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Monitoring Comet Backup with CheckCentral

November 27, 2018

Comet Backup is an excellent tool for MSPs who manage file backups for their clients. By using CheckCentral and Comet Backup together, you can have a clear and easy view of your client backups without having to wade through mountains of email notifications. This guide provides details on setting up Checks for Comet Backup notification emails.

    Setting Up the Check Schedule

  1. On your CheckCentral dashboard, click the "New Check" link.
  2. Give the Check a name. It can be whatever you like, but we would recommend something like: {comet username}: {protected item name}. For this example, the name will be "User01: Documents"
  3. Choose an existing Check Group to add this check to, or create a new one if you like, by clicking "New Group."
  4. For this guide, we'll assume this Comet Protected Item has a schedule assigned to it. In order for CheckCentral to notify you when the Check is overdue (e.g. if the Protected Item didn't run as scheduled, or got hung up on its last run), you'll need to configure how often you expect the email to come in. Typically you'll set the "Emails are expected every" values to match the schedule on your Protected Item. In our example, the Protected Item is set to run every day at 9am, so we'll set this to 1 Day(s).
  5. Notice that there's nowhere to assign the time of day that the email is expected. This is because CheckCentral will automatically adjust the expected time based on when the last email arrived. If your Protected Item runs at 9am and finishes at 9:15am today, then the next email will be expected at 9:15am tomorrow. Since the amount of time a backup takes to complete can vary day-to-day, you can configure the Check to only notify you if the email is late by more than a certain amount of time. We'll leave it at the default of 30 minutes for this example, which means that you won't get an "Overdue" notification until 9:45am tomorrow. This allows an extra 30 minutes for the backup to complete before any action is taken.
  6. The Description field is optional, but can be helpful for documentation purposes.
  7. The Check Information Section
    The Check Information Section

    Configuring the Matching Rules

  8. The "Matching Rules" section is where you'll tell CheckCentral which emails should be processed by this Check. By default, the Check's email address will be populated with a custom email address based on the Check name. Since email notification addresses are set per-user in Comet, you'll want to click the edit icon (looks like a pencil) next to the custom email address, and change it to something more generic for that Comet user. In this example we'll change it to "demo+user01@mycheckcentral.cc." You'll see where this gets used later in this guide.
  9. The Matching Rules Section
    The Matching Rules Section

    Setting the Default Status

  10. In the "Status" section, you'll set what you want the default status to be when an email matches the check, but doesn't match any of the Success/Warning/Failure rules. Generally it's best to leave this set to Failure, then specify your Success and Warning criteria. This way it's only marked as successful or warning if it matches your given rules, anything else is marked as a failure so that you get notified and can investigate further.
  11. The Status Section
    The Status Section

    Configuring the Success and Warning Rules

  12. The "Success Rules" section is where you'll set the criteria that will mark the Activity as successful. Click the "Add Success Rule" link. A successful run of a Comet Protected Item will have the word "Success" in the email Subject, so we'll set the rule to "Subject contains Success"
  13. The "Warning Rules" section is where you'll set the criteria that will mark the Activity as a warning. Click the "Add Warning Rule" link. The email notification for a Comet Protected Item will have the word "Warning" in the email Subject, so well set the rule to "Subject contains Warning"
  14. The Success/Warning Rules Section
    The Success/Warning Rules Section

    Configuring Notifications

  15. In the Notifications section, you can choose how to you want to be notified about changes to the status of this Check. In this example, enabling the checkbox for "Email" will send an email when the Check status changes, to everyone on the CheckCentral Organization > Users page that has Email notifications enabled. If there are consecutive Success emails, a notification won't be sent every time, only when the status changes from Success to Warning/Failure, and back.
  16. Click the "Save Check" button to finish setting up this Check.
  17. The Notifications Section
    The Notifications Section

    Configuring Comet

  18. Now that our Check is setup in CheckCentral, we'll need to configure Comet to send its emails to CheckCentral for this user (User01). In the Comet admin interface, go to Accounts > Users > User01, and add the email address for the CheckCentral check that you created in step 7, and make sure to click the "Save Changes" button.
  19. Adding Email Address to Comet User
    Adding Email Address to Comet User

    Testing it Out

  20. Now we're ready to run the Protected Item to test it out. Go ahead and run your Comet Protected Item manually.
  21. The Comet Backup UI
    The Comet Backup UI
  22. After the job is done running, if you refresh the Check page, you'll see the new Activity listed in the "Recent Activity" section. You can also see a new Activity dot for it on the main Dashboard for your organization.
  23. The Recent Activity Section
    The Recent Activity Section
    The Main Dashboard
    The Main Dashboard
  24. Clicking the Activity's dot on the Check page or the Dashboard will show the email contents in a modal dialog.
  25. The Activity Details
    The Activity Details
  26. As always, if you run into any trouble configuring your Checks, please feel free to contact us and we'll be glad to help out.
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New Filtering Options for Activities and Stats Pages!

