N-Central Introduction – DK Stepanko

Welcome to the future of Remote Management!

Well, that may be a little dramatic, but I am happy to introduce N-Central which we are rolling out as a replacement to our current remote support tool. N-Central is produced by N-Able Technologies, acquired by Solarwinds in 2013, and they have seriously stepped up their game from when F12 Networks first reviewed their software back in 2011.

I’d like to go through some of the key differences that led us to partner with N-Able and persuaded us that it is the superior product.

This web-based user interface, simply put, is pretty. It provides a detailed but organized look at the devices that are being monitored at our client locations. Powerful tools can be leveraged from this interface to help automate the day to day tasks that an F12 Networker would normally have to complete manually.

Automation is the name of the game with N-Central, and they do as they say. A component of N-Central that they call Automation Manager changes the way that we can develop automation scripts for our clients.

Automation Manager is built on Microsoft’s PowerShell architecture and provides a simple drag-and-drop experience for creating scripts. The days of learning a custom scripting engine, as with our previous product, are coming to a close. This component features over 350 different commands, with more constantly being added. 75 of those commands are Office 365 PowerShell commands, allowing us to manage O365 accounts from a single pane of glass.

Monitoring and notifications are the next key differentiators. N-Central allows us to set globally accepted defaults for metrics while still being able to go from the global-level, to the client-level, or even further down right to the individual device itself and set values based on our clients’ needs and requirements.

N-Central bases all of alerts on e-mail notification; they take it to the next level by allowing us to configure notification escalations. If an alert is triggered for a failed service and it is not acknowledged within a specific timeframe, we can have it e-mail an escalation contact. Additionally, N-Central provides us with the ability to notify F12 Networkers via e-mail upon the successful completion, or failure, of a scheduled task.

Report Manager is another service provided by N-Central that made our beloved IT Consultants cheer! The level of reporting that is available to our Consultants outshines previous tools we have used such as LabTech or Kaseya.  Plus, we can even build our own custom reports with relative ease.

Finally, the major selling point of N-Central was the level of integration of their backup and anti-virus software. This has been on F12 Networks’ radar for a very long time as we have been plagued with continued promises that never materialized to have a single management dashboard. N-Central provides us with backup status and anti-virus metrics all from the main console, without having to access additional systems or software.

We’ve been on a long journey looking for that elusive ‘single pane of glass’ that will allow us to be more effective in monitoring our clients, and we think we finally found it. We are extremely excited to start leveraging this for our clients to Make I.T. Easy.

You will be hearing from us soon.

D.K. Stepanko
Advanced Computing
Network Operations Centre

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