Article

8 Challenges with Network Monitoring: Detecting IT Issues

Highlights from the live webinar
Posted:
January 22, 2017
Webinar recap on how to detect IT issues with network monitoring

 

Does your organization deal with frequent IT issues? Wouldn’t your life be easier if you could detect and resolve issues faster so you could get back to your to-do list?

IT professionals need to be able to respond quickly when there’s any sign of trouble on the network. Too often, though, we don’t find out about a problem until damage has already been done—and then we’re not even sure where to start with resolving the problem.

During the webinar “Where Do I Start? Detecting IT Issues with Network Monitoring,” I shared how anyone who manages IT infrastructure can use network monitoring tools to locate problem devices, troubleshoot issues, and plan ahead to prevent future issues. Here’s a quick summary of my presentation. 

What causes IT outages? 

People make mistakes. It’s difficult to remove the human element entirely from network management. The goal is to alleviate errors as much as possible by using tools and software solutions to help people manage better.

Environmental factors can also lead to outages. If a device is overheating, we need to know and act to keep it up and running. Usually these factors are within our control, but sometimes we don’t have the measures in place to identify concerning environmental conditions.  

Outages can also be caused by device configuration. If a network device is not configured appropriately, it’s likely that it will experience performance problems.

And finally, one of the biggest sources of IT issues is the lack of network visibility. Studies show that visibility is one of the most critical needs of network professionals. When network activity is easy to see, you can take steps to fix it—but when you go in blind, finding and fixing network issues will be a major challenge.

Related Content: The Top 8 Challenges with Network Monitoring 

What’s the cost of downtime?

Not only does your organization lose out on productivity and customer or user satisfaction during downtime, but there’s a hard dollar cost, too. Here are estimates of what outages cost hourly by industry (in U.S. dollars):

  • Brokerage services – 6.48 million
  • Energy – 2.8 million
  • Telecommunications – 2.0 million
  • Manufacturing – 1.6 million
  • Retail – 1.1 million
  • Healthcare – 636,000
  • Media – 90,000

The numbers are a sober reminder that downtime is serious. Whatever the cost of network downtime, most businesses can’t afford it and should do everything they can to prevent it.

Related Content: The ROI of Network Monitoring  

How to diagnose and remediate network issues

Here are some basic places to start troubleshooting IT issues:

Map your network

A live map that shows exactly what’s going on helps you understand how devices are performing. Do it faster and easier with a network topology mapping tool.

Use network monitoring software

Beyond simply having a map, monitoring functionality allows you to identify troubled devices faster. Anytime you’re not physically in front of your map, text or email alerts keep you aware of impending problems.

Check physical connections

A simple but often effective step: check the conditions of your cabling for fraying and to ensure they’re plugged in.

Use simple troubleshooting commands

Using commands like ipconfig/all or ping to quickly get performance information back from devices is a basic step to reveal if you’re dealing with an imminent IT issue.

Remediate automatically 

Don't waste time manually fixing problems that network automation tools can handle. If a service or device fails unexpectedly, self-healing software can trigger commands to fix network issues as soon as an alert is created. 

Invest in managed devices

Identify where your unmanaged devices are, and then if possible, upgrade them with ones that have more manageable capabilities.

Benefits of network monitoring

Don’t have network monitoring software? Not yet convinced that you need it?

Some of the most compelling capabilities a robust solution will provide are:

  • Network visibility and outreach via a map that shows Layer 2 and 3 connections
  • Details on end-to-end automatic network discovery— for instance, do devices support SNMP? Are they ping-able?
  • Reliable network and performance monitoring with up-to-date information on physical conditions, attributes, etc.
  • Current views of critical device/application/interface availability—not five-minute intervals, but in real time
  • Custom alerts and notification management to fit your organization’s preferences
  • Current or future capacity planning assistance so you can deal with growing congestion or prepare for future needs
  • Network automation that ties your monitoring and remediation together for fast, easy resolution of network issues

Network monitoring is a low cost method for high rewards. With the right tools, you can be proactive. No more waiting for issues to happen. And when problems hit, you’re ready and equipped to resolve them so the business can keep thriving.   

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