What is Network Monitoring?

For any business, an internet network becomes the most crucial source of communication. As such, it is very important to keep that network safe, secure, and healthy. That’s where network monitoring comes into play. At PCH Technologies, we understand that good network monitoring is essential to the security and effectiveness of your network. By keeping a constant watch on the most important metrics, it is possible to address most problems before they become serious. Let’s talk a little bit more about network monitoring and how it works.

How Does Network Monitoring Work?

By using specialized software, IT specialists can monitor all of the most important parts of your network. This includes computers, mobile devices, routers, servers, firewalls, switches, and plenty of other things. Their primary concern should be the detection and prevention of outside threats.

At the same time, network monitoring gives you an easy way to deal with performance issues, should they arise. A small problem that is slowing down the network a little bit can be dealt with before it becomes an even bigger issue. Performance issues are much more common than cybersecurity issues, so the maintenance of network performance will compose most of the work done by your network monitoring professionals.

Creating A Network Monitoring Plan

To create a network monitoring plan, you start by identifying all the devices and metrics to be monitored. Trying to monitor everything at the same time would be a little impractical, so you need to focus on the areas of largest concern. Generally, servers and routers are the ones that require the closest watch as they perform more critical tasks and have more consistent parameters.

The second step is to determine the monitoring interval. This means that you have to determine how often the system will check itself for compliance. For instance, you might set a scanning interval of 1 minute for an extremely critical system. Likewise, you might set it to 15-30 minute intervals for systems that are less critical.

Understanding The Flow Of Data

In spite of the widespread popularity of the internet, a lot of people still don’t know how it works. However, you will need to understand some simple concepts in order for you to understand how network monitoring works.

This thing we call the internet consists of information. As you might know, the very core of a computer is the binary code, which tells the machine what functions to perform. As such, the internet consists of billions and billions of data packets flying all over the world between billions of different computers at the same time.

As these packets come in and go out, firewalls act as filters. Their purpose is to weed out the packets that could be harmful or fraudulent. If anything suspicious is detected, all traffic from that source can be stopped or blocked. Even private networks are still connected to the public internet, and no firewall can hope to filter out all dangers.

Switches act as the doors between the public internet and your private network. They use hardware addresses (also called MAC addresses) to identify authorized devices and tell them apart from unauthorized ones. Once we understand this, we see that network monitoring consists of good packet monitoring across all relevant devices.

Network Mapping

Network mapping is an essential part of network monitoring. Most of the best network monitoring programs (like Nmap) will create a visual map of the network being monitored. This often takes the form of a series of connected bubbles. By clicking on any of them, you can see more information about the device that they represent.

Network mapping is useful because it gives people a clear and visual way to understand something that actually consists of 1s and zeroes (binary code). The primary server will normally be at the center of the map, with all the other devices connected either directly or indirectly. This kind of thing is great from a security perspective, as an intruder will often use indirect means of connecting to a private network.

Conclusion

Network monitoring can be a very complex subject, but we have tried to avoid talking about things that the average person cannot understand. In the end, this is a simple concept that requires no advanced knowledge of computers or the internet. In essence, your network monitoring staff are just like your security guards. The only difference lies in the types of threats that they deal with, but their essential function is the same.

PCH Technologies can offer you the best network monitoring at a reasonable price, so don’t hesitate to call us with all your IT needs. We hope that we have given you a good and concise explanation of this highly technical subject and that you walk away with a little more knowledge than you had before. If so, please show your appreciation by filling out the contact form.