10 Considerations When Choosing a Network Monitoring Solution
A comprehensive network monitoring solution is an essential part of your organisationâ€™s infrastructure. Monitoring can give you full network visibility, which can help to reduce the risks of downtime and slow performance and ultimately improve staff and customer satisfaction.
With dozens of monitoring providers out there, both commercial and open source which is best for your business? What do you need to take into account before you take the plunge?
Before you implement a solution, you need to ensure that it fits the requirements of your business in the short and long term, and that your IT team are prepared, can use it, and understand its benefits.
Here are our top 10 things to consider before you take the plunge:
Understand your priorities:
Take stock of exactly what you want or need to monitor. If, for example, you want to monitor your email server, do you just want to monitor uptime, or do you want email-specific monitoring built in? What alerting do you want? What reporting functionality do you need? Are you looking for a purely software based solution or do you want an appliance? Is the solution going to be virtualised? How easy is it to deploy and configure?
These are just some of the questions you should answer when prioritising what solution to choose. Each business and network is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach.
IT resource availability:
How big is your current support team? Do you have the processes and responsibilities in place to deal with activity generated by the system? Before you implement your new monitoring system, ensure you know who within your team is responsible for examining reports, who triages incidents, and who has responsibility for issues in each area of your network.
The incident process:
Ensure that you have a plan and process in place for when incidents occur. What will happen to BAU activities? Is there an escalation process in place? Do your team understand their roles? Is there a communication plan in place to notify them?
The location of your IT team or support company could affect their ability to service your network. Ensure that you have local teams close to your datacentre to ensure they can react quickly to problems before they escalate. Also ensure they have the skills to service the hardware they are looking after.
Scope of your monitoring solution:
Adding to the previous point, any network monitoring solution you choose needs to be able to handle the variations of hardware and software you have. It should also be able to (in the case of multi-site or multi-national businesses) cope with several locations and remote sites. If you have virtualised appliances then it should also be able to cope with these. Before you approach a monitoring provider, first understand your own network and its makeup.
The solution's SLA:
Ensure that you have internal and external support level agreements (SLAs) in place. If you are using an external support partner, make it a priority to understand what their escalation process is. Also identify if an external business SLA can be adjusted to match the internal needs of your business.
Out of hours support:
Ensure you have out of hours support in place, as discussed in our previous blog. This is important for businesses such as online retailers, or banks where customers need access 24/7. Do you have plans and processes in place for after-hours incidents?
Ensure that whichever monitoring solution you choose can cope with changes seamlessly. Business networks are constantly evolving. Devices change; more are added and swapped as a business grows. Network support will have to change to cater for these adjustments, so your chosen monitoring solution needs to cope and flex to these changes.
Automatic discovery and configuration:
If your business has a large, multi-site network, then automating your monitoring is both time and cost effective. A monitoring solution with the ability to discover and configure itself will mean that devices are monitored as they are added without manual intervention. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for example allows devices to be easily and quickly added.
Customisation to your needs and processes:
Each business and network has its own set of processes and requirements. Ensure that whichever monitoring solution you choose allows full customisation and ensure that the output fits your process for dealing with that alert.
Choosing the right solution
A networking monitoring system such as Mutiny can save you time and effort in the discovery and resolution of issues and help you spot unusual activity. With centralised solutions, you can get a system-wide view of your infrastructure and automated alerting meaning less time spent manually checking reports and logging on to machines.
With the right system and preparation, your business can expect much better visibility of its infrastructure and faster response time to issues. Faster, more reliable IT adds value and improves productivity and customer satisfaction.
If you would like to see a live demonstration of the Mutiny monitoring product or discuss the options available, please get in touch.