I recently turned on my home computer and my network connection was much slower than usual. I pay for 400mbps, but ISPs can be inconsistent or even throttle. As the connected devices in my home increase, the network congestion obviously increases. I’m not an enterprise though, far less people rely on my network. Enterprises need to have consistent network performance to stay competitive and maintain a healthy reputation.
Networks today deal with an influx of connected devices. Employees use laptops, tablets, phones, and maybe even a smart toaster. Consumers also bring a diverse set of devices (their toaster likely won’t be on your network though). Keeping end-users happy must be the goal of any network professional. These tips have been compiled to maintain network user happiness, and to make the lives of network professionals easier.
Automate as much as you can
Some industries hate automation (an AI writer can’t replace me!). It’s easy to hear X amount of jobs are being replaced by AI and be frightened, but automation in networking is here to make your job easier.
Root cause analysis is a key component of network monitoring that needs to be automated. Instantly finding the root cause of a network issue without needing to search for it is like a scavenger hunt cheat code. You’ll win every time. Essentially, you’ll be able to put out the fire before it’s a fire. End-users won’t notice a difference. Some network monitoring solutions even provide specific fixes to enhance the process further.
Analytics reports are something that every team needs. Being able to recognize trends and normal user behavior is invaluable. I mentioned the Anthem medical data breach in a recent article, this attack could have been prevented if normal end-user behavior had been established. Machine learning can inform you of network details you may not have considered. This is a feature that gives you an advantage when it comes to improving your network. Network engineers can use detailed automatic reports for almost anything.
Preparation for network devices
Automated reports will get you the information you need to get started. You need a complete understanding of your network to optimize it. Determining which IT assets you are responsible for is a crucial step in preparation. You need to know what these assets can and can’t do, and what to expect from them. This is the easy part. The expansion of network-enabled devices is the true challenge for network preparation.
IoT devices are flooding networks. Some companies have adopted them quickly, while others are planning on adding them. Network-enabled IoT devices may come influx before network teams are able to prepare for them. Mirai or Reaper botnets may have compromised IoT cameras, for example. If your team can’t prepare your network to include these devices, you could be dealing with a vulnerability. Sometimes you might not even know what devices are accessing your network. For example, an employee could bring in their Amazon Alexa without informing you. This network connected device could be a vulnerability within your network.
Network performance monitoring tools can help you discover what devices are accessing your network and what they are doing. IoT can be a dangerous thing but knowing how these devices behave is easier when you can see them in a customizable dashboard. Knowing everything on your network is more important than ever. IoT implementation requires an extra layer of planning.
Harness collected data
Collecting network data gives any enterprise a huge edge. Proper data collection allows your team to prepare for the worst. It also gives you the ability to recognize what is and isn’t working in your network. Some tools, like network monitoring tools, can give you detailed insights into the end-user experience. This is a huge advantage in developing any network.
Analytics are the perfect way to track trends. You can build and develop your network over time with the right optimization. The best way to improve any network environment is to know where consistent problems exist and who these problems impact.
Choose the right tools
Every enterprise is going to value different tools. Some network monitoring solutions provide better scaling options. A small business is obviously going to need to monitor less than a larger business. It’s also important that a growing business can expand the solution they’re using, rather than changing whenever significant growth occurs.
Some solutions provide more specific data analysis. Make sure the program you’re interested in has the specific information your company needs. Many solutions have customization options to allow your business to target its specific needs.