Network Monitoring Best Practices
June 26, 2020
The critical role of Network Monitoring
Network monitoring is the most essential part of network management. Following network monitoring best practices helps organisations to effectively keep track of the smooth running of their network devices; including routers, load balancers, switches, printers, security cameras and many more.
The need for network monitoring cannot be overemphasized, especially for operation-critical networks. The failure of network devices bring about significant business risks ranging from loss of vital company data to team downtime. One of the most important requirements for a stable IT infrastructure is to ensure the reliable operation of all devices.
Following network monitoring best practices, like following server monitoring best practices, helps organisations to effectively keep track of the smooth running of their network devices; including routers, load balancers, switches, printers, security cameras and many more.
Most network devices are run within more than one intranet (the private network contained within your enterprise). This provides users with two options for your network monitoring:
- Monitoring your network from within your intranet, through locally installed monitoring software, or
- the increasingly option of monitoring from the outside using a Software as a Service (SaaS) based solution.
Deciding which of the options to use depends on your business requirement, as each one has certain advantages to users. Not having a comprehensive network monitoring solution is the biggest mistake to make. Unfortunately, this is often the case due to the complexities of traditional solutions. The modern Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions have proven to be helpful in having critical devices under control within a very short period of time.
Best Practices: What must be achieved with Network Monitoring
Your network monitoring must be active all the time with ongoing, frequent checks, even when no issues are detected. There must be a dashboard that provides you with an overview of the status of your network and devices - even if it only gives you assurance that you are not experiencing any critical issues.
Most companies run more than one network setup - different offices, different locations, on-premise versus cloud networks etc. It is vital that the chosen solution allows you to monitor all these intranets and networks in one unified interface.
The main function of network monitoring, is to alert you as a user, to any disruption or irregularities within your network the minute anything goes wrong - notifying you as soon as anything goes wrong. This enabling you to detect the problem immediately, es users detect the problem early enough, and act fast.
Having a detailed data history, comes in handy most times there are issues with network devices. Whenever you receive a notification indicating that one or more of your network devices are down, going through the data of the past days and hours should be the first course of action. This will help you in determining if the network device failed spontaneously or the problem built up over a period of time.
Studying the patterns shown in the notifications and data history, you can use the knowledge to optimize your network for the long term, through a deep understanding of the failure patterns of your network devices.
Best Practices: How to set up Network Monitoring
Instrumental in effective network management, availability checks should be performed on any network device with an IP address that is important to your operations. Set up these device, e.g switches, routers, load balancers and ensure that the checks are performed regularly and correctly in a timeframe and frequency that is suitable to your requirements.
Alerts and Notifications
Alerts need to reach you anywhere and at any time - the instant that something goes wrong within your network. Your monitoring solution therefore needs to be tied into your preferred communication channels - ranging from emails to customised webhooks.
Regular reports on daily, weekly or monthly basis give you insights into the performance availability and history of your network devices, It further gives you proof of the performance of your system, that will help you with internal compliance, reporting key performance data on your IT operations.
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Author: Tertius Kleinhans