Table of Contents
- Common Performance Issues
- Network Metrics to Monitor
- Implementing Monitoring Practices
- How MetricFire Can Help!
All networks, no matter how sophisticated, are vulnerable to attack from outsiders. They can also face compromise from poor program integration, outdated software, lagging connections, and insufficient bandwidth. These issues impede the efficiency of your workforce and can frustrate clients who depend on reaching you through reliable communication methods.
A technologically advanced network needs constant attention to run at peak efficiency. This type of monitoring means using the right tools and creating an IT strategy. Fortunately, you can ensure your network’s health by embracing the best practices in this area.
Common Performance Issues
Buying the best equipment doesn’t protect your company from serious problems. Networks can suffer from an array of issues, but some of the most common performance issues include:
- Poor network visibility: You may not be able to see your network problems because you do not have proper monitoring capability. Your system can malfunction for hours before you are aware of what's happening.
- Misconfigured devices: New additions to your system can impede network function if you do not install and configure the devices correctly. The internet of things (IoT), or widespread connectivity, has improved business workflows but has also complicated your IT infrastructure.
- Failure to be proactive: To keep your network running well, you need to anticipate issues and not just react to them. A reactive policy means hours of more downtime each year.
- Not identifying root problems: You may fix problems as they arise without finding their root cause. This situation is like treating the symptoms without diagnosing the disease. Problems will keep recurring until you understand the cause.
You need to have a clear monitoring protocol in place using advanced software. That enables you to know exactly what is going on in your network and why. Solid network management depends on reliable performance data.
Network Metrics to Monitor
When establishing your monitoring practices, you need to consider which performance metrics to measure. Use these to establish acceptable baseline performance standards. The following are some basic metrics to gather.
- Bandwidth usage: The maximum rate your system can transmit data. If you reach critical levels of bandwidth usage, your system will be overloaded and impaired.
- Connectivity: Your network contains nodes or points of connection. If the connections between these points are not working properly, your system will not function adequately. You need to monitor this metric to identify issues such as a broken connection or malware.
- Availability: Also known as uptime, availability means that your network is working and your employees can access it. If your system routinely experiences downtime, or periods when your network is not available, your productivity and profits can take a major hit.
- Packet loss: This metric measures how many data packets are "dropped" during your network's data transmissions. The more data packets lost, the longer it takes to fulfill data requests. Monitoring this metric allows your IT professionals to improve your network’s processing speed.
These are some basic metrics your system needs to monitor to correct performance issues, but your industry may require a customized approach that companies like MetricFire can deliver.
Implementing Monitoring Practices
You have invested significant resources in building your company's network. Keeping it up-to-date and well-maintained is essential to protecting this investment. You must go far beyond eyeing disk space, CPU performance, and IP address issues. It's crucial also to establish an in-depth monitoring system.
Failure to monitor your network will cost you lost time and profits. You cannot afford to take a piecemeal approach to network health. Instead, establish a comprehensive monitoring program to meet the many challenges that your system faces. At a minimum, your monitoring program should employ the following steps.
Install Sophisticated Monitoring Tools
Monitoring your system without the proper tools simply will not work. You cannot expect your IT department to catch every problem, even if they watch your network every day, all day. Advanced network monitoring tools, such as MetricFire's Hosted Prometheus, Hosted Graphite and Hosted Grafana, create a more effective network.
Because network systems continue to become more complex, incorporating this new technology is not optional. Without it, you cannot compete with others in your industry.
Monitor Incoming Traffic
Remote work had become more popular in the last decade. The rise of remote workers means that simply tracking local data transfers is no longer enough. Depending on the size of your company, you may have dozens of employees remotely accessing your system during each workday.
To protect your company, you need to track all the traffic that comes onto your network. You need to be certain that your firewalls are adequate to deter hackers. Otherwise, you are leaving your data open to being hacked or ransomed. These situations leave your company vulnerable to lawsuits and client loss.
Universal Remote Device Monitoring
Your company's network probably contains devices from many manufacturers that have different hardware and firmware. Your network depends on routers, laptops, tablets, printers, and more daily. No company can afford to monitor and repair these devices using dozens of different platforms.
Your network monitoring tools need the capacity to identify and repair issues no matter the device's origin. The right monitoring system includes remote agents that relay information to a centralized platform that analyzes this multi-source data. In short, you need a single all-device service destination.
Real-time Network Performance Monitoring
Your monitoring strategy should not simply identify network issues. It needs to identify them in real-time so that you can fix problems before they become critical. The right tools will alert you to issues almost immediately so that your IT team can fix them before they lead to expensive downtime.
Historical monitoring means you will eventually learn of these issues but not before they have had time to wreak havoc on your network. Real-time monitoring prevents escalation of these issues by alerting you almost instantly.
Track Video and Voice Performance
Nearly every company now relies on some voice and video conferencing. The Zoom era has meant this technology is essential for remote workers to participate in strategy meetings, client meetings, and corporate workshops. Your productivity takes a real hit when these services perform badly or fail.
Services like video calls and VoIP can drain your network's bandwidth. Low bandwidth can lead to poor online communications and cause issues with the rest of your network. When you hit critical bandwidth usage, all of your operations are in trouble.
Your network management tools should let you track this usage so you can see how these video and voice services affect your network. You can then work to repair any problems.
Your monitoring software will include an element of automation. Many vendors routinely automate certain tasks such as pinging devices. These services save you time and help identify and fix routine issues. Automation can also trigger failover mode so that your network does not lose functionality.
However, automation gives you less control. You need to establish your comfort level with these processes and make certain your network can handle them. Depending on your industry, you may welcome a high level of automated intervention that can keep your company working without long interruptions.
Fix Issues Remotely
Your system should also allow you to fix any issues remotely. When you install agents on network devices, they allow users to fix issues without having to visit the office. A remote network monitoring system allows the network administrators to correct performance issues from a remote location. This ability ensures your employees do not lose uptime by encountering a downed system when they arrive for work.
Because you can fix these problems remotely, you can also keep your in-person staff safer by not exposing them to more people than necessary. The age of COVID-19 is not over, and you will need to keep safeguards in place for some time. Limiting in-person contact may become a standard way of doing business.
How MetricFire Can Help!
MetricFire has a network monitoring solution that will keep your system healthy and functioning at its highest level. Our team of experts understands your specific needs and can recommend the open-source network monitoring tools that will work best in your situation.
Our elite suite of products can help you monitor server load, bandwidth, remote network access, and other important metrics. Our software systems can remotely diagnose and repair issues as they happen. No waiting until "crisis moment," when your system crashes, causing expensive and non-productive downtime.
MetricFire handles cloud monitoring at any scale and provides a complete infrastructure and application monitoring platform that fits your network. Our skilled consultants offer you fair and transparent pricing as well as a free trial when you book a demo.