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Check Frequency Settings and Dashboard Updates

January 21, 2019

We're pleased to announce several updates to CheckCentral, with improvements to Check schedules and dashboard interaction.

We have streamlined the frequency settings for checks, with options for simple and advanced scheduling. With advanced schedules, you can now specify both a daily time window to expect emails, and choose which days of the week emails will be sent.

Check Frequency Settings
Advanced Check Frequency Settings

As well, check filters on your dashboard can now be bookmarked, as the filter will be remembered when refreshing the page or sharing the URL. Also, filtering the checks on your CheckCentral dashboard will only display checks from uncollapsed groups, solving an issue that resulted in displaying all checks from a group when uncollapsing it with filters applied.

Filtered Collapsible Dashboard Groups
Filtered Collapsible Dashboard Groups

Additionally, the CheckCentral Data API can now return the recent history of a check's activity if requested.

If you have feedback or questions about these updates or any aspect of CheckCentral, please let us know!

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.
    Checks can be added from various locations in the CheckCentral interface, from the Dashboard, Checks page, Activity page, and the Check Group details page.
  1. Wherever you are, begin by clicking
    "
    Add Check
    ."
    Add Check
  2. Select "Start Fresh," and click "Start."
    Create Check
  3. Name the Check. 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
    .
  4. Select an existing Check Group or create a new one by clicking "
    Check Group icon
    Add Check Group
    ."
  5. Select an existing Label or create a new one by typing the name in the text field of the dropdown (optional).
  6. Add a description (optional).
  7. The Asset ID is used exclusively with certain ticketing systems and is not required for Checks. Asset ID details and ticketing systems are more fully covered by other documents (e.g. Halo Integration (asset ID).)
  8. Leave the Asset ID blank unless you've configured your External Ticketing System and have obtained the appropriate ID from that Ticketing System.
  9. Your Check so far will look something like this:
    Step 1: Identification
    Navigate to the next step in CheckCentral by clicking the "Next" button or the tab name.
    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 Expected Interval values to match the schedule on your Protected Item. In our example, the Protected Item is set to run every day at 9am.
  10. Leave "Scheduled" selected.
  11. Since the Comet job will run daily, leave the Expected Interval on "1" "Day(s)." If your Comet job will run on another interval, adjust accordingly.
  12. The initial expectation time is set by the first email message that is received and processed by its Check. (For example, if a notification email arrives at noon and its Check is set for every half hour, it will expect another notification email at 12:30.)
  13. Leave the Set as Overdue setting at "After 30 Minutes." If the Comet notification email is not received after this amount of time has been exceeded, the Check will be marked as a failure.
  14. Leave Custom Schedule de-selected.
    Step 2: Schedule
    The Matching step is what matches a notification email to its specific Check. It's also where you'll set the notification's CheckCentral destination email. For CheckCentral to parse notification emails, they must be sent to a "mycheckcentral.cc" address. By default, the email address is [your organization name]@mycheckcentral.cc.
    A more unique email address is created using the name given to the Check (with white spaces removed).
  15. Copy the unique email address for later use by clicking on the Copy icon
    Copy icon
    .
  16. While the email address is important for matching, the same address can be used for multiple Comet backup jobs. Those jobs can include multiple Protected Items and multiple containing Vaults, requiring additional Check details to differentiate between various backups jobs. It's best practice to use matching elements that are consistent with and exclusive to the notification emails for each source. In this example, we'll use the Protected Item name and its Vault name to ensure a one-to-one match.
  17. Click "
    Add Matching Rule
    " to add a set of matching conditions.
  18. Select "Subject" and "Contains" from the dropdown selectors, then type your
    {protected item name}
    in the text field. Our example uses
    User01: Documents
    .
  19. Click "
    Add Matching Rule
    " to add a second set of matching conditions.
  20. Select "Body Text" and "Contains" from the dropdown selectors, then type the
    {storage vault name}
    in the text field. Our example uses
    Offsite Comet Server
    .
  21. Leave Condense Whitespace and Combine Attachments enabled and the matching modifier set to "All."
  22. Step 3: Matching
    The email address will appear different based on your organization name and the name you specified for your check.
    The previous Matching step identifies the incoming email to the Check. The Status step looks for indicators of what type of notification you're receiving (e.g. The job was successfully run, it failed, or there were some issues.) The configuration options you choose can vary considerably, but the approach is the same. The Default Status is what is set when the other Rules in this step don't match. Criteria for the remaining statuses then need to be defined, requiring their own unique one-to-one matches.
  23. Leave the Default Status on "Failure."
  24. The "Success Criteria" section is where you'll set the criteria that will mark an activity as successful.
  25. Click
    Add Success Rule
    .
  26. A successful run of a Comet Protected Item will have the word
    Success
    in the email Subject.
  27. Set the rule to "Subject contains Success" by leaving the default dropdown selections and typing
    Success
    (first letter capitalized) in the empty text field.
  28. The "Warning Criteria" section is where you'll set the criteria that will mark an activity with a warning.
  29. Click
    Add Warning Rule
    .
  30. A warning result of the Comet job notification will have the word
    Warning
    in the email Subject.
  31. Set the rule to "Subject contains Warning" by leaving the default dropdown selections and typing
    Warning
    (first letter capitalized) in the empty text field.
  32. Leave the Condense Whitespace and Combine Attachments checkboxes enabled.
    Step 4: Status
    Notification Fields
    Notifications are simply how you want to be informed of Check Failures, Warnings, and some other Status changes.
    Email, push, chat and other software can be integrated as well as ticketing systems, allowing for automatic ticket creation and management.
    Further configuration is required for each to function and is done via the Notifications tab in the main menu. They can be configured before or after Check creation.
    For more understanding of Notification setup, see the CheckCentral Beginner's Guide (Notifications).
  33. Select the desired means of Notification. If in doubt of the selections here, leave the defaults.
  34. From the Save tab, click the "Save Check" button.
  35. Now that our Check is created, we'll need to configure Comet to send emails to CheckCentral for this user (User01). In the Comet admin interface, go to Accounts > Users > User01, and add the CheckCentral email address you copied earlier. Make sure to click the "Save Changes" button.
  36. Comet Interface
  37. Manually run your Comet Protected Item.
  38. Comet Interface
  39. After the job is done running, refresh your Dashboard. The Check will have a new Status indicator for the recent activity.
  40. CheckCentral Dashboard
    Clicking that recent indicator will display the email contents in a modal dialog.
    Comet Email
For more detail on Check creation and best practices, see our Check Creation Guide.
For other guides and support contact information, see CheckCentral Support

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!

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 and 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

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.

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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