Billing platforms are expected to streamline operations by automating key billing functions. However, as billing evolves to include usage-based charges, platforms are increasingly required to include a device management function.
When choosing a billing platform, it’s important to look beyond its core functionality to understand how it can help you oversee and govern your network infrastructure and all the devices connected to it.
What is device management?
Device management is a broad term that refers to the implementation, operation, and maintenance of hardware and virtual devices across a network or networks. Device management is equal parts oversight and control across an organization’s entire infrastructure.
Typically, device management includes the installation of devices and software, configuration of those devices, and the implementation of security measures. Administrators overseeing device management are also generally responsible for crafting policies and procedures that will ensure the longevity and security of an organization’s networks.
What are the benefits of device management in a billing system?
When it comes to your billing system, a device management function is indispensable. Cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers can make use of a billing platform device manager to monitor both customers’ devices and the devices the company uses internally.
For your customers, a built-in device manager enables granular control over how device consumption is billed. For example, tracking server metrics and bandwidth allows your billing system to automatically charge customers based on usage. The same measurements used for the monitoring and alert capabilities will be used when it comes time to invoice your customers. In addition, you can also use your billing system’s device manager to offer cloud-based support to your customers, improving their experience.
Internally, device management is a question of efficiency and security. Ensuring your network remains uncompromised is a top priority, of course. Real-time monitoring and alerts help administrators scan for anomalies that might signal a breach.
Additionally, features like reboot control and the command monitor allow administrators to take control of the devices on the network in the event troubleshooting is needed.
What to look for in a billing platform device manager
While the benefits of a billing platform with a built-in device manager are clear, not all are created equal. That’s why it’s important to closely analyze the capabilities of a device manager before choosing a billing platform to partner with.
Keep these following factors in mind while making your decision.
1. Device-client association and device hierarchy
Device management begins with identification. A billing platform device manager should be configured to track the make, model, location, label, and other details related to the entire network infrastructure. Not only is it important to identify devices and associate them with clients, but the tools for organizing device monitoring and IP assignments are also critical.
2. Virtualization and cloud support
In addition to monitoring and organizing the physical devices connected to your network, a billing platform device manager should be able to keep tabs on any virtual resources as well. Whether your company or clients are running virtual servers, storage, operating systems, or software, an effective device manager should be able to track virtualizations just as it would a physical device. Through these tools, you should also be able to provide cloud-based support to your clients should any issues with virtual assets occur.
3. Intelligent monitoring and alerts
Just as it’s important that your billing platform automate key operations, so too is it important that the device manager automates monitoring and alerts. If anomalous or suspicious usage occurs with a device on the network, administrators should automatically be notified and referred to act. Especially on a sprawling network with cloud-based clients, it’s impossible for a human to keep a watchful eye on every device at all times. That’s where a dedicated device manager with real-time alerts comes in.
4. Server metrics, bandwidth, and power graphing
An effective device manager includes tools for tracking resource usage, both by customers and internal assets. Server metrics tools, for example, are useful for capturing information regarding usage of processing power, memory and disk storage, load, and I/O usage.
Bandwidth monitoring allows you to remotely view the bandwidth data of any server, uplink, or other device with a switch port. You can also use a bandwidth monitoring tool to enable or disable the associated switch port. This information can be combined with your system to automate usage-based billing functions as well, including 95th percentile and total transfer billing methods.
Finally, power graphing capabilities help administrators keep tabs on the energy demand placed on your infrastructure. Not only does monitoring power draw help you reduce your internal energy footprint, it also enables you to bill customers based on seasonal or hourly rates for power usage.
5. IP Address Management including RWhois Server
Management of IP addresses and other relevant resources associated with your network is also a key function of a billing platform device manager. This tool coupled with the RWhois server enables administrators to easily access IP address assignment tracking information.
6. Remote reboot controls
A device manager with remote reboot controls enables administrators to manage servers, switches, routers, or any other device. Supported devices can remotely be turned on, turned off, or rebooted directly from the reboot module in the billing system. Ideally, your billing platform device manager will include both admin and client-side configurations for this feature.
7. Breadth of supported devices
A device manager is only as good as its coverage of your infrastructure, so it’s important that any billing platform device manager supports a wide range of devices. These include your servers, uplinks, switches, PDUs and any other physical devices. Virtual devices should also be supported to guarantee a comprehensive view of the network.
Choosing a billing platform is a critical task with your company’s revenue at its core. Any billing platform should automate key functions, facilitate great customer service, and offer you access to much-needed data insights. However, a truly effective billing platform should also include device management tools that make it easier to manage both your customers’ usage and your internal assets.
Ubersmith Device Manager does just that, coupling transparency and control of your infrastructure with the automated billing functions that keep your revenue rolling in and your customers happy.