hardware found in a datacenter, businesses may assume that servers have evolved to become supercharged workhorses that need little attention. But, as demand for Power Admin’s solutions shows, that is not the case.
But keeping track of hundreds or thousands of servers doesn’t need to involve endless work for overworked IT teams, according to Doug Nebeker, Power Admin Founder and CEO.
“IT can be stressful,” Doug said. “We strive to remove as much stress for our customers as we can by creating products that help simplify tasks. We hope to get more IT people home in the evening for dinner with their families — and not working through the night to resolve some issue.”
An Established Software Specialist Focuses on Affordability
Power Admin has had success in the industry for more than 20 years with its suite of server, storage, and file monitoring solution. The company’s goal is to create the “very best monitoring software in the world,” according to its mission statement. But, while many IT solutions providers claim that their products save their customers time and money, few make IT staff workload reduction an integral part of their value proposition, as Power Admin does.
The company aims to develop products that solve technological challenges while enabling users to maintain proper psychological equilibrium and work-life balance.
“We know that our products help them save time. People appreciate it. It’s one of the reasons why customers stay with us for a long time. It’s an honor to be appreciated like that. It’s what we’re shooting for,” Doug said.
Doug founded Power Admin 20 years ago. Like many entrepreneurs who come from a technological background, the venture began to satisfy a personal and professional need.
“Before I started Power Admin, I was working in an IT operations role,” Doug said. “I needed a server monitoring solution, and at that time, we used a system monitoring tool that was, functionality-wise, pretty horrendous — even for those days. It was relatively complicated to configure and always throwing up bogus system alerts and false positives. That’s something that can be a big time suck for IT teams and system admins.”
Doug said he thought there had to be a better way to solve the problem, and he created Power Admin as that solution.
Providing Uncomplicated Monitoring Tools and Secure Migration
When Doug founded Power Admin, he realized that monitoring tools did not need to be so complicated. He also found that, as the demands on IT teams escalated, a solution that simplified the complexity could win favor among hard-pressed IT front-liners.
“The server monitoring solutions market is a very crowded space,” Doug said. “To survive, you do need some extra dimension to your products to give you an edge. Probably the one I would cite in Power Admin’s case is its ease of use.”
Power Admin’s edge is a strong differentiator that defines the company’s competitive stance. According to Doug, simplicity is one of Power Admin’s strongest selling points and enables the company to work with large corporate clients and win and retain customers.
“They tell us that they like the way the PA Server Monitor adapts to their preferred way of working, rather than them having to change the way they work to fit the product,” Doug said.
Since Power Admin came onto the scene two decades ago, technology has also evolved, and the company has adapted along with it. Cloud technology brought about some of the most significant changes. The company saw three broad categories of enterprise cloud adoption.
Some organizations jumped into the cloud with both feet and were early adopters. Other IT departments were staunchly anti-cloud, and they wouldn’t consider putting data onto a server that they couldn’t see and didn’t have complete control over.
“And then there is the third segment, which is the one that we think is growing the most,” Doug said. “These are enterprises that go a middle way, keep some data and processes in-house, and migrate others to the cloud. It’s what I call the pragmatic approach.”
As a successful enterprise itself, Power Admin has had to develop solutions for any cloud adoption strategy its customers choose to implement.
“And, yes, Power Admin has been through exactly the same to-cloud transition as our customers,” Doug said.
Robust Data Protection and Digital Defense Strategies
If Power Admin’s portfolio of solutions has a common theme, it is that while prioritizing ease of use, they also highlight the reality that a basic, simplified approach to IT administration can help in the management of complex IT challenges.
Doug cited the example of the connection between file monitoring and the early detection of potential cyber threats. PA File Sight detects and halts those ransomware attacks, and it supports honeypots and heuristics, he said. The tool can also block compromised computers from reaching files on other protected servers on a network.
According to Doug, file monitoring should be critical to any holistic defensive cybersecurity strategy.
“PA File Sight audits who, across the enterprise, is deleting files, moving files, or reading files. Essentially, it monitors and reports on who within an enterprise is accessing a server and ‘touching’ files or deleting data. That can be hard to do, technologically. But having oversight of that activity is vital to organizations of all sizes.”
The PA File Sight solution is no stranger to innovation, and the company is in the process of adding more functionality.
“We have got some significant changes planned for PA File Sight that will enable administrators to ‘chase’ a file as it moves around a system and follow it where it goes,” Doug said. “Let’s suppose that you copy it from the server to your desktop, and then you copy it as a ZIP file, and then move it somewhere else, and email it as an attachment. The new feature will effectively allow users to trace that and track where it ends up.”
Power Admin: Feedback Informs Future Product Innovation
The close relationship between Power Admin and its customers enables the company to flourish and remain highly competitive against larger rivals. And the company is attuned to meeting its customer’s requirements.
Power Admin has a sustainable business model that will likely not make it into the world’s biggest monitoring software provider, but helps it in its quest to build “the very best monitoring software in the world.”
“Our solutions development ethos is very much customer-driven,” Doug said. The company regularly receives requests for new features. If an issue comes up frequently, and looks like it would be generally useful to the entire user base, a solution is quickly implemented.
“For example, we have just updated our web page monitor so that you can now integrate scripts. That allows additional flexibility with web page data,” Doug said. “And customers often thank us for saving them money.”