If your business were a body, your network would be the arteries that pump life to the extremities. After all, your cloud storage service, servers, online applications, databases and devices all rely on the health of your network to maintain business operations.
Despite the importance of maintaining a healthy network, many companies forgo the preventative actions that can keep network issues at bay. Instead of tracking and analyzing network performance, leaders merely cross their fingers and hope their network stays strong, even though regular checkups, maintenance and upgrades are a vital part of network health.
What does “healthy” mean, anyway?
A healthy network is one in which both performance and security are managed and monitored. To achieve and maintain network health, your IT services team needs to be able to take your network’s temperature regularly—and receive updates when something is amiss. Ideally, you should track the following metrics:
- Uptime: A healthy network should experience very little downtime, so your business IT support team needs to be able to analyze network uptime and evaluate whether your system is performing as it should.
- Bandwidth utilization: Giving network administrators visibility into your company’s bandwidth usage over time not only helps them decide when it’s time to invest in additional bandwidth but will also draw their attention to any sudden spikes in bandwidth use, which can indicate cybercriminal activity.
- Unauthorized access: Your IT services team should know—and, ideally, be automatically alerted—when an unauthorized user attempts to access data stored on your network.
- File changes: Because unusual or unexpected file changes are a potential indicator of suspicious behavior, IT services may see these as the first sign that something fishy is going on.
- Storage: Monitoring server space, cloud storage usage and other storage metrics is imperative to keep your business from going over its network limits.
- Device performance: Devices on your network should be closely watched for speed, memory usage, port behavior, suspicious activity and other indicators of potential issues.
How do I keep an eye on these metrics?
Networks are big, so needless to say, manually tracking changes is not ideal—and that’s why most businesses turn to a network management solution to help them stay alert. There are many monitoring tools available that will help you track network vitals by providing high-detail tracking of bandwidth, speed, device health and uptime.
An IT consultant can help you choose a program and create customized metrics to understand what you’re seeing on the screen. Independent of these applications, your IT services team should also create a topology map (a chart mapping your devices and dependencies). This map can help you design a response plan when issues arise—another task with which business IT support providers can help.
What do I do if I need help?
Obviously, it’s not enough just to keep an eye on your network; you also need to know how to react when you notice something is off. If suspicious activity sounds the security alarm, how do you respond to prevent damage or data loss? If your network goes down, what do you do?
Creating a well-articulated response plan will give you a script to follow in the event of downtime, evidence of a data breach or other issues. You can also turn over the task of monitoring to an expert, such as an IT consultant. Managed services providers have the time and resources to create customized network monitoring solutions, and they can automate notifications so you always know where your network stands.
And when the worst does happen, business IT support providers can initiate around-the-clock response to triage problems—often before your employees or your customers experience any issues. You can think of these IT services providers as general practitioners helping your company stay healthy with routine checkups and regular adjustments.
If you think your network could use some extra care, contact MyITpros today for a free consultation. We can evaluate your network health, choose valuable metrics and automate monitoring so you always know how your systems are doing. And even better, you’ll have the support you need to manage any issues that arise. With all that stress off your shoulders, we’re sure your doctor would approve.