7 Network Monitoring Basics Every IT Professional Should Know

August 19, 2016
7 basics about network monitoring every IT professional should know

What do high-tech companies, financial organizations, governments, healthcare companies, and small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have in common? They all have a network.

No matter the industry, ensuring network functionality is a critical function of day-to-day operations. Serious network problems—like high bandwidth utilization or broadcast storms—can result in significant downtime and lost productivity.

Whether you’re a new IT professional or seasoned in technology management, here are seven network monitoring basics you should know.

1. Network monitoring does not equal intrusion detection.

Network monitoring is a critical IT process in which your network components are constantly evaluated so you can maintain and optimize their availability.

It’s important not to equate network monitoring with intrusion detection. While intrusion detection refers to broadly surveying the outside of the network to ensure nothing bad gets in, a network monitoring system is primarily devoted to what goes on inside the system. When it comes to this internal task, there are a lot of bases that a monitoring system must cover.

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2. Business networks are expanding, making network monitoring more crucial.

In recent years, the evolving nature of business technology has made networks more important than ever. That's because the past few years have seen a huge rise in tech-forward business deployments like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, cloud technology and the ever-growing presence of the mobile workforce.

All of these technologies represent positive strides for enterprises. Various industrial sectors aren't wasting any time in ensuring they're rolling out the most advanced tech at their disposal. For instance:

3. Network monitoring is a 24/7 affair.

One key point to make about network monitoring is that it's a 24-hour-per-day affair. In this way, monitoring is fundamentally different from a semi-frequent network evaluation. In an optimal monitoring scenario, your product is working to ensure that servers, devices, and applications within an enterprise network are being monitored on a constant basis.

These advancements in different industries point to the expanding role of the business network. But while developments like these are positive steps for business, they also make network oversight more difficult. And that's where network monitoring becomes a key part of the evolving conversation on enterprise networks.

4. Network monitoring provides assurance that network components are up and running.

Within an enterprise, all it can take is an unplanned critical event on a single network component to cause a ripple effect affecting the whole business. For companies that don't have monitoring solutions, the odds of a server experiencing downtime are high.

But by continually testing all the devices within a company, network monitoring can identify problematic functionality issues before they cause a domino effect of dysfunction.

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5. Network monitoring saves time and money.

Businesses that don't use network monitoring solutions are taking a huge gambleone that's likely to end in huge costs. After all, the things that network monitoring helps to prevent, such as server downtime, are exactly the kinds of problems that lead to business downtime. And business downtime equals lost money and productivity. That's why the ROI of network monitoring is so high.

6. Network monitoring reduces mysteries.

Some companies will find themselves asking questions like, "Why is our video conferencing always experiencing issues?" These are the types of mysteries that can be quickly answered with network monitoring tools. Having a clear visual of which devices are up and which are down helps you know exactly where to focus your efforts. Graphs of performance over time also help you identfy problem devices faster. 

7. Network monitoring and mapping is a necessity for every company.

While organizations vary widely in size, scope, and day to day operations, network health is something every organization has to deal with. Whether you’re in finance, government, healthcare, or education, your network is vital to your business success. Likewise, SMBs running lean operations have to keep users and customers happy and are often dealing with smaller IT departments.

Through proactive network management, server/application monitoring, mapping, and capacity planning, software can help you keep the network healthy and dig into problems faster. A top-of-the-line network monitoring software package helps you improve your network availability and and makes your job easier.

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