IT teams work valiantly behind the scenes every day to make sure their digital businesses stay connected. With challenges like dealing with cyber threats and new technology, or even just the sheer volume of day-to-day work, it is getting harder and harder for IT teams to keep necessary innovation from going off the rails. These threats to innovation are most glaring in small to mid-sized IT departments where personnel and budget resources tend to be more limited, and team members need to be both generalists and specialists. These are the true front lines of IT – where decisions need to be made quickly and business operations depend on systems functioning properly.
A recent survey by Ipswitch polling 2,685 IT professionals around the world indicated that the top challenges holding IT teams back in 2016 fell into eight distinct categories, with network and application performance monitoring (19 per cent), new technology updates and deployments (14 per cent) and time, budget and resource constraints (10 per cent) among the top responses.
Improving network performance
Ensuring network performance is no easy feat. IT teams are tasked with keeping an organisation’s networks running efficiently and effectively around the clock and need to be concerned with all aspects of network infrastructure, including apps, servers and network connected devices.
Application performance is an important aspect because every company relies on an application on a network and an interruption in performance means a stop to business. Workforce fluidity further complicates network performance, as does the proliferation of devices logging on, whether the activity is sanctioned (work laptops, phones etc.) or surreptitious (many forms of wearable tech).
Many networks were simply not designed to cope with the demands being placed on them today by the increasing number of devices and applications. Furthermore, while balancing the needs of business-critical software and applications over an ever-growing number of connected devices is no easy task for anyone, the modern business world is an impatient place. Just a few instances of crashed websites, slow video payback or dropped calls could soon see customers looking elsewhere. They don’t care what’s causing the problems behind the scenes, all they care about is getting good service at the moment they choose to visit your website or watch your content.
As a result, having the insight needed to spot issues before they occur and manage network bandwidth efficiently is an essential part of keeping any network up and running in the IoT (Internet of Thing) age.
The good news is that businesses often already have the monitoring tools they need to spot tell-tale signs of the network beginning to falter, they just aren’t using them to their full ability. These tools, when used well, provide a central, unified view across every aspect of networks, servers and applications, not only giving the IT team a high level of visibility, but also the ability to isolate root causes of complex issues quickly.
Efficient use of network monitoring tools can also allow the IT team to identify problems that only occur intermittently or at certain times by understanding key trends in network performance. This could be anything from daily spikes caused by employees all trying to remotely login at the start of the day, to monthly or annual trends only identified by monitoring activity over longer periods of time. Knowing what these trends are and when they will occur gives the team essential insight, allowing them to plan ahead and allocate bandwidth accordingly.
Evolving performance monitoring
Infrastructure monitoring systems have evolved greatly over time, offering more automation and more ways to alert network administrators and IT managers to problems with the network. IT environments have become much more complex, resulting in a growing demand for comprehensive network, infrastructure and application monitoring tools. IT is constantly changing and evolving with organisations embracing cost-effective and consolidated IT management tools.
One thing is certain when it comes to network monitoring. The cost of implementing such a technology far outweighs the cost of not, especially once you start to add up the cost of any downtime, troubleshooting, performance and availability issues.