Networks are the backbone of any organization as it helps different devices communicate with each other. Since they are a mission-critical part of your organization, it's important to stay on top of their performance at all times.
As a network admin/engineer, you'll have to stay on top of your network's health and performance. You have to identify issues and fix them before they impact your wider organization, besides reporting, compliance, and handling SLAs. If all this sounds overwhelming, don't worry as many tools and platforms can help you with this.
Read on as we show how to handle network device monitoring within your organization using advanced platforms.
What do Network Device Monitoring Platforms do?
Network device monitoring platforms are responsible for monitoring different parameters related to your devices and networks and comparing them against the established baselines. In case of deviations, the platforms send an alert to you and provide the context of the issue, so you can fix them at the earliest.
To explain, every network device monitoring platform performs five core functions, and they are:
- Discovers Devices As a first step, every platform discovers devices in your network. It even classifies devices based on their functionality such as routers, switches, servers, and more. Some platforms go beyond identifying devices and even map dependencies and interconnections.
- Creates a Map After identifying the devices, it creates a visual map of your entire network. This will make it easy for you to identify vulnerabilities and the context of the issue, so they can be fixed right away. Further, such visualizations provide the current status of your network.
- Monitors the Network This is the central function that's performed by every network device monitoring platform, though the efficacy can vary among them. Essentially, these platforms look at every aspect of the health and performance of your network. It even keeps an eye out on hardware devices such as fans, memory, CPU, and more.
- Sends Notifications The network monitoring platform compares the monitored values against the established thresholds and in case of deviations, notifies you through many channels such as email, Slack, text, and more. It depends on how you configure your alerts.
- Generates Reports The last function of these network monitoring platforms is to generate the reports needed for compliance and auditing. Most of these platforms generate comprehensive reports that work well for both internal and external audiences.
Thus, these are the core functionalities that you will find across most network device monitoring platforms. But, the exact functions and features will vary from platform to platform. Depending on your business needs and your IT infrastructure, you may need some specific features. So, make sure you choose a network device monitoring solution that best fits your needs.
Now comes another important question. Why should you choose a network device monitoring solution in the first place?
Benefits of a Network Device Monitoring Solution
Here are some of the benefits of a network device monitoring solution and the reasons to have them as a part of your IT infrastructure.
No Expertise is Required
The biggest advantage of network device monitoring platforms is that no additional expertise is required. This means you don't have to hire resources with expertise in SNMP or MIBs. All that you have to do is install the platform if it's for on-prem monitoring and start using it. If you choose a cloud-based monitoring solution, simply get a license, and you're good to go.
As soon as you start the network device monitoring platform, it will automatically discover devices, map them together, and will start monitoring their performance. Some platforms can even make intelligent and proactive suggestions on how to get more out of devices.
These platforms are highly comprehensive and can span across your entire infrastructure. They can monitor a wide range of devices such as switches, routers, servers, desktops, and more. Most platforms also work well across different operating systems. It even monitors how your devices communicate and whether these channels are working at optimum levels.
Also, these platforms provide high levels of visibility into what's happening within your network, so even the smallest changes are quickly brought to your notice.
These platforms monitor your network and its devices continuously, and in the process, identify even the smallest deviations and threats that can negatively impact your organization. More importantly, it can provide the context for each vulnerability, so it can be fixed quickly and easily. Needless to say, you save a lot of time and resources to fix the vulnerabilities. It also boosts the overall security of your organization.
Streamlines Resource Utilization
Network device monitoring platforms stay on top of your bandwidth utilization, device availability, and other pertinent parameters to give you a good idea of how much resources are currently being consumed. You can benchmark these values to plan for future capacity planning as well. Historical data can also be used to make your point regarding system and network updates.
More importantly, you can use this information to better optimize your resources and improve the overall efficiency of your operations.
Reporting and Compliance
These platforms come with many reporting templates that can be used for a wide range of internal and external auditing purposes. Further, the historical data stored in these platforms can also be used to better understand the trends and performances of your network.
Along with reporting, these platforms help with compliance as well. In particular, this can be a game-changer for those industries that require mandatory compliance with HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and more.
If you're a service provider, you'll have to meet some mandatory SLAs that were agreed with your clients. Network device monitoring platforms can help you achieve these SLAs. Continuous monitoring of your network prevents unexpected outages. Also, regular monitoring can throw up warning signs that could indicate a deeper device failure or network problem. Addressing them early and quickly greatly reduces the chances of downtime.
Such proactive fixes will also reduce the number of support calls and the costs associated with them.
An unnoticed advantage of network monitoring devices is their role in calculating the returns on your investment. When you deploy new technologies, you can use these platforms to better understand their impact on your overall network, and accordingly, you can decide if you must go ahead in a particular direction.
Thus, these are some of the benefits that come with network device monitoring platforms.
In all, network device monitoring tools perform a wide range of functions within your infrastructure such as discovering devices, mapping their connections, monitoring their performance, sending alert notifications and the context of the issue, and generating reports. Some platforms go beyond these core functionalities and can also offer specific features that meet your business objectives.
Overall, these also offer a ton of benefits for your organization, ranging from identifying security threats to preventing downtime, and more. It even provides the necessary data for making decisions related to capacity planning and introducing new technologies. Plus, they help with compliance as well.
Due to all these factors, network device monitoring platforms can make a big difference to your organization, and hence, they must be a critical part of your IT infrastructure.