How to Choose the Right Network Monitoring Tool for Your Business

When it comes to the health of your enterprise’s digital infrastructure, choosing the right network monitoring tool can make all the difference.

Network monitoring tools represent one of the most fundamental technologies available to enterprise IT system administrators. They track network processes from end-to-end and ingest a huge array of performance metrics in order to discover, assess, optimize, and troubleshoot individual devices. It should come as no surprise, then, that choosing the right tool for your organization is a crucial step on the road to mature cybersecurity.

Because network monitoring tools offer a wide range of capabilities and features, making the right choice means carefully evaluating what options are available and mapping them to the particular needs of your organization.


Types of Network Monitoring Tools

Typically, these tools are specifically designed for either SMBs or larger enterprises. They also tend to be either on-premise or cloud-based. As a general rule, SMBs should lean toward tools that are easy to use, work with little configuration, and actively alert users when anomalies are detected. Larger enterprises, on the other hand, should look for tools that are more feature-rich and scalable.

Businesses of all sizes should ensure that whichever tool they choose includes autodiscovery, node and device inventorying, automatic and configurable trouble alerts and warnings, and a web-based, centralized management interface. This interface is where the tool’s dashboard and topology map will be located — both of which should be easy to read and user-friendly.

In addition, your network monitoring tool should be application-aware — capable of detecting and monitoring all applications and services operating across the network. This enables network administrators to determine the source of a problem and whether or not it stems from a cloud-based application or from within the network itself. All network monitoring tools should also be able to detect both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic and protocols.

Beyond these core requirements, though, the network monitoring tool that’s best for your organization will depend on your specific needs.


Optimizing Network Visibility

When choosing a network monitoring tool, you should consider the amount of virtualization in your network. Network performance monitors differ in their ability to provide visibility within virtualized environments, so if your network is moving toward software-defined networking, that’s important to keep in mind.

Additionally, different monitoring tools offer different capabilities as they react to your WAN and cloud environments. Depending on how the tool reacts with your cloud service, visibility could be obscured in order to allow the tool to monitor devices and collect information. Some performance monitoring tools will react better than others with various cloud services; if cloud visibility is important to you, you’ll need to keep this in mind while evaluating solutions.


Choosing the Best Fit for Your Organization

Throughout the entire selection process, it’s crucial that you ask the right questions — specifically, questions about the most consistent and disruptive problems that your network encounters. Do you constantly waste time trying to discern whether a problem lies within your network or not? Do some applications constantly perform sluggishly? Look for a network performance tool that is suited to answer the questions specific to your organization.

You should also consider whether ease-of-use or depth of detail are more important to you. As a general rule, larger enterprises should opt for detail over convenience while SMBs will want to prioritize user-friendliness. However, this rule differs by industry; not every SMB can get away with choosing the convenient tool over the feature-rich one.

Scalability represents another crucial attribute to consider. Be sure you understand your network’s potential for growth so that you choose a sustainable solution that can grow with you. Some tools scale easier than others; conversely, some are much easier to set up and roll out. Consider whether you need a quick solution or a scalable one.


Choosing the Right Team

Choosing how to deploy and monitor networks is a challenging endeavor, given the number of variables are involved. It requires an extensive understanding of your existing network, as well as of your present and future networking needs. Sourcing the opinion of an experienced partner likes Turn-key Technologies (TTI) makes for a wise choice in and of itself.

As your networking partners, we can perform an in-depth network assessment to help you determine the monitoring tool that will best address your organization’s needs. We’ll also be on the clock year-round to help you manage your network and address any problems that may arise.

Don’t leave your network’s health up to chance — leave it in the capable hands of the experts at TTI.

By Craig Badrick


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