IT Security News & Blog

Three Network Monitoring Fails Worth Avoiding

Posted: 3 August 2018

Nobody is happy when the company network and systems are slow. Long wait times caused by slow applications and network speeds drain productivity throughout your organisation. As time goes on without a fix, users will start to lose their patience and faith.

Upper management starts to complain; and members of your IT team start to feel like they have a target
on their back. No team wants to feel like a failure. But identifying the cause of performance issues quickly, can be a real challenge.

Unfortunately, our natural human desire to find the quickest fix, often leads us to processes, solutions and behaviors that do not help the situation.

 

Fail 1 - Spending Too Much Time in Reactive Mode

All IT teams spend some time in reactive mode. Every organisation experiences unplanned service interruptions. However, the measure of a good operations team is how often they are reacting to versus proactively addressing performance issues.

When users report a problem and you are already working on a solution, you have a head start on troubleshooting time. If you first learn there is a problem from a user’s complaint, it is more likely you will be perceived as taking too long to resolve the issue.

Resolution

A recent study conducted by EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) measured the percentage of incidents that were first learned about from users. Although it seems counterintuitive, they found a direct correlation between the percentage of user reported problems and the number of single purpose monitoring tools in use.

Low performing teams tend to have more tools monitoring different technologies. For example, a solution for monitoring virtualised infrastructure and WiFi separately. High performing teams tend to rely on fewer solutions, some of which monitor a broader range of technologies.

The research suggests that using a smaller number of solutions with a broader scope of technologies provides an advantage. Think single pane of glass management solutions. End-to-end visibility and dependency-aware alerts help enable earlier detection of developing problems.

Finding the problem before the users do requires diligence. Threshold-based monitoring alerts
must be set so as to provide meaningful early warnings of conditions in one area that may lead to downstream problems.

Want to learn more about network monitoring solutions? Take a look at our definitive guide to network monitoring and incident response

 

Fail 2 - Spending Too Much Time Resolving Issues

Identifying the root cause of issues in complex networks can be a real challenge. Unfortunately, many IT
teams set themselves up for failure by adopting processes, solutions and behaviors that aren’t helpful. A good example of this is relying on a large number of disparate, technology specific monitoring tools.

In those conditions, support teams operate without an end-to-end view of the problem they are trying to resolve. This leads to a series of best guesses as to potential causes and the potential fix. As each successive diagnostic path fails to address the issue, time drags on and users become ever more frustrated.

Resolution

The EMA study also found a correlation between the number of monitoring solutions in use and the time spent resolving a problem.

The "too many technology specific solutions"’ monitoring approach often adds considerable delay to your mean time to resolution, as they present only a portion of the symptom or problem. Additionally, CMA concludes that IT teams with one to three monitoring solutions, typically spend almost 33% of their time on other tasks and projects. That is 10% to 20% more time on meaningful projects than teams with four or more tools. Freeing up time to diagnose, correct and improve.

 

Fail 3 - Failure to Find and Fix the Root Cause

The more complex the issue, the slower the cause can be found. Some issues, like those involving interdependencies between middleware, applications and databases, are especially difficult to find and diagnose.

When IT teams are having difficulty finding the actual cause of an issue, they become more desperate for a quick fix. Sometimes a quick reboot of the offending device will resolve the performance. However, high performing IT teams realise that this approach can lead to the creation of recurring problems that keep
coming back to haunt them.

Very few real problems are permanently resolved by a reboot.

Resolution

It is not likely you can find the root cause of every problem you are faced with. However, smarter IT teams find more of them by using a handful of well tuned solutions.

But how exactly do fewer solutions lead to higher root cause identification rates?

The trick here is that these teams are leveraging solutions that monitor multiple technologies to provide a holistic view of their entire environment. According to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) “While discrete network management tools often fail to reveal interdependencies among the metrics ,they and other tools collect, multifunction management systems reveal these interdependencies and present them to network operations in various forms. From customisable dashboards and reports to dependency-aware alerts.”

Using one solution that provides a consolidated, end-to-end view of your environment provides multiple benefits. You are alerted to more problems before users report them and you are able to resolve issues faster. Combined, those two benefits give you more time, without pressure, to find the root cause of problems before users get frustrated. This allows high performance teams to identify more root causes of problem thereby creating less recurrences.

Do you use a network monitoring solution? Take a look at our blog entitled "Ten Reasons why Network Monitoring Software is a Must Have".

 

Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold is the favorite network monitoring tool of tens of thousands of IT pros. It allows you to monitor any mix of networks, servers, virtual machines, applications, traffic flows and configurations across Windows, LAMP and Java environments.

More importantly, you can do it all with one flexible, affordable license that allows you to mix and match
what you are monitoring at will. There’s no need to purchase individual licenses for applications, network devices or network flow sources - they’re all included.

If you would like to speak to a consultant about Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold; or get more information about the solution, book a time in our calendar.

 

How High Performing IT Teams Monitor Their Networks

Topics: Network Monitoring, Incident Response, SNMP, WMI, Cloud Monitoring, WhatsUp Gold

Chris Payne

Written by Chris Payne

Managing Director - Advanced Cyber Solutions