IT Security News & Blog

Using IFTTT to Monitor Servers and Network Devices

Posted: 26 July 2018

Being a bit of a technology philistine at home, I was only recently enlightened to the joys of IFTTT technology and how it is powering home automation and other integrations. I have to admit, as much as I prefer to leave IT to my day job, I was intrigued at the possibilities it could open up; and even more so, how this could benefit organisations.

Let's start from the beginning.

 

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT or If This Then That, is a free web-based applet system which lets you create conditional statements and resultant actions from normally unlinked devices, services and applications. It's a bit difficult to explain without the use of an example, so how about this...when you leave your place of work and start your journey home, the location services on your phone can recognise this condition and use IFTTT to tell your internet connected home heating system to turn on the heating system. Once you get within a mile of your house, the same location services could use IFTTT to request your internet connected coffee machine to prepare a beverage.

It all sounds a little novelty, until I noticed that in the 2018 SP1 release of network monitoring solution Ipswitch WhatsUp gold, the forward-thinking developers of this industry leading solution had added an IFTTT action. Leading me to wonder, how this could be leveraged for something meaningful in the network monitoring world.

WhatsUp Gold IFTTT Action

I decided to explore a very basic use case, whereby I would have a notification display on my iPhone when an administrator would log onto a server, as a first dive into this new world.

 

Getting an IFTTT Webhook Key

First thing first I needed to create an account on the IFTTT website, which i was able to do by using my Facebook account as a federated identity provider. I also downloaded the free app from the iOS store onto my iPhone and logged in using the same account.

From the website, I located the webhooks service from the services menu and access the webhook settings. This reveals my unique webhook key which WhatsUp gold will use to send a notification. I copied this to notepad for later use when configuring WhatsUp Gold.

WhatsUp Gold IFTTT Webhook

 

Configuring IFTTT in WhatsUp Gold

With my webhook key ready, I opened up my WhatsUp Gold console and went to the Actions and Policies menu to create a new "post to IFTTT" action.

Here I gave my action a name to identify it when i assigned it to a monitor later; a description; the webhook key which was saved into notepad earlier; and an event name which would uniquely identify this event to the IFTTT webhook when it is triggered.

Do you use a network monitoring solution? Take a look at our blog entitled "Ten Reasons why Network Monitoring Software is a Must Have".

WhatsUp Gold Actions and Alerts

The value 1, 2 and 3 fields are variables which you can carry into the IFTTT webhook and use as part of the resultant action. In my case i wanted to identify the server the alert related to using value 2 and a static notification in value 3.

Once complete, I saved the action and applied to to a passive monitor I had created earlier which looks for Windows event ID 4624 for logon events; and the administrator account as the user ID.

Want to learn more about network monitoring solutions? Take a look at our definitive guide to network monitoring and incident response

 

Completing the Webhook Configuration

With the event name and value parameters configured in WhatsUp Gold, I needed to give this information to the IFTTT webhook so that it knows which conditions to look for and what to display in the iPhone notification.

Using the IFTTT six step wizard, the condition was configured as the event name, which in my case was "AdminLogon"; the resultant action was an app notification; and the message to be displayed was the hostname of the device from value 2 with the static message in value 3.

Ipswitch WhatsUp Goold IFTTT Webhook Configuration

 

Generating an Alert

All that was left was to log onto the server using the administrator account to generate the alert.

The result was a very prompt notification on my iPhone screen.

Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold IFTTT iPhone Notification

So there you have it, IFTTT being used by a network monitoring tool to report to a phone about an event being logged on a device. My example was basic and very specific but the options are wide open.

It is currently estimated that there are over 20 million of these recipes being created by IFTTT users every day, with connections from home automation systems, electronic devices, vehicles, social media sites, communication tools, calendars, email accounts and even Amazon Alexa.

In this brave new world of connectivity, even organisations and company networks can take advantage of this revolution for better notification and incident response across their networks.

Are you interested in how you could use IFTTT for network device and server monitoring? Book a call with one of our consultants today to learn more about this feature and Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold.

 

Network Monitoring Solution Buyers Guide

Topics: Network Monitoring, Incident Response, WhatsUp Gold, IFTTT

Chris Payne

Written by Chris Payne

Managing Director - Advanced Cyber Solutions