October 23, 2018

We're happy to announce updates to both the Activities and Stats pages! The searching and filtering on these pages has been improved and expanded, with new and more detailed options available.

The Activities page now provides the ability to filter activities by group, date range, and even the source of the activity: email messages, overdue activities, user-set statuses, or updates from the CheckCentral API.

Activities Page Filtering
Updated Activities page filtering

The Stats page has also been updated to allow filtering by the activity source, as well as by only a specific check. As always, any search on the Stats page can be saved as a PDF or CSV format report.

Stats Page Filtering
Updated Stats page filtering

We hope these updates will make it even easier and more convenient to find and report on only the information that is important to you!

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Check Management Updates

September 28, 2018

We're excited to announce a recent update to the Manage Checks page for CheckCentral. Reordering Groups is now much faster and easier, with all your groups displayed in one place in a sidebar. You can also drag and drop checks directly on the group in the sidebar to move them between groups. In addition, the page and its content have been streamlined to improve the performance and responsiveness for organizations with large numbers of checks.

We hope this update will make it faster easier to manage your checks. If you have feedback or questions, please let us know!

Manage Checks Page
Updated Manage Checks page
Drag and drop Checks between Groups
Drag and drop checks between groups
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TOTP Now Available for Two-Factor Authentication!

August 15, 2018

Today we're happy to announce that we've added another two-factor authentication (2FA) method. In addition to the current SMS 2FA method, you can now choose to use time-based one-time password (TOTP) 2FA instead, allowing you to get your 2FA codes through your favourite authentication app.

The TOTP method will work with any app the supports TOTP, including Google Authenticator, Duo, Authy, and more! With TOTP you also get an upgrade in security for your 2FA codes, since they can't be intercepted like SMS messages.

If you've already got SMS 2FA enabled, you'll get a prompt when logging in that suggests switching to TOTP. You'll have to disable SMS 2FA first, then setup TOTP. All of the 2FA configuration is done on your account page: https://www.checkcentral.cc/Account/

TOTP on the Account Edit Page
TOTP on the Account Edit Page

We highly recommend enabling TOTP 2FA on your account for better security, and as always, if you run into any trouble at all, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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Repeated Failure Notification Options, Collapsible Groups, and More!

August 9, 2018

We're excited to announce a number of updates to CheckCentral!

We've added the ability to collapse groups on your dashboard to make it easier to see only the information you need to see. The groups you collapse will be remembered whenever or wherever you login to CheckCentral!

Dashboard With Collapsed Groups
A sample CheckCentral dashboard showing collapsed groups.

Repeated Failure Notifications

New options for failure notifications give you more control over when you are alerted about the status of your checks. A check with a configured "failure notification grace period" will wait to send alerts until the specified time has elapsed. If the check returns to success before the alert is sent, it will be canceled.

The repeated failure option provides several options to control failure notifications when a Check receives multiple consecutive failures:

  • Notify on every failure: this will send an alert every time a failure message is processed by CheckCentral
  • Notify on first failure: this will only send an alert for the first of any consecutive failure messages
  • Notify on every failure after N consecutive failures: this will send alerts for every failure message after the limit is reached
  • Notify on every N consecutive failures: this will send alerts every time the specified number of failures are processed in a row, e.g. with a setting of "3", you would receive alerts for every 3rd, 6th, 9th failure, and so on

Failure Notification Settings
Configuration options for repeated failure notification

Newly Created Check Activity

As well, newly created checks will now have an initial starting activity (set to Success). This will allow the check to become marked overdue once the specified interval has elapsed. To leave the check in a neutral state that will not become overdue until a message has been received, you can delete that created activity.

Check Created Activity
Newly created check with an initial activity.

In addition to these notification updates, we have also made several UI improvements and fixes, including the text for overdue check alerts and organization logos on PDF reports. If you have feedback or question about any of these updates, or anything else, please let us know!

