10 Best Practices for Network Monitoring in the Face of IT Complexity

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10 Best Practices for Network Monitoring in the Face of IT Complexity

New tech helps make companies more productive but can complicate IT pros' jobs. We look at 10 tips for network monitoring in an increasingly complex IT world.

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Accept That IT Complexity is Growing Faster Than Your IT Team

According to the Ipswitch survey, top sources of increased complexity include mobile devices and wireless networks, cloud applications and virtualization, BYOD policies and high-bandwidth applications such as video and streaming.

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Develop a Monitoring Strategy Aligned With Business Priorities

From the perspective of customers, partners and employees, your IT infrastructure and applications are your business. Your reputation is on the line every time they access it. Few things affect user experience and perception more than the availability and performance of your applications and network.

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Implement a Real-Time View of Network, Server Performance

IT teams should proactively identify and resolve issues before they hear about them from the help desk. This should include a range of monitors, alerts and escalations so your team can isolate and resolve issues as fast as possible. Stay ahead of a wide range of issues with a unified view across applications, networks and servers.

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Use Common Tools Across IT Teams to Minimize Finger-Pointing

End-to-end integrated monitoring gives you the power to coordinate—and arrive at a single version of the truth. Your solution has to do it all: wired and wireless networks, physical and virtual servers, applications and databases. It needs to support SNMP, WMI, SSH, SQL Query and Scripting, too, so you can monitor almost any device and application.

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Avoid Alert Storms

Alert storms can be eliminated if your network monitoring systems are automatically dependency-aware. You would get a single alarm for the failed device only, and not from every downstream device that's connected to it.

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Ensure Bandwidth Is Optimized for Business Apps, Services

Business applications, unified communications, video, mobile devices, rich media, big data and the Internet of things all place new and growing demands on your infrastructure and increase the challenge of maintaining uptime.

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Be Prepared to Scale Up and Out

Scalability is a must. Think of how difficult your job becomes when your solutions simply don't have the bandwidth to grow—network monitoring or otherwise. It's not just a management problem for your bosses. It's vital to everyone’s day-to-day peace of mind to have a solution that can grow just as quickly and massively as your organization, whether you've got 25 devices and are expecting to grow to 250, 2,500 or even to 25,000.

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Beware of Monitoring Software that Licenses by Elements

Lock in device-based pricing, rather than port-based pricing, which drives up total cost of ownership. It's better to be charged a reasonable amount for a single device than for each of the 256 ports on the device. Also, beware of vendors who under-configure during evaluation: If they don't map all dependencies, you may spend enormous amounts of time and money as you continually remap to keep up with network evolution and expansion.

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Try Before You Buy

Just like you wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, choose IT management software that you can try for free in your environment. This is the best way to evaluate software and ensure that it meets your needs and addresses the complexity you care about.

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Choose Software With Flexible Licensing

IT can be difficult enough without the added artificial complexity some software vendors impose with restrictive licensing models. Avoid IT management software with inflexible licensing models that force you to overbuy or pay significant upcharges at renewal time. Look for IT management software that allows flexibility in how you use your monitoring licenses across all flavors of network devices, applications and servers.

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Why Samsung's SmartThings Home Controller Is Under Fire

The smart home market is set to grow enormously in the next five years from $43 billion in worldwide revenue in 2015 to more than $100 billion by 2020, according to Juniper Research. Multiple big-name companies, including Samsung, Apple and Google, want to claim generous shares of this rapidly evolving market. However, Samsung is contending with the fallout of recent news reports claiming that its smart home platform is vulnerable to remote hacks. Security researchers say they have found that Samsung's SmartThings home device controller is vulnerable to phishing scams and malware that could allow a cyber-attacker to take control of the controller. If the reports about the security flaws hold true, Samsung's hopes that SmartThings will take a healthy slice of the smart home market could be dashed. This slide show covers the good as well as the bad aspects of SmartThings to help prospective...
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