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5 Steps To Get You There

Ask any high-level athlete the importance of continuously monitoring their health and performance, and they’ll tell you it’s the only way to stay on top of their game. The human body is a complex network of systems in which there are seemingly infinite potential points of failure that can ruin an athlete’s chance of winning if a problem isn’t identified and resolved early on. Monitoring all of that is, well, hard.

Like elite athletes, the IT architectures of today’s elite businesses are also complex networks of related and dependent systems with seemingly infinite points of potential failure that can harm a company’s ability to compete. As you may have guessed, it’s also very hard to do. As new components—an explosion of new tools, apps, and platforms—are continuously added to modern infrastructure, those networks become increasingly more difficult to monitor, manage, and optimize.

Sure, everybody wants to perform better, more efficiently, and win. Yet, many companies fail to pay enough attention to the health of their network infrastructure…until it goes down. Downtime or degraded performance at any endpoint is immensely expensive, so there is an urgency to find ways to monitor – and improve – infrastructure health.

Businesses can no longer afford to be complacent with “good enough” management practices. Instead, they need to find more effective and efficient ways to predict and anticipate potential problems. It would allow IT leaders to allocate time and resources more strategically, focus more on proactive–not reactive–work, and create peace of mind knowing that every aspect of their infrastructure is well-protected and operating at peak performance.

When assessing the health of anything, it’s crucial to understand the current state of affairs and ascertain what is needed to make things faster, easier, and ultimately, better. The following five steps will help you better analyze and improve your company’s network infrastructure health.

1. Map current infrastructure architecture

The IT architecture of a company is a clear description of its business processes and functions, the applications that support them and the services that run the applications. While every company has an architecture, some might not know what it looks like “on paper.” As architectures grow organically over time, the resulting duplications, inconsistencies, or unreliable integrations and sheer volume of systems demanding attention makes it easy for potential performance killers to slip through the cracks.

Creating a detailed map of your current infrastructure architecture should be the first step in asserting more control and being able to better measure the overall health of your infrastructure. Sit down with the team and codify these various layers, detailing the workings within each. Adding a guide to upgrades and updates can also be helpful.

2. Determine the most critical information to monitor

Now that a map has been created, it’s time to prioritize how much attention to give existing solutions. Chances are good that companies have numerous endpoints to monitor, and few resources with which to do it, so determining how critical each is can be a major timesaver.

Sure, everything in your environment is “important,” but is it essential? Mission-critical? Maybe slightly less important? Determining a hierarchy of importance helps better focus your team’s attention (and resources). So, questions to consider at this phase are:

  • What systems currently in place have the highest value to our business?
  • What directly supports our IT strategy?
  • Are there any superfluous systems in use that could be delayed or cancelled?

Making IT architecture less complex and uncovering the most critical systems will allow your team to narrow the focus and calibrate priorities if necessary.

3. Streamline application performance

It’s one thing to figure out which systems and applications to monitor first; it’s another to actually use that monitoring to streamline operations and improve performance. But doing so can save a company measurable time and money. In terms of application performance, monitoring and adjusting bandwidth consumption, scouring for DNS or other accessibility errors, as well as predicting potential security breaches at the application layer is a smart place to start.

Collecting device data 24/7 and using this data to enhance performance is the cornerstone of smooth operations. Correlating information depending on what device features are enabled and creating more specific alerts allows for streamlining performance.

When alerts are actionable and self-explanatory, visits to tech support are minimized, troubleshooting is faster, and performance is optimized.

4. Catch issues before they occur

It’s tricky to identify and address issues before they become full-blown problems. Keeping the status quo is easier, particularly when so many IT managers are strapped for time and resources. But IT teams aren’t omnipotent, and inevitably things go wrong that seemed to be working just fine only days or hours before. How can they foresee problems before the dreaded call comes in?

When IT teams know what to look for and where, they’re able to uncover potential issues faster and ultimately, can avoid the fallout. Even then, there are just simply too many places to look, which is where automated monitoring solutions come in handy.

Proactive monitoring solutions like Indeni can continuously run diagnostics to alert IT leaders of areas of potential concern and leverage knowledge from experts from all over the world to highlight best practices to resolve issues faster before they become problematic.

The clarity and insight that comes from having complete visibility into individual device and system performance over time dramatically simplifies troubleshooting of individual instances and enables IT teams to proactively fine-tune various aspects of their networks and infrastructure to alleviate the risk of future issues.

5. Regularly scheduled maintenance

Like any advanced technology, your IT infrastructure needs continuous attention and maintenance to avoid a complete or catastrophic breakdown. Just as you’d take your car in for an oil change or visit the doctor for an annual checkup, your IT environment also needs regularly scheduled maintenance and upkeep.

Of course, knowing which parts of your infrastructure need attention and when is a big part of the challenge. Automating several of the lower-priority maintenance tasks, like software or firmware updates, with network monitoring tools greatly reduces the burden and frees IT resources to focus on planning updates, upgrades, or other maintenance activities on higher-value assets in the environment.

With proactive monitoring solutions, updates and alerts become a part of a standard process, providing IT teams with valuable information to track, monitor, and optimize systems, endpoints, and applications across the enterprise on a set schedule that works for them and not the other way around.

Proactive infrastructure monitoring for optimal health and performance

Just as it’s difficult to prevent every disease or every mechanical breakdown of your automobile, it’s equally (if not more) challenging to try and prevent every potential health issue within your IT environment. But proactive infrastructure monitoring solutions help close the gap, paying attention to the farthest reaches of your infrastructure when you don’t always have the time to do it yourself.

With actionable, reliable alerts and a nearly infinite knowledge base for reference, Indeni helps protect your environment from unforeseen problems and keep everything in tip-top shape.

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BlueCat acquires Indeni to boost its industry-leading DNS, DHCP and IP address management platform to help customers proactively assess network health and prevent outages.