Real Life Lessons: Monitoring
[flickr]photo:2194849199(small)[/flickr]The second lesson to learn from my incident is the importance of monitoring. The concept behind monitoring is where you have a service that periodically checks the status of your resource and if there is a problem, it lets you know. These are commonly seen in physical security (where you have a device that knows when doors/windows open or if there is movement where there should not be) and in I.T. (where you periodically look at a web or email server and make sure that things are running properly).
In my case, I had three monitoring systems. My security system is aware of when doors or windows open, and if that occurs, it sounds an alarm and notifies the security company. This is highly (99%) reliable, when it is active. The fatal flaw in the system is that it does this whether a criminal comes in the house or if I leave the house. Thus, it is easy to leave it off when I am home. The second monitoring system is that of my watch cats. In theory, if someone enters the house, the watch cats will start hissing and clawing and otherwise alert me to the individual’s presence. In practice, the proper operation of watch cats is directly proportional to how tired they are… and how likely the intruder is to give them yummy food.
They’re not 100% reliable.
The third monitoring system was me. On some level I was aware that something wasn’t right, and the smell of cigarette smoke did wake me. However, while the monitoring was effective (I woke up), the monitor was not (I ignored the problem and went back to sleep).
Thus, all three of my monitoring systems failed, largely due to operational problems. I have corrected this by making sure that my security system is on, even when I am home. Like many operational challenges, the problem is taking the same action often enough to make it become a habit. Once you reach that point the operational costs are effectively zero.
My questions to you:
- What are your primary resources that need protection?
- How do you ensure that you know when they are affected?