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CheckCentral Write API and CSV Exporting

July 25, 2018

We're excited to announce the new "setCheckStatus" endpoint for the CheckCentral API! This is the first writable endpoint for the API. SetCheckStatus allows authenticated requests to update the status of a specific check. As well, the request can include an associated message, and optionally send alert notifications for the check as well.

PDF Check Report
A test call to the setCheckStatus endpoint

Only API tokens that are configured with Read/Write access will be able to make requests to this endpoint. Existing API tokens are set as "Read Only", with all the same permissions they currently have. You can modify a token's access level on your organization's API token management page, available under the "Organization" menu for organization administrators.

PDF Check Report
Creating a Read/Write API Token

Stats CSV Export

As well as the API update, we've also included the option for CSV export on your organization's stats page. Any search on the stats page can be saved as a CSV report by clicking the "Save CSV" button.

PDF Stats Report
Save Stats Page Reports as CSV

If you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions about the API or CheckCentral in general, please let us know!

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New PDF Report Options

April 25, 2018

We're happy to announce that we have expanded the options for generating PDF reports! PDFs for individual checks can now be generated with activity history for a custom date range, and to cap the displayed history to a configured limit.

As well, you can now generate PDF reports from the Organization Stats page. To help with creating reports, the stats page also provides the option to only display stats for a specific check group. Please let us know if you have any feedback!

In addition, we have released an update to iOS notifications to improve performance and reliability.

PDF Check Report
PDF Check Report
Stats Page Filtering
Stats Page Filtering
PDF Stats Report
PDF Stats Report
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Introducing the CheckCentral Data API!

April 4, 2018

We're excited to announce that CheckCentral now has a read-only API available, so that you can pull Check and Issue details into your own custom applications!

To get started, select the API option from the Organization menu when you're on your CheckCentral page. On this page, you can add API tokens that are used when accessing the API from your scripts. Treat the tokens as you would your password!

API Tokens page
API Tokens page

After adding a token, you can click the Documentation link to view the available API endpoints, and if you click one of the endpoints, you can test it out right in your browser. The API calls return JSON data that you can use in your programming/scripting language of choice.

A test call to the getChecks endpoint
A test call to the getChecks endpoint

Here's a sample PowerShell script that gets the details for the Checks in a specific Check Group, and dumps them to a formatted HTML file: CC-API-GetCheckDetailsForSpecificGroup.ps1

If you need any help with the new API or have any questions, please contact us and we'll help you get up and running.

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Introducing New, Simplified CheckCentral Subscriptions!

March 27, 2018

We're very excited to announce some changes to our CheckCentral subscription plans that are rolling out today. We're doing away with the old tiered plans, and moving to a system where you only pay for the checks you need, as you need them. Getting started with CheckCentral has never been easier or more affordable!

Starting today, you'll be able to add or remove checks in groups of 10, with each group costing $5. In addition, all paying customers get access to all of our Enterprise features, including unlimited users, API access, and custom dashboards! We’re also removing the limit on the number of groups that can be configured. Our discounts for pre-paying quarterly or yearly are still available as well.

For our existing customers, you will be grandfathered in at your current subscription rate, and you can easily change the amount of checks on your account via the Subscription page.

If you have any questions or comments about these changes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

I'm an existing customer. How do I make changes to my check allotment?

After logging in to your CheckCentral organization, click the Subscription link in the top menu. At the top of the Enterprise plan column, there's a slider you can drag left or right to decrease or increase the number of checks you're paying for. The updated monthly subscription cost will be displayed immediately.

I'm a new customer. How many checks do I get during the 60-day free trial?

As many as you like! On the Subscription page, you can adjust the slider to increase or decrease the number of checks at any time during your trial.

What do I do if I'm not sure about these new plans?

Contact us with any questions that you have and we'll be glad to help out!

Add/Remove Checks Dialog
Add/Remove Checks Dialog
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CheckCentral Design Update

December 21, 2017

We've rolled out a site-wide update to the look and interface of CheckCentral. The updated design places more emphasis on your organization's information, as well as facilitating future development and improvements. We hope the new look will provide a cleaner, more readable experience. Please let us know if you have any feedback!

In addition, we have updated the email processing system to further improve CheckCentral's stability and reliability.

Dashboard Content
Dashboard Content
Dashboard Checks
Dashboard Checks
Check View Page
Check View Page
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