network-troubleshooting copyWhen a user, or a group of users, complain about not having access to network resources, IT staff need to ensure that they can resolve the matter within the shorted time possible. A common mistake by both newbies and seasoned IT professionals is to take the “shoot from the hip” approach. Network troubleshooting requires a methodical approach in which IT staff take sequential steps to diagnose, identify and resolve problems speedily.

 It might just be the user and not the network.

Diagnosis of a network problem is the process of identifying the cause of the issue by gathering as much information as possible. This information-gathering will reveal much of the root cause and place you on the right path to problem resolution. Collecting information from staff should reveal much of where the problem lies. It may be that only one person is experiencing a connectivity issue and this allows you to isolate the problem to one person only

It may be that the staff member has lost access to resources based on a change in access permissions implemented by one of your team members, or it could be a simple case of an unplugged network cable or even an expired password. So, start with the user and gather as much information as you can and work your way from there.

When multiple users are affected.

If you find that more than one staff member is unable to access a network resource such as an application or network share, check if the server is responding to pings in order to eliminate any connectivity issues. If you’re not getting any replies from the server, then it’s time to dig a little deeper. Working you way down from the application to the physical layer will eliminate each possible cause until you can identify where the problem is coming from. A methodical approach to network troubleshooting prevents you from taking excessive steps to resolve what minor problems. For instance, rebooting an application server should be a last resort when one or two users are experiencing trouble accessing it.

Use monitoring tools to simplify network troubleshooting.

Network monitoring tools allow you to set thresholds for performance and alert you and your team once those limits have been exceeded. Identify where to set your thresholds and make sure that alerting is configured to notify the correct staff and kick off the troubleshooting process. It is important for you to identify and set thresholds relevant to your environments and not merely accept the defaults of the monitoring solution you employ.

Proactive monitoring eliminates network troubleshooting.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Understanding the health status of your network devices at any given time means you can accurately predict and prevent problems in your environment. Proactive monitoring by means of implementing a monitoring system means you don’t have to hear from staff about the network underperforming or becoming inaccessible. Instead, it places you on the front foot and helps you, not only prevent network problems, but constantly improve overall performance, implement necessary changes or upgrades and keep the system secure from internal and external threats.

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