What is network monitoring?
Network failures can be inconvenient and costly to your clients and your business. IT teams that lack the tools to gain full visibility into networks may not know about problems until they get a call that something is wrong. That can lead to costly downtime, lost productivity, and unhappy end users.
With the right network monitoring tools, you can make these challenges a thing of the past and more effectively serve your clients while supporting your own business.
Network monitoring gives you total visibility into your clients’ networks so you can continuously monitor, evaluate, and address issues promptly when they arise. If problems do occur, network administrators are notified in real time to quickly address problems and continue optimizing the network to maintain performance.
Organizations can monitor several different components of a network. Some network monitoring examples include:
- Network devices
- Network bandwidth
- Network connection
- Access points
Your clients may ask what network monitoring is or what type of network monitoring software you use. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits and importance of monitoring a network and show you how to find the right tools to help scale your MSP business.
Why is network monitoring important?
Network monitoring is important because it gives IT teams total visibility across a client’s network, detects failures or potential issues, and promptly alerts network administrators so they can quickly resolve problems. Essentially, network monitoring allows you and your team to be proactive instead of reactive and put IT resources toward projects that provide value to your organization and clients.
A few benefits of computer network monitoring include:
- Scaling and growing with ease as a network becomes more complex. Your client’s organization likely relies on several business-critical services, like cloud service and VPN providers, which can complicate network operations. As they grow, they may employ more of these services, which makes network monitoring more challenging. Increased visibility into their growing networks can help you identify issues that may affect your clients so they can scale with greater ease and confidence.
- Identifying performance issues before they impact your client’s business operations and their end users.
- Cost savings from minimized downtime related to network problems and quick resolution of issues when they arise.
- Efficiently using network resources to focus on productive tasks rather than wasting time looking for problems or remediating them.
- Enhancing security to detect unknown devices or abnormal traffic trends. Network monitoring cybersecurity may help detect cyberattacks before they cause larger issues.
- Detecting usage patterns to help network administrators proactively plan for peak periods, thereby minimizing downtime for end users. Certain trends and patterns may result from seasonality in a client’s business or excessive logins that occur at a particular time.
Total system network monitoring is the foundation of well-managed IT services, or tasks managed by a third-party vendor. Unified monitoring and management solutions can also help you save time and money, while meeting increasing client support needs.
How does network monitoring work?
Network monitoring works by collecting and reporting on several types of data gathered from a client’s network. The collected data is filtered and analyzed to identify a variety of network problems or potential issues like device failures, poor response time, and outages.
Network monitoring tools will send alerts to network administrators so they can resolve issues.
Your IT team will work with clients to set specific protocols that prompt alerts in response to certain triggers, like error rates or devices that are offline. These protocols can measure several types of data, including those from:
- IP addresses
When planning a network monitoring strategy for a client, it’s important that it covers their entire IT infrastructure, including connectivity, network, and security systems relevant to their type of business. Understanding their needs will help you determine the types of network monitoring that will be most useful and effective for their business.
Types of network monitoring
There are several different types of network monitoring to help oversee and monitor the state of your clients’ networks, but the volume of data can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to tailor your networking strategy to each client’s organization and their needs.
To effectively wade through the data, you can set protocols with network monitoring software to define which types of data best support your client’s organization. Types of network monitoring examples include:
- Performance monitoring. You can see and define which components you’d like to measure performance for, which can include everything from knowing the temperature of a device to how memory is being utilized.
- Event monitoring. Keep track of which devices have the most events occurring to stay on top of potential issues and identify only the most critical events to reduce the number of alerts you receive.
- Network change and configuration management (NCCM). You can set rules on what configurations you want to analyze in a network so you can see changes and align configurations for your client’s needs, like audit compliance.
- Digital experience monitoring (DEM). Monitoring a network can include tools that test components like ping or application performance to ensure they function effectively.
- Network packet monitoring. This allows you to see the data in each packet moving through your client’s network. Information collected gives you visibility into how users interact with the network, if the information is routing correctly, and whether sensitive information is being taken from the network.
- Access monitoring. Comprehensive access monitoring helps you identify and remediate network vulnerabilities that may allow access to malicious actors.
What network monitoring software will work for you and your clients? You want tools that give you more visibility so you can make better decisions quickly.
Customize dashboards and sync your most-used business tools into a system that works for you with features like remote monitoring and management (RMM). A unified management solution like ConnectWise RMM can help you automate and intelligently monitor your client’s network to help their business—and help your business grow.
Network monitoring best practices
To effectively monitor a network and support your clients in managing their organization, network monitoring should include a few essential elements:
- Total visibility into every aspect of their network.
- Intelligent, automated remote monitoring that reduces data clutter to decrease the number of tickets and increase uptime for you and your clients.
- Advanced reporting and data insights presented on an easy-to-read dashboard with the most relevant aspects of your client’s network and the ability to easily customize these insights.
- Monitoring virtual machines to help clients as they grow into using virtual technology.
- Quick identification of root causes of problems so they can be fixed without extensive impact on the network.
- Device grouping that helps you easily monitor specific types of devices based on predefined criteria. This may include components like operating systems or types of software and can even be automated to monitor across multiple clients to help your operations run more efficiently.
- Asset discovery that quickly detects network devices, deploys agents to endpoints, and maintains an accurate inventory of your client’s assets.
Total system network monitoring takes many forms, so it’s vital to choose network monitoring tools that make delivering IT services simple. A robust remote monitoring solution can help you scale your MSP business through simplified asset discovery, patch management, and device management, giving your clients the support they need. See the benefits of network monitoring yourself by watching our webinar, Master Network Monitoring: An MSP's Guide.