February 3rd, 2020 Read Time: 3 minutes
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Network monitoring software is one of the most important tools a company can have to keep their operations going. It’s a centralized location that keeps track of your network’s performance and usage. It also gives IT teams additional insight into the health and performance of devices connected to the network.
While network monitoring software is not a security tool, it can be the first line of defense against an attack. SMBs should watch their network security because some cyberattacks are the result of misconfigured networking equipment. As a result, unauthorized traffic may be going in and out of the network. Sometimes this abnormal traffic is only noticed by monitoring software, which will then notify an IT administrator to investigate further.
Monitoring software helps you keep track of the health of your networking devices. Insead of being caught off guard, you’ll be able to fix or replace devices while minimizing any operational interruptions. This also keeps the organization productive and saves money in the long run.
Constant network monitoring allows you to identify trends. If an employee informs IT of a problem, it will be easier for you to troubleshoot if this is a network, application, or device issue.
Like any other kind of software, small businesses shouldn’t just pick up any off-the-shelf network monitoring tool. Here are some important factors we recommend you keep in mind:
Network monitoring applications come in different flavors. They range from a basic command line interface to web-based dashboards with alerts and real-time analytics. Before settling on any vendor, you should make sure that your IT staff has enough hands-on time with the product and are comfortable with using it. It would be a waste of time and money to purchase a tool that is ultimately never used.
Your network may just consist of a few devices at one location, but will that always be the case for your business? Be sure that you understand the maximum network size that a monitoring vendor can support.
If you’re like many startups and small businesses, you’re probably using multiple vendors for your switches, routers, and other components of your network infrastructure. Your IT team will need to determine if the network monitoring software that you are considering is compatible with these devices.
It’s unlikely that a network monitoring system will be the only IT tool that your company uses. It will probably need to be integrated into a larger system that includes application management, device management, and analytics. Your IT team will need to find out how well your preferred network monitoring software will fit in to the suite of tools that you already have.
There are paid, free/freemium, and open source network monitoring tools available. How you decide among all of these categories will depend on your company’s budget, network monitoring needs, and requirements regarding external support. Network & Server Management is just one part of how Electric works with SMBs to maintain reliable and secure networks. We can manage your entire network remotely, eliminate the complexity of on-site IT, and help keep you focused on your core business.