Synopsis: Network monitoring involves watching the problems of your network 24/7, but there’s more to it.

It is also about how to optimize data flow and ensure access in an environment that’s undergoing constant changes and is complex by nature. Just as the environments are numerous and varied, so are the network monitoring tools and services. Read on to know more about what network monitoring encompasses.

Network monitoring can be called a part of network management that monitors a computer network on a constant basis to find out slow or failing components, and notify the network administrator via pager, email, or other alarms whenever it locates any outages. For a corporate network, network monitoring is a vital IT function that can help save cost related to the performance of network, productivity of the employees and infrastructure cost overruns.

Using a proper network monitoring system, you can monitor an internal network and get to know the problems almost instantly, as and when they happen. Be it the problem of web page downloads at a snail pace, e-mails that are lost-in-space, crashed servers, questionable user activity, trouble in file delivery due to overload, dicey network connections or problems related to some other devices, you can resolve them using an efficient network monitoring system.

You can use a variety of software or a blend of plug-and-play hardware as well as software appliance solutions to set up a competent network monitoring system. Thanks to the advent of technology, you can virtually monitor any kind of network these days. It is pretty immaterial whether your network is wired or wireless, a VPN, corporate LAN, or service provider WAN. You can even monitor devices that are on a wide range of operating systems and have various functions, which range from regular cell phones and high-end BlackBerrys to servers, switches and routers. Network monitoring system can help you recognize specific performance and activities metrics, thereby producing results that can help a business to deal with its diverse and sundry needs, including safeguarding its network against internal security threats, meeting compliance requirements, and offering more operational visibility.

Before setting up your network monitoring system, you need to have a clear idea about what you want to monitor on your network. You should also ensure that you have a state-of-the-art corporate network topology map, which should lay out precisely:

- the different kinds of networks that you need to monitor
- details about which applications are run by which servers and on which operating system
- the number of desktops that you need to be included in the system
- the type of remote devices that can access each network

Remember - clarity at the outset of things makes the entire process of selecting the proper monitoring tools somewhat simpler.

Many people think that they don’t need network monitoring system when their network is up and running without any problem. Some even don’t want to mess with the set up that has been working quite well. However, you need to understand that network monitoring can help in maintaining your network's current health, thereby ensuring availability and improving its performance. In fact, network monitoring is often compared to a visit to a cardiologist, where you are combining experience, technology and judgment to chart the performance of a system.

So, give a thumbs up to network monitoring today and start monitoring your network 24 hours a day, each day.