In today’s hyper-connected business landscape, network performance can significantly impact your bottom line. With the increasing complexity and scale of IT environments, effective network monitoring is no longer optional—it’s a must.
6 Network Monitoring Tips For Success
Given the complexity and sheer scale of contemporary IT environments, effective network monitoring is not just advantageous but a fundamental necessity. Here, we provide a concrete set of suggestions to help businesses refine their network monitoring practices.
- Choosing the Appropriate Monitoring Tools
At the heart of effective network monitoring are the tools that do the heavy lifting—collecting data, providing alerts, and helping diagnose issues. But all tools are not created equal, and choosing one that fits your business requirements is crucial.
Don’t merely opt for a one-size-fits-all solution or the latest tool in the market. Instead, consider your network size, the type of devices in your IT ecosystem, and the level of detail you need in your reports. Seek out customizable tools that can adapt to your network’s unique needs and grow with your business.
There are lots of different monitoring protocol options out there. But two of the best are SNMP and NetFlow. As John Diamond, Senior Solutions Architect at Park Place Technologies, explains, there’s actually a business case for using both.
“SNMP is a protocol that allows you to understand what the equipment you’re monitoring is. How it’s configured (using different SNMP versions), and then from a resource utilization standpoint, it will give you indications of how much processor and memory resources are being used,” Diamond explains.
Then you have Netflow, which essentially adds the other half of the equation and gives businesses a well-rounded set of monitoring tools.
As Diamond puts it, “NetFlow allows you to understand the nature of the traffic flowing through the interfaces on the devices. It’ll give you an idea of the top conversations, the application mix, and where you’ve got an overloaded interface.”
- Setting Up Efficient Alert Systems
To quickly resolve network issues, you first need to be aware they exist, and that’s where an effective alert system comes in. The right alert system promptly informs your IT team of any network anomalies. However, be wary of creating an overly sensitive system that triggers alerts for inconsequential issues, resulting in “alert fatigue.”
It’s essential to configure alert thresholds strategically—set them too low, and you risk missing crucial events; set them too high, and you might be inundated with irrelevant notifications. The key is to balance sensitivity with specificity, alerting your team to significant events while avoiding unnecessary noise.
- Conducting Regular Network Audits
A well-oiled machine needs regular check-ups, and your network is no different. Regular network audits help identify potential vulnerabilities and bottlenecks before they can cause serious issues. These audits should comprehensively review all network components—hardware, software, configurations, and security protocols.
The frequency of these audits may vary based on the size and complexity of your network. Still, as a rule of thumb, they should be carried out at least twice a year to keep your network performance optimal.
- Implementing Predictive Analytics
Being reactive isn’t enough in 2023; you must also be proactive. Predictive analytics allows you to do just that. By analyzing historical data and applying machine learning algorithms, predictive analytics can forecast potential network failures, allowing you to address them before they occur. Additionally, predictive analytics can provide valuable insights into network usage patterns, helping you optimize resource allocation and plan for future capacity needs.
- Ensuring Adequate Staff Training
Even the most sophisticated monitoring tools are ineffective without a competent team to leverage them. Therefore, investing in your IT team’s training and development is essential. Make sure they are familiar with the features and functionalities of your chosen monitoring tool. Encourage them to stay abreast of the latest industry trends and best practices. Remember, the success of your network monitoring efforts hinges significantly on the capabilities of your IT team.
- Documenting Your Network Monitoring Processes
Documentation is an often overlooked but crucial component of network monitoring. A comprehensive documentation process ensures your team knows the specifics of your network—its architecture, configuration, installed software, and security protocols.
Good documentation also provides a clear roadmap for troubleshooting network issues, which is particularly useful during high-pressure situations. Furthermore, it aids in training new team members and ensures continuity of operations even when there’s staff turnover.
Adding it All Up
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into successful network monitoring. But if you’re willing to pay close attention to the details and put a streamlined system into place, good things can happen. Stay open to new ideas and continue to iterate!