By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
Network visibility has always been sought after in one form or the other; historically it’s been more focused on monitoring and providing reactive insights into the network usually following some sort of incident.
But nowadays enterprise networks are changing. Users are accessing the network with multiple devices, applications proliferate and networks are extending to include cloud based infrastructures. Real time visibility into network traffic on the LAN and WAN is the essential starting point to make easier and smarter network decisions and lower bandwidth expenditure.
So if network visibility is the key, here are 5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network.
- Return on Investment
For starters if more services, applications and network elements are being moved to the cloud, such as CRM, Email, and Storage etc. enterprise decision makers need to see and measure performance improvements and the benefits of their investment. ROI target requirements have to be measurable. In a nutshell, if you do not have an awareness of the various applications and conversations traversing the network, whether over the LAN or WAN, then you can’t even begin to control network activities, measure performance or hold cloud service providers accountable.
2. Prioritisation starts with visibility
We are all too aware that throwing more money at more bandwidth to resolve network issues or deal with user complaints does not necessarily solve the problem. Users are always more that capable of using up more bandwidth at work doing non business critical stuff. So making intelligent decisions by prioritising business critical applications over other types of traffic traversing your network makes more sense, but this can only be possible once you have visibility of all the applications running on the network. In addition rich content applications like VOIP, media and video conferencing, which run on the same corporate IP network, have to deliver a guaranteed user experience with no visible performance degradation to the end user.
From a security perspective having visibility into unauthorised LAN and WAN traffic on your network can make a big difference. The increased use of wireless networks extending the boundaries of our networks and the popularity of “Bring You Own” (devices, applications etc.), as well as the ever increasing variety of threats from the public internet, result in huge security challenges for IT administrators, therefore having visibility and subsequent control (allow, block, limit etc.) of everything connecting to and traversing the network, irrespective of how, where, who or what is connected is absolutely paramount.
4. User experience; proactively troubleshooting and resolution of problems
The end user experience is front of mind for most IT personnel as making things simple, always available and accurate inevitably makes light work for IT helpdesks. So having visibility into the end users application performance and being able to proactively rather than reactively deal with any application performance issues, even before the user is aware of them and providing resolution to issues in the background will make the perception of the service being delivered to the end user very good. In environments where applications are being delivered as a paid service this can lead to invaluable positive testimonial rather than avoidable negative press.
5. Planning i.e. capacity planning, bandwidth management and planning for future network trends
Dealing with budgetary requirements and planning for the future of networks and what services and technologies should be invested in can be extremely difficult for IT decision makers without information. Information on things such as bandwidth usage, network capacity and user experience over a period of time are crucial in making intelligent informed decisions about how to move the network into the future, while keeping costs as low as possible. Without network visibility (of real time as well as historical data at least going back a year or more) planning can be a shot in the dark.
So there are my 5 reasons why visibility is crucial to your network. In actual fact there are probably 10, 15 maybe 20 good reasons why network visibility is crucial to networks and the type of network topology, applications in use, devices and users will all play a part as the list goes on. The key however is finding services, vendors, tools and or service providers that can provide you with a holistic view of everything on your network under one umbrella, without having to stitch various solutions together to achieve the overall picture or objective.
If you are responsible for managing your network bandwidth then please join our technical workshop on Thursday 4th July in central London. Visit our website here for more.