Using external services to distribute alerts
Email remains the primary notification media (with SMS and push notifications coming next). However, email may be not the most convenient means to get notified quickly. Anyone can set up mail server and accept messages, without being stuck with any particular service or provider. However, that primary email advantage doesn’t play well when we need to get notified, for example, via mobile device.
IPHost alerts can consist of many simpler notification actions (named “simple actions” in the user interface). By interacting with external messaging services, it is possible to cover all possible means to deliver an important alert to multiple destinations, all within the same IPHost alert.
In the below list, several cases of such a notification are mentioned. Some of them may require payment (and are mentioned as such).
SMS (via Twilio)
SMS (Short Message Service) is one of most popular means of notification on mobile devices. By default, most mobile operators provide so called email to SMS gateway, a special type of SMS address that forwards all incoming email as SMS to target recipient. IPHost uses “SMS over email” simple actions to send notifications via such gateways.
However, many “email to SMS” services are prone to being abused by spammers (since the structure of email address is usually obvious), thus not every mobile operator provide that. In such a case, network services allowing sending SMS can be used (most of these services are paid-for; those that can be used for free are less reliable and usually impose severe limits on amount of outbound SMS messages).
We provide an article on sending SMS notifications by means of Twilio service (one can use free account to test the service).
Amazon Simple Notification Service
Amazon AWS, the biggest (at the moment) cloud services platform, provides Simple Notification Service (SNS), a pub-sub type of service, capable of delivering messages posted by providers to subscribers. Since the subscriber types include posting HTTP(S) request, executing Amazon AWS Lambda functions, pushing message into Simple Queues Service, sending email or SMS – it allows virtually arbitrary reaction to a monitoring event.
For example, a monitoring event indicating failure of an AWS-hosted service can trigger restoring the service from backup or a similar maintenance task.
For your convenience, we have a sample instruction on how to send alert notification via Amazon SNS.
Note: SNS is capable of sending push notifications and SMS messages, as well – please refer to corresponding pricing info on the SNS site.
Slack, a multi-platform collaborative service, is known since 2013. Since it’s widely used in business processes, it’s a natural target for sending monitoring notifications. One doesn’t have to use paid-for Slack subscription to post monitoring events, thus it can increase awareness of whatever problem may happen to the assets.
We provide detailed step-by-step instructions on sending alert notifications to a Slack channel.
Telegram platform, known since 2013, is a set of multi-platform messaging services (including text messages, voice calls and video posts). It’s lightweight and can be considered secure enough for most communication types. Since 2015 Telegram platform support bots, which made it possible to automate sending messages to Telegram groups.
We offer a simple step-by-step instructions set on posting alert notifications to Telegram group.
Our knowledge base contains integration instructions for Stride, Microsoft Teams, HipChat (note that some mentioned platforms are not active anymore; we provide integration instructions for historical reasons). We add more integration instructions, as time goes by. In case you can suggest a particular service type you wish to use (or are already using) to post IPHost alert notifications to, please let us know – we will be glad to create corresponding document for your convenience.
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