Enterprise networks are growing more and more complex every day. Large-scale businesses employ hundreds – if not thousands – of workers that all use Internet-connected devices on a daily basis. These devices are essential for enterprises to function, and they all need to connect to a network to work properly. As such, an enterprise network infrastructure can be enormous, and your IT team needs to maintain full visibility into a network.
Network visibility ensures that your network team and monitoring solutions can see and interpret everything happening on a network. Visibility encompasses device discovery, network performance and security issues, and topology mapping. No matter how large and complicated your enterprise network gets, full visibility is a necessity for network monitoring solutions and practices. Why is full network visibility important for network monitoring?
End-to-end network visibility
At its core, visibility refers to your network monitoring tool’s ability to see a data transfer happen on your network. This includes where the data originates, who requests it, where it’s going, and what path it takes to get there. The more devices and connections on your network, the harder this gets to keep track of. If a network monitoring tool can’t see every step of the data transfer, it might miss a critical error.
Discovering performance and security issues
The primary function of a network monitoring tool is to discover all performance and security problems affecting your network. However, it can’t perform this without full visibility into a network. Not every issue will affect the entirety of your network; it might be isolated to a small section of your infrastructure. With a network monitoring solution, you gain a holistic view of your entire network infrastructure.
Visibility also covers multi-layered monitoring that examines multiple different metrics. Network monitoring tools can analyze a network’s performance on various levels, including speed, data packet loss, latency, and throughput. All of these metrics can give your network team insights into your network; maintaining full visibility so your monitoring tool can search for them allows you to take advantage of those insights.
Maintaining network visibility across every technology
Part of why enterprise networks are becoming more complex is the increase in technologies connecting to a network. Emerging technologies like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are making it difficult for legacy network monitoring tools to address evolving business needs. For example, IoT devices might have different configurations than the rest of the devices in your infrastructure; if your network monitoring tool can recognize or work with this configuration, then your visibility is inevitably muddled. That IoT device might become a problem later on if it drains performance or is hacked into by a security threat. Thus, your monitoring software needs to be equipped to work with every device and technology you introduce to your enterprise.
Looking for a solution to help you improve your network performance? 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.
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