How Are You Handling Network Monitoring and Patch Management?
By Jim Anderson
When your employees (or customers) experience a slowdown, disconnection, or outage, you’ll definitely hear about it: These are warning signs of major lapses in network performance. But just because you’re not hearing about network problems doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
For example: Slower-than-average performance in one area of your network may not be noticeable to end-users, but it may be a sign of malware. If not identified and addressed, the malware could spread to other areas of your network, interrupting computer processes and altering, stealing, or deleting your data. (Which is when everyone will notice!) By catching these weaknesses early, you can take a preemptive approach and ensure uptime.
Network performance problems are costly, too. A recent survey reveals that, on average, companies lose $600,000 annually on network performance issues.
How do you make sure your networks are performing like they should? Do you take a reactive approach by waiting until something goes wrong—or a proactive approach by consistently monitoring performance?
Where does network monitoring fall on your growing list of priorities—and do you have the staff resources to dedicate to it?
Network performance issues—whether they involve hardware failure, outdated software, or misconfigured firewalls—are bound to arise over time. It’s not a matter of “if” you’ll have to deal with them, but a matter of “when.”
What Does Network Monitoring Involve?
Network monitoring and patch management can lessen the amount of time between when a vulnerability or performance issue impacts your network—and when you find out about it.
By tracking how your network operates over time, you can pinpoint weaknesses and boost efficiency. The process typically involves:
- Establishing a Baseline for Network Performance
If you don’t know how your network has performed in the past—or how it typically performs when it’s free of problems—how will you know when it’s performing below average? What’s normal and what’s not in terms of your network’s performance?
By creating a baseline, you’ll get a clear picture of everything you have—and how your network typically behaves so you can make comparisons in the future.
- Observing for Potential Network Problems, Performance Changes, or Vulnerabilities
Knowing about vulnerabilities and potential problems as soon as they’re uncovered gives you the chance to act early, prevent unplanned downtime, and react to what’s happening.
Network monitoring includes things like:
- Network scanning to determine network health
- Firewall logging to provide insight into source and destination IP addresses, protocols, and port numbers
- Penetration testing to identify security weaknesses
- Detecting Problems Right Away
As data comes back from network scans, penetration testing, and firewall logs during monitoring, the anomalies are flagged—and you’re notified about what’s happening right away. The inconsistencies could suggest a malware attack, failure, or other vulnerability.
- Addressing Vulnerabilities
Once a weakness is uncovered, appropriate steps can be taken to solve the problem: install a patch, take part of the system offline temporarily, block malicious activity, etc.
Getting Help with Network Monitoring
If this process sounds like a lot of work (or seems like another full-time job) … you’re right. But network health isn’t something you can afford to set aside or overlook, so how can you make time for it?
Luckily, network monitoring isn’t a job you have to handle on your own.
Partnering with a trusted advisor like CEC for networking monitoring and patch management takes the burden from you and helps you sleep at night: We’re always watching your network for you. That way, you can spend your time on initiatives that have ROI and make a positive business impact.
As we monitor your network, CEC works as an extension of your team, collaborating with you to mitigate risks, improve security, and prevent future threats.
Want to learn more about our IT services or schedule a free technology assessment? Contact us!