3 easy ways to solve downtime headaches with network monitoring

Every business must adhere to a guaranteed level of service that's agreed upon within client contracts. For many technology services, this means providing 99.999 percent uptime, the gold standard for ensuring reliable, continuous accessibility to critical business functions. However, disasters come in a number of forms and can severely impact an organization's ability to recover quickly and resume operations.

With the price of downtime climbing, it's essential for companies to have a solution in place that will help prevent and bounce back from these situations. Network monitoring can solve downtime headaches in three key ways:

1. Proactive maintenance

Within an organization, it can be difficult to monitor and maintain each active endpoint. There could be some devices that need repairs or other upkeep that are simply going by the wayside due to prioritized activities and other business endeavors. The longer that hardware goes unmaintained, the worse it will be when it fails. Hardware failure is a major source of downtime as well as data loss, making it particularly important to watch for any signs of unusual behavior or routine care needs.

Network monitoring gathers information about the infrastructure 24/7, and will send alerts to teams concerning any irregularities within the system. Real-time information from this solution will help address any issues immediately, minimizing potential damage and costs, Wired contributor Kornelius Brunner noted. Teams can also use network monitoring to proactively identify when equipment needs routine maintenance or has a deteriorating part.

Network monitoring can help ensure proactive maintenance.Network monitoring can help ensure proactive maintenance

2. Metrics tracking

Even when business operations are flowing smoothly, network monitoring tools are tracking the infrastructure's performance and a number of other key metrics. Utilization, for example, can significantly affect the network's performance. Organizations must closely watch when network utilization increases and how much is being used. This information can be used to scale the network as needed and ensure that performance levels are maintained.

Businesses can track a wide variety of metrics to reduce costs and provide reliable performance. TechTarget contributor Jamie Lerner noted that metrics from network monitoring solutions can also help calculate ROI based on expense avoidance and revenue generation. Proactive maintenance can help reduce diagnostic and repair costs, as well as maximize productivity, leading to increased overall revenue opportunities.

"Network monitoring enables you to get in front of your schedule rather than be controlled by unplanned network events," Lerner wrote. "And because it provides real metrics, you can more easily align IT with business goals. Rather than operating on gut instinct or the squeaky wheel principle, you can link IT assets to business functions through a business process view of your network."

3. Watch all downtime causes

"All causes of downtime must be closely monitored."

Hardware failures are just one means of downtime. There are a number of other factors that must be tracked, and network monitoring hits on many of them. For example, if a humidity sensor malfunctions, this could impact the amount of moisture and static electricity in the air. Information Age noted that even these small sensors must be tracked to ensure they are functioning appropriately and keeping hardware in optimal condition. Network monitoring solutions must also ensure that threats from outside influences are being effectively blocked. All causes of downtime must be closely monitored to minimize the impact of these kinds of events.

Downtime can create significant headaches for businesses, but with network monitoring, it can be avoided. The metrics and proactive maintenance afforded by network monitoring solutions are major benefits to track all causes of downtime and reduce the chances of it occurring. As the cost of downtime continues to rise, businesses should look into network monitoring to solve these issues.

What to consider when selecting a network monitoring tool

The underlying network that supports a company’s most important technologies now represents the lifeblood of a business. This resource helps ensure that applications are accessible, communication is possible and collaboration is supported across the organization. With so much depending on the network, it’s imperative that this system is in top-notch condition at all times.

This is where network monitoring comes into play, helping to ensure performance and prevent network issues. Currently, there are more than a few network monitoring solutions available for enterprises, and it’s important that decision-makers select the one that will best suit their corporation’s needs. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important considerations to make when choosing a network monitoring tool:

Understand what the technology can do

When undertaking this process, it’s helpful to begin with the basics and glean a full understanding of what network monitoring tools do and the benefits they can offer a business.

CIO gathered answers to some of the most pressing network monitoring-related questions and noted that network monitoring helps resolve issues that can impede performance. These solutions monitor traffic and network activity, and can pinpoint problems like slow downloads, suspicious processes and bad connections. The best network monitoring platforms can also send notifications to a company’s IT team to ensure they are aware of any issues and are in the best position to address them.

This technology is able to monitor all servers, routers, switches and devices connected to the network. What’s more, an array of different network types can be monitored, including local area, wide area and wireless networks. In this way, no matter what type of system underpins the business’s IT architecture, a network monitoring solution can provide the critical oversight network administrators need.

Network monitoring solutions can help support security and performance. Network monitoring solutions can help support security and performance.

All-in-one or add-on customizability

It’s also imperative to take a look at the capabilities each potential network monitoring solution can provide. There are different kinds of systems available, including those that come as all-in-one solutions, support an array of functions or provide base-level capabilities and can be customized with feature add-ons.

This choice will hinge upon your organization’s requirements as well as internal expertise. An all-in-one solution can prevent deployment challenges and ensure the business’s technology is up and running as quickly as possible. Add-on solutions, on the other hand, are typically more complex and demand a significant level of knowledge to support proper integration. These also offer more opportunities for tailored configuration. If your business has a capable, talented IT team on hand, an add-on solution may be more attractive. Smaller companies with less internal expertise are usually more well-suited for all-in-one solutions that don’t require as much interaction.

Hardware considerations

Another important factor to keep in mind is the type of hardware included in the company’s network architecture. TechRepublic contributor Nick Hardiman pointed out that some organizations may have specialized components within their infrastructure, or other instruments that demand unique considerations. Decision-makers should connect with IT stakeholders to ensure that the solution they select will match the company’s hardware needs.

“One of the most attractive capabilities of any network monitoring tool is the ability to notify IT staff of any problems.”

Alerting features

One of the most attractive capabilities of any network monitoring tool is the ability to notify IT staff members of any problems or suspicious activity. In order to support this critical function, it’s important to look for monitoring solutions that include customizable notification settings that will align with IT employees’ processes. For instance, it is helpful to be able to leverage an array of alerting types like email and text messaging to ensure that network admins always have the visibility and oversight they need.

Proactive network monitoring from ISG Technology

ISG is a leader in network technologies, and our Net Alert solution represents the gold standard in network monitoring. Net Alert provides real-time notifications sent by our expert technicians as well as custom reports unique to your company’s network. With our seamless integration and proactive approach, your IT team will be in the best position to consistently understand the health and condition of your mission-critical network.

To find out more, check out our solution page and contact us today.