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What is the Future of SNMP Alarm Monitoring?

By Andrew Erickson

January 16, 2024


SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is a widely used network protocol that facilitates the monitoring and managing of network devices.

One of SNMP's most useful features is its ability to generate alarms to inform network administrators of potential issues, such as when a device fails to respond or when certain conditions are met.

However, traditional SNMP alarm monitoring has faced challenges, particularly related to security and compliance with government regulations. Today, we'll explore recent innovations in SNMP alarm monitoring, and discuss how to adapt legacy equipment to modern SNMPv3 equipment. Furthermore, we'll show you how to justify purchasing remote site monitoring to management by explaining how it detects and allows the prevention of major incidents.

The Ultimate Solution For Security and Compliance

SNMPv3 is the latest version of SNMP, and it has taken great strides in addressing security and compliance issues. One of the most important security measures in SNMPv3 is using encryption to secure communication between network devices.

SNMPv3 also includes access control lists (ACLs) which allow network administrators to restrict access to certain devices or groups of devices. With these features, SNMPv3 increased in popularity as a solution for security and compliance.

NetGuardian G6 832A
The NetGuardian G6 832A is DPS Telecom's latest top of the line RTU with the ability to report alarms over SNMPv1, v2, and v3

An example of using SNMPv3 for increased security and compliance is encrypting your SNMP communications via an SNMPv3 Responder Software Module. This supports all SNMPv3 trap security standards.

Here is an overview of the SNMPv3 standards:

  1. SNMPv3 uses Traps to report certain events to your management system. Based on your clearance level that comes along with USM, you would or wouldn't have access to altering what these events are.
  2. SNMPv3 supports stronger authentication mechanisms and encryption methods through algorithms such as DES (Data Encryption Standard). An example of this in use would be an RTU platform encrypting its messages with CBC-DES.
  3. SNMPv3 gives you the ability to set time constraints via time intervals when a user would have permission to operate.
  4. SNMPv3 protects message integrity through a MAC (Message Authentication Code). This is to help you detect messages that were modified without permission during their transmission
  5. SNMPv3 uses Context Engine ID to keep unauthorized traffic from affecting your SNMP transmission.
  6. SNMPv3 Access Control Lists or ACLs allow specific users only to do certain things.
  7. SNMPv3 has USM (user-based security model) which offers users who interface with it security levels. This would mean that you, for example, would input your username -- and based on that name a certain level of permission would be granted to you.

This means that finding an alarm monitoring system manufacturer who can offer you equipment with SNMPv3 will keep your network protected by the latest top standards. No matter the industry that you're in, this is absolutely vital.

Modernizing SNMP for Legacy Equipment

With the advent of SNMPv3, it can be challenging to adapt legacy equipment. Most of the older equipment supports SNMP v1 or v2c only, which brings significant security risks. To address this challenge, manufacturers have developed what are known as SNMPv3 gateways, which can sit between v1/v2c equipment and an SNMPv3 monitoring solution.

A gateway is a means to connect between networks and/or protocols and translate them in a way that allows them to transfer data back and forth.

These gateways will enable secure communication by translating SNMPv1/v2c messages to SNMPv3 messages. These gateways can solve the problem of modernizing SNMP monitoring for legacy equipment, without replacing perfectly good equipment.

Detecting and Preventing Major Incidents

One of the key advantages of SNMP alarm monitoring is its ability to detect and prevent major incidents. SNMP alarm monitoring solutions can provide immediate notification when an outage occurs, and thus avert what could have been a larger problem.

In particular, remote monitoring solutions have become increasingly popular, allowing the remote management of devices and equipment at numerous locations, accessible from one location. By remotely monitoring devices at multiple sites, you can identify potential issues and stop them before they become major incidents without physically traveling to the remote site.

Justifying the Purchase of Remote Site Monitoring Equipment

In many cases, remote site monitoring devices are expensive solutions and this puts pressure on managers for the justification of the purchase of such devices. When facing this issue, it is important to articulate that a remote monitoring solution will lessen the threat of false alarms or a late response to an issue and also ensure the safeguarding of important business tools and dependencies.

Make sure that your manufacturer enables you to pair up your remote monitoring ability with remote relays (in other words, remote controlling). While remote monitoring is an amazing ability that can save money, assets, and lives -- remote relays help you act even faster.

For example, if you notice that one of your sites is overheating, you could open louvers and a blower fan by using remote relays. This would save your staff's time and your money by cutting out the need for someone to drive out to a remote site with box fans in their truck.

What's next?

The future of SNMP alarm monitoring looks bright, as manufacturers continue to focus their efforts on enhancing security and compliance features. As IoT edge computing continues to expand, it is predicted that the implementation of advanced analytics will continue to make its way to be offered as features in these solutions. It's essential to stay on top of these emerging trends as it is directly related to preventing major incidents and protecting business investments.

In summary, SNMP alarm monitoring is a necessary tool for network administrators to monitor devices remotely and to detect, and prevent potential issues. Modern solutions like SNMPv3, SNMPv3 gateways, and remote site monitoring bring greater security and compliance while preventing major incidents to your network.

It is important to note that these solutions always require an investment, but a justified purchase of such devices can lead to cost-saving opportunities and the safeguarding of your business. The future of SNMP alarm monitoring looks bright with the continued enhancements in compliance and security features. It is important to keep up with these trends to employ the most adequate solution for your network.

If you would like to safeguard your network and save money that would be spent on damage control in the future, DPS Telecom has experts with more than 40 years of experience in the industry who are ready to serve you and act as your very own engineers.

Call me at 1-800-693-0351 or E-mail me at sales@dpstele.com

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and opt...