Network Monitoring – A Necessary Tool for a Secure SMB
Data is a valuable asset, and protecting it is a top priority for any business, especially a small- and medium-sized business (SMB). There are many different approaches that businesses take for data protection and to secure their SMB. However, network monitoring is one of the fundamental tasks to keep networks secure from cyber attacks. Network monitoring keeps your network, servers, devices, and application performance in check. A monitoring tool also provides regular reports and updates on irregularities, failures, breaches, and system errors. To help you keep your networks and data safe, we’ve gathered essential information that you need to know about network monitoring.
The Purpose of Monitoring a Network
As more communication occurs over business networks, the need to manage and control data flow, file sharing and accessibility has increased. Network monitoring offers several advantages for companies, especially small businesses including:
- Insights into failures before they happen to prevent costly downtime
- Consistent review of activity for unauthorized access
- Prevention of cyber attacks before they happen
System monitoring allows network administrators to track all connected network devices, as well as the traffic load on the system. This helps identify any abnormalities within the network.
Why It’s Important for SMBs to Monitor Their Network
Small businesses are highly vulnerable and at high risk for a cyber attack because they have small budgets and limited capabilities to secure their network.
Automating your network monitoring allows you more time to focus on other important matters. For small businesses with employees wearing many hats, an automated network monitoring tool can quickly identify device or connection failures or a slowdown with network traffic and data flow. WIth automation in place, you can keep an eye on your network from practically anywhere because you’ll be notified of any issues.
Provides complete network visibility
With a few devices connected to your computer network, you can easily keep a count, but as your business grows it becomes challenging to maintain an accurate record of your IT infrastructure. A network monitoring tool can keep an inventory of all your devices, including those that are remote while also keeping track of exactly what’s connected (and where it’s located.) This allows you to have a clear view of your growing IT infrastructure.
Initiates better management of complex systems
Ways of working and doing business continue to evolve and integrating tools and systems with each other is becoming more complex. All businesses rely more and more on the Internet of things (IoT)—tools and devices that exchange data with each other and over the Internet or other networks. With an increase of data flow, networks can experience performance fluctuations and slow or even shut down. Network monitoring tools keep a lookout for issues that might affect day-to-day operations and impact your employees or customers.
Offers early detection of security threats
According to IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach rose to $4.35 million and will continue to rise. By monitoring your network 24/7, you’re able to establish a benchmark of what “normal” looks like and easily troubleshoot hard-hitting problems. If there’s unusual activity—such as an increase in traffic or a heavier data load on the system—you’ll be able to research the cause and determine if there is any threat to the network.
Best Practices for Monitoring Your Network
Network monitoring is an investment in your business. Follow these best practices to ensure that your network is secure and possible disruptions are caught early.
Around-the-clock monitoring of your network gives you the best performance results. It’s possible for your network to have issues during non-business hours including in the middle of the night. This is why 24/7 monitoring is essential to keep systems functioning properly and with no downtime.
Immediate issue resolution
The advantage of 24/7 network monitoring is if issues arise, they can be addressed immediately. If problems aren’t addressed immediately, then normal business operations could be delayed which costs you money, or even worse, cause you to be the victim of a cyber attack.
Network infrastructure testing
Periodic testing of your devices helps you catch potential problems early. The most common way to test devices is with a ping. A ping will tell you if your devices are responding to other devices. If there’s no response, that’s often an indication there’s something wrong with the connection.
What Is The Best Method For My Business?
Ensuring that your network monitoring tool is as effective as it can be to create a secure SMB comes down to assessing your ability, time and network and finding what works best for your business. Small businesses that try to monitor the network internally are usually limited by the number of employees, IT staff experience, and available tools and time required for network monitoring. Medium-sized businesses typically have more opportunity to keep network monitoring in-house.
In-house network monitoring tools
In-house network monitoring tools require full-time IT specialists, and they are typically preferred by large organizations that have customized IT needs for each department. This approach is relatively expensive but with in-house monitoring, there’s immediate help for IT emergencies instead of long third-party wait times for IT technicians.
Managed IT Service Provider
Using a managed IT service provider, provides you with an entire team of IT experts that can quickly assess and address network issues. Managed service providers are also scalable depending on current needs. For SMBs there’s no reason to spend extra resources on full-time IT specialists. Small and medium-sized businesses find it more beneficial and economical to outsource network monitoring with a reliable managed IT services group.
Visual Edge specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S., including remote offices. The company has more than 20 years of technology service with a national network of expert engineers. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.