Top 5 Common Network Monitoring Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)
Top 5 common network monitoring mistakes (and how to fix them)
Most of us know that monitoring the company network is necessary for keeping business running, preventing outages, and maintaining healthy network security. Still, plenty of businesses wind up suffering incredibly disruptive network failures, usually because of simple mistakes. Network monitoring mistakes are easier to make than you might think, and the consequences can be pretty severe. Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of five of the most common (but critical) network monitoring mistakes made by network admins and analysts commonly – and how to prevent them altogether.
Mistake #1: Overlooking the fact that the network is a service 👨💻📈
At one point in history, the network was viewed much like an electricity utility company: it was there, and if it went down, it went down. Today, with the world gone digital, the prevalence of mobility, and the unyielding reliance on applications, the network is a component of daily business operations.
Network teams need to recognize the paradigm shift. They are no longer simply network admins, just like the network isn’t simply a utility. Instead, the network team of today is a service provider, and the network is a premium service; one that must be operated holistically…not by device, port, or circuit.
It’s not uncommon for network admins today to view network operations as a daily activity – one that just requires them to make sure networking devices are operating, checking monitoring dashboards here and there to confirm no conspicuous issues exist. Today, you’ve got to look at the network as a whole and be able to identify whether problems are present unbeknownst to you or your team.
✅How to fix it: It all starts with changing the cultural perception of the network. From there, be sure to use the right comprehensive monitoring tool that will allow you to cover every component of the network.
For example: To an admin, a minor port problem might not seem like a big deal, but to a user on the network, their end user experience on the application they’re using includes delays and glitches.
Your network monitoring solution of choice should enable you to create a service model that allows you to view the network in detail and at a high level.
Mistake #2 Not understanding what you have on your network 👁🗨❌
It’s easy to oversimplify the breadth of devices connected to the network but failing to monitor even one device is a mistake that can wind up hurting your organization in the long run by causing bandwidth to suffer, impacting daily operations, and potentially introducing security threats.
✅How to fix it: Network admins and analysts, take heed: you must ensure your network management system will provide you with a full view of the network’s status. Review the network management system’s configuration to ensure that all devices are being monitored. Configure the system to automatically perform regular scans to discovery new devices as part of your standard security measures. If necessary, expand the network management team to ensure you have enough people watching each part of the network. Comprehensiveness is key.
Mistake #3 Forgetting about the care and feeding of applications 🍼🖥
It’s easy to focus your energy on the network solely, but it’s of the utmost importance to understand the full end-to-end components of your application stack. You must be aware of new application rollouts, what your applications do, and the load they put on the network.
For example: Let’s say you rollout a database heavy application that moves a lot of data from one site to another continuously. How does that impact the network? Will it cause an overload?
✅How to fix it: Network admins must be involved in application rollouts early in the process and communicate with application teams accordingly. Refer to network device logs when necessary and remember that application monitoring should ideally be part of your network monitoring tooling.
Mistake #4 Failing to identify misconfigurations within the IT environment ⚠
Another common pitfall is failing to identify a misconfiguration within your IT environment, which can inevitably cause major problems in the network.
For example: Consider a case example of a real Park Place customer. This particular customer was using an inordinate amount of bandwidth, causing network performance to suffer, but was unable to figure out why.
After implementing network flow analysis using NetFlow, they discovered an internal IP address that was consuming most of the bandwidth. They traced this to a server running a centralized antivirus solution in their headquarters, misconfigured to send out updates to every single client over the internet. After the misconfiguration was corrected, they were able to reduce bandwidth utilization for their internet circuits and free up capacity, eliminating the need to order additional bandwidth from their service provider.
✅How to fix it: Network configuration monitoring and management should be part of your network management tooling. Use it to keep an eye on every network device through every stage of its lifecycle. Even one error in a line of configuration can cause devastation, which is why keeping network management under control is extremely important. Anytime there’s a change to a network device, you should know about it.
Mistake #5 Falling behind when network monitoring technologies evolve 🕰💨
As networking technologies evolve, the monitoring technologies evolve with them, offering even better visibility. When you fail to adopt new monitoring technologies as they’re released by monitoring vendors, you’ll be met with more network problems than solutions. It’s easy to get comfortable with a certain tool or solutions suite, but this can put you behind the curve, put your network at risk.
✅How to fix it: Keep up to date with software updates and upgrades, first and foremost – and hardware, too. Always keep your finger on the industry network monitoring pulse and be aware of the offerings that are available. As your company evolves, your needs do too. If, for instance, you’re relying on a freeware monitoring solution but you’re experiencing a period of growth, it’s best to start exploring other options before it’s too late.