A factor that influences network performance that often goes underlooked is a company’s own policies and network management protocols. A network’s performance is largely based on the hardware you install, the data transferred across it, and any harmful actors that end up on your network. However, the way your company uses the network also has an effect on how well it performs.
Your users and what they access on your network can be a huge burden on your network. Networks can only handle so much data transferal at once, and if your users are utilizing the network too much, they could be dragging your network down beyond acceptable performance levels. In order to effectively handle these users, your enterprise needs to enact and enforce a series of policies designed to reduce unnecessary or harmful network usage. Below, we discuss three policies that your company can introduce in order to keep your network performance in check.
Network access management
Your enterprise needs to consider how it wants to manage who can access your network, as well as with what they can access it with. You may want to restrict access to only pre-approved devices that your company gives to your employees. However, you may instead be a BYOD-friendly company and will need to set up access control to support every device brought in. Whatever the case, enterprises need some way to manage each device that connects to their network and know when each one is accessing data. Tools like network performance monitors (NPMs) help you do this by discovering and examining all instances of network traffic in real-time.
Quality of service management
Quality of service (QoS) allows network teams to manage their network’s traffic usage by sectioning off data for essential apps and processes. QoS reserves bandwidth for specific data and applications based on their priority – a mission-critical application, for example, will have a section of the network’s bandwidth available at all times. QoS tools ensure every important application and data packet has the resources to run without other traffic sources interfering. Using an NPM tool, you can determine how much traffic a critical application typically uses so you have an idea on the amount of bandwidth you need to set aside for it.
Blocking websites and apps
While it should only be used as a last resort, your enterprise may need to restrict access to specific websites and applications if they are using too much of the network’s resources. NPMs can detect where traffic sources on your network originate from and show your network team what websites and applications users are utilizing the network for. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, for example, are one of the most likely culprits for unwanted network traffic.
If you find that a specific website or application is using too much traffic and not leaving enough for mission-critical tasks and apps, you can restrict access to them on the network. This will help reduce the strain of non-essential apps and websites and make it easier for your network to handle useful applications. However, if your enterprise decides to do this, you should make sure that your employees know about it beforehand. If the site/app is popular around the office, explaining that it drops network performance down to unacceptable levels will help make the transition easier.
Our Network Monitoring Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top network performance monitor vendors, as well as questions you should ask providers and yourself before buying.
Check us out on Twitter for the latest in Network Monitoring news and developments!