MAX RM v5.55 Preview – Maintenance Mode has arrived, alongside in-depth Alert Routing and more

The next release of MAX RemoteManagement will see the addition of a number of important new features: Maintenance Mode; more granular Alert Routing; and improved security monitoring with enhanced Firewall status and Antivirus status script checks.

Here’s a detailed run-through of what’s coming!

Maintenance Windows Part 1: Maintenance Mode

Maintenance Windows is right now the most requested feature on IdeaFactory and we are making great progress. With Part 1 going live imminently, we’re already working on Part 2, which will allow a customer to set a future start and stop time. Next up is Part 3, which will let you set a maintenance window on all devices under a client or site, and after this we expect to move on to maintenance windows at individual check level. We’re also working on giving greater visibility as to which devices are in Maintenance Mode.

For now this is just the basic package and forms part of our new approach to release early and often, and then get your feedback so we can refine our designs. This ensures that we give you the ability to help us drive the software forward in a way that helps you run your businesses more effectively.

The driving force behind this first version of Maintenance Windows is to stop you getting unnecessary Dashboard alerts while performing maintenance on clients’ systems. Giving you the ability to put a device in Maintenance Mode while you perform essential maintenance on a device, and then take it out that mode when you’re done, means you don’t get bogged down by unnecessary email alerts, failed checks, and unwanted PSA tickets. This makes the alerts you do get more valuable by focusing on the signal and less of the noise, and also prevents unnecessary failure entries in key performance reports.

Here’s how it works:

  • Select one or more devices in the north pane. Right click and then select “Maintenance Mode” from the dropdown list (1).
  • Very straight forward: Hit “Start” to commence maintenance mode, hit “Stop” to end it (2). You can do this for one or multiple devices at a time.

maintenance mode 1

  • It’s easy to tell which devices are in Maintenance Mode thanks to the “Maintenance Mode” column (3) and the pinkish background behind the device (4).

maintenance mode 2

  • When Maintenance Mode is on and a check fails, the status of the check changes. This is indicated by a small traffic cone icon next to the check (5). This shows that a failed check occurred while the device was in Maintenance Mode. No alert will sent, no outage will be created, and no PSA ticket will be opened. Note that a failed check can still pass during Maintenance Mode.

maintenance mode 3

  • On the Outages tab, any open outages from previously failed checks will also display the traffic cone to indicate Maintenance Mode is active (6). No new alerts will be sent from the Outage during Maintenance Mode.

maintenance mode 4

  • When Maintenance Mode is stopped (the user switches it off), checks and any open outages retain their current status –including the “failed during Maintenance Mode traffic cone” status– until the next time the checks run. At this point everything goes back to normal: the checks will pass or fail as usual and they lose their traffic cone status. 
  • Tip! Use the “Re-run Checks” feature after stopping Maintenance Mode to check the status of the device(s) there and then rather than waiting on the next check cycle (7).

maintenance mode 5

More Granular Alert Routing

This is a major upgrade to the existing Alert Routing. Currently you can set which email addresses and cellphone numbers you want alerts and texts to go to at the global Dashboard level and at individual client level. But that’s as far as it goes.

Now with granular alert routing, you can set different email and SMS details for both office and out of office hours at global, client, site, device, and for servers even at check level. Of course, all existing alert routing settings are carried over to the new format, we’re just adding additional granular options.

How the new Alert Routing works:

  • From the Settings menu, go to Alerts, and select a new option called Settings (1) to bring up the standard roll-out tree. Note the previous “Alert Settings” dialog where you can set thresholds and which checks to enable is still there under “Alert Policy”.

alert routing 1

  • Set the desired email addresses for both office and out of office hours at client and site level. For Servers, you can additionally set cellphone numbers for SMS alerts (2).

alert routing 2

  • Set Alert Routing at individual device level via the Edit Server and Edit Workstation dialogs (3). Note that the alert threshold settings are now under “Alert Policy”.

alert routing 3

  • Set your Alert Routing to be even more granular at individual check level via the Alert Routing option when you edit a check (4). (Note this option is only available for Servers because Servers send failed check alerts in separate emails, whereas Workstations bundle all check alerts for a given period into a single email, so it’s not possible to specify email routing at individual check level.)
  • You can now also specify at each level if you want to include the Check IDs in the email header so that you can use them for automated ticket routing into for example a PSA (5).

alert routing 4

  • Tip! If you don’t want to receive alerts for a particular check overnight, leave the Out of Office Hours field blank.

A Better Firewall Script Check

Currently the Windows Firewall Script Check can only detect and report on the built-in Windows Firewall service. The updated version is much more wide ranging in that it can monitor and report on any Firewall product reporting in Windows Security Center. We’ve renamed the check to “Firewall status” to reflect this (1).

The script check can also now be configured to alert you if all Firewalls are disabled, or you can select a more sensitive option and be alerted when just one fails. Check the box (2) to be alerted when a single firewall fails.

What’s more, the output of the script will show you all found products with their individual status, compared to the more limited summary available up to now.

firewall check 1

A Better Antivirus Script Check

The AV Script Check now also checks if AV products are actually running or not, rather than just confirming the product is installed and passing the check. Obviously knowing whether an AV product is actually protecting the device is the more salient info.

As with the updated Firewall Script check, you can specify if you want to be alerted when all AV products are up to date and running, or go for the more sensitive option and fail the check if just one AV product fails the check criteria. Just select the checkbox (1) to take advantage of the more granular security monitoring.

As with the Firewall update check, the output of the check will show you all found products with their individual status, compared to the more limited summary available up to now.

av check 1

Staging Release Notes

Please note, staging release notes are subject to change. Final release notes will go out with the release.

Summary for Service Release

  • Service Release focused on new features, bug fixes and performance
  • Dashboard v5.55
  • Agent v9.8.5 RC, Agent v9.8.1 stays GA

Dashboard v5.55

  • FEATURE: Introduction of Maintenance Mode, the first installment of Maintenance Windows, to temporarily suppress failed checks, alerts, outages, PSA tickets for one or more devices
  • UPDATE: A new Alert Settings dialog offering More granular alert routing at global, client and site level
  • UPDATE: Set Alert Routing at individual device level via the Edit Device dialog
  • UPDATE: Set Alert Routing at individual check level for Servers
  • UPDATE: Windows Firewall script check renamed “Firewall status” and now reports on any firewall product reporting in Windows Security Center
  • UPDATE: The “Firewall status” script check now monitors whether a firewall is enabled
  • UPDATE: The “Antivirus status” script check now monitors whether the AV product is enabled

Agent v9.8.5 RC

  • BUGFIX: Fix an issue with “Upgrade from Asset Tracking” so that custom templates are pushed correctly
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