Every IT infrastructure comprises software and hardware components that work hand in hand to form a network that delivers a desired service. To ensure the infrastructure’s performance is optimized at all times, this network must be monitored proactively.
Potential network issues must be detected and fixed ahead of time to avoid data sharing failure or other network-related issues, hence the need for network monitoring services.
What is Network Monitoring?
Network monitoring refers to the process of monitoring all the components of a computer network to ensure optimal performance and availability. Typical examples of network components are routers, switches, servers, modems, bridges, firewalls, and VMs.
Network monitoring services are services geared towards network monitoring so that computer network problems are avoided, and performance is optimized. It typically requires using hardware and software monitoring systems to track network operations, such as traffic and bandwidth utilization.
Network Monitoring Services Benefits
Network monitoring services offer tremendous benefits for computer networks, such as:
Clear visibility into the network
Network administrators allow organizations to clearly see all the devices connected in their network and the traffic traveling through them. This helps to ensure that each device is used within its limits to avoid device or system breakdown, which may result in extra costs of repair.
From communication to data sharing, businesses today have become largely dependent on the internet. Certain services like SaaS, ISPs, CDNs, UCaaS, VPNs and many upcoming ones depend primarily on the internet, thus increasing network complexity.
Increased network complexity makes the IT infrastructure prone to poor performance. However, with network performance monitoring, each component will be adequately monitored and optimized so that the entire system performs.
Better Use of IT Resources
Building a highly productive enterprise requires maximum use of all resources, including IT resources. Proper network management allows businesses to derive more benefits from IT and reduce manual work where necessary, helping employees focus more and perform better.
Early Insight into Future Infrastructure Needs
Using data gathered from network components’ performances from the past and present, administrators can predict future infrastructure needs and fulfill them. Network monitoring solutions can as well be provided for possible future network challenges based on deductions from the analyzed performance data.
Ability To Identify Security Threats Faster
Any threat to the network is a threat to the entire IT infrastructure because the network is the lifeline of every IT infrastructure. Proper monitoring helps to identify security threats earlier so that enterprises can take timely action to halt the attacks and prevent the loss of sensitive data.
Protocols for Network Monitoring
The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an application-layer protocol that’s widely used for maintaining network elements by monitoring system status and configuration. It deploys a call-and-response system to exchange and extract management data which is then used to determine the status of devices, such as modems, printers, switches, etc.
Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) focuses on error reporting when devices fail to transfer data successfully. Routers, servers, and several other network devices rely on this protocol to report errors and device failures.
Cisco Discovery Protocols
The Cisco Discovery Protocol works specifically for Cisco devices and is a Layer 2 proprietary protocol. Cisco devices (including switches, routers, and modems) have Cisco default-enabled on them and operate on LAW and WAN media, thus making them easily manageable with this protocol. Network monitors use Cisco to discover Cisco devices and monitor their efficiency in the network.
ThousandEyes Synthet ICS
ThousandEyes Synthetics refers to an internet-aware synthetic monitoring that mirrors the path users take when interacting with a network component such as an application. This enables the proactive detection of potential network issues and the provision of solutions to counter them.
How To Perform Network Monitoring Effectively?
Effective network monitoring involves cutting off redundant loads and tasks so that the system focuses on delivering quality services. It helps to ensure that an organization’s IT infrastructure performs well so that users can comfortably rely on the system.
To perform network monitoring effectively, one must:
Monitor only the essentials – not all devices require round-the-clock monitoring. Essentials like servers, routers, and switches should get more attention than less crucial ones like printers.
Optimize the monitoring interval – choose the right interval for which each device should be monitored to get the best results.
Choose the right protocol – each protocol has its strengths and limitations, but you want to choose a secure and non-bandwidth-consuming network management protocol to avoid interrupting network performance.
Set thresholds – this helps you take a proactive approach to network issues so that you won’t have to wait until users report network failure before detecting something wrong.
Factors to Consider While Monitoring The Network
Flexibility in network monitoring enables administrators to visualize important network metrics from any component or device at a glance.
The right network monitoring tool for a network should be highly available to report any irregularities or issues. You don’t want to deploy a monitoring tool that will often, as this can leave your network unmonitored for a long time.
As business demands increase, monitoring needs may rise. Your ideal monitoring tool should be scalable so that it extends its scope of monitoring without breaking down.
Monitoring your network should enforce your cybersecurity and reduce the risks of attacks. You should consider monitoring tools that enhance security and do not create loopholes through which malicious actors can penetrate.
Network monitoring tools should be compatible with multiple vendors for effective performance as today’s network environment are more hybrid.
How To Choose a Network Monitoring Solution?
There are different ways of monitoring a network, and choosing the right monitoring solution means a better-performing network and greater ROI for your business.
Automated solutions are the best for network monitoring, and they come in different types. To choose the right network monitoring solution, consider the following:
- Advanced reporting
- In-depth visualization
- Automatic device configuration
- Performance monitoring
- Quicker fault resolution
With proper network monitoring, your IT infrastructure will deliver seamless service with little to no downtime, helping you build a reputation for reliability and excellent service. By choosing the right tool to monitor your network, you can rest assured that your devices are in safe hands and will deliver optimal performance at all times.
Written by – Mr. Adam Pittman