Network downtime, to some extent, is unavoidable. No matter how well prepared you may be or how stable your network is, at some point you’re likely to deal with an incapacitated server, or an unreachable network segment. What matters most, though, is how you respond to a network outage, and how quickly you can get back on your feet. Being prepared for the worst is crucial when running a large-scale environment – pre-empting network issues means you’ll experience far less downtime, and when you do lose connectivity, you’ll be able to recover in a fraction of the time, while minimising the impact to productivity and profit.
Here are some tips to help you stay on top of monitoring your systems and predict downtime:
- Choose your weapon
For most small to medium sized businesses, a single server with monitoring software should be enough to handle all of your monitoring needs. However, if your network is distributed among several sites, it may help to use more than one server. Most monitoring suites will allow client or browser-based remote access, so it’s worth considering having an off-site monitoring station. This will ensure that you don’t have a single point of failure, and also means you’ll know when there is an internet connection failure or a disruption to your local network.
- Out with the old
It may sound like a no-brainer, but old network hardware can be the cause of a host of network troubleshooting problems. Aging server equipment can cause unexpected downtime on your network at best, and potentially lead to data loss at worst. The initial cost of replacing old hardware might seem significant, but the investment will pay itself off several times over.
- Know your devices
Knowing which devices are connected to your network at which times, is key to determining how your network should run. While ping tests can return basic operational information such as traffic, packet errors and discards, consider using specialised plugins or queries to collect more particular types of data. Remember to adjust accordingly when you hire new staff, upgrade company hardware or purchase new devices for your team.
- Always Take Backup
It shouldn’t be news to anybody, but it’s a sad truth that many network troubleshooting issues can be avoided by having a rigorous backup schedule in place. Aside from the obvious loss of hours on network downtime, failing to back up important data could leave you to deal with hours of wasted work, disgruntled employees, and a lot of overtime salaries. Cloud-based storage is the perfect solution for being able to back up data on-the go from anywhere, so consider investing in cloud storage for your backup.
- Schedule & Report
Using network monitoring software doesn’t mean that you can sit back and let the computer do all the work – you’ll still need to be smart about your scheduling and reporting so that you get the most out of your software. Make sure that your monitoring schedule takes into account the different levels of activity your network is likely to experience on an average day, and keep your network troubleshooting reports concise and easy to understand. Having a graphic information display, for instance, will help your networking team determine the environment’s status at a glance. Visualisation of complex network data makes for less tedious troubleshooting when complex network issues occur.
- Know what you’re working with
There are many ways to go about monitoring your network. Your network troubleshooting strategy should be informed by the business’s demand for service availability and uptime, as well as external factors such as the size of your business, the number of devices connected and how busy you are at any given moment. It’s always helpful to measure the amount of used versus unused resources in your network in addition to its performance.
If you need more information on network troubleshooting software and how to keep ahead of your business network, IRIS Network Systems offers professional network monitoring software that is more than capable of handling your business’s networking needs. IRIS offers a comprehensive suite of software that makes tracking and reporting your network status easier than ever before.
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