5 big network monitoring mistakes and how to solve them
If you run a sizable enterprise, your network is probably sprawling. You also probably have a network management or IT security team on the payroll to handle monitoring. Their job is to check the network for potential security intrusions, make sure resources aren’t overloaded in one area, and otherwise ensure that things run smoothly.
But the size of many networks can quickly become unwieldy, and even the best network monitoring teams can sometimes commit serious yet simple mistakes that can lead to quick disasters. It’s these mistakes that lead to sudden network outages, security breaches, and potentially millions of dollars lost.
Here are five of the most common network monitoring mistakes, plus ways to avoid them.
Being reactive to cybersecurity threats
New network management teams will often adopt a reactive approach to their cybersecurity, but this is often a mistake. The fact of the matter is that cyber-threats grow and evolve much faster than anyone can anticipate. A cybersecurity team that only reacts to various digital threats will constantly be on the back foot, be unable to challenge network vulnerabilities, and will eventually fail their network.
Adopting a proactive security approach is the best bet. This involves constantly being updated in terms of antivirus and cybersecurity practices, and it’s also why adopting open-sourced-based security measures is another good idea.
Several of the most popular open source-based DevOps tools, such as Monit and Nagios, come with network monitoring capabilities that can allow you to evolve your network’s security practices with much more agility and allow you to get updates more easily.
And of course, Pandora FMS can also help you with those kinds of problems, helping you manage backups, monitoring firmware update status through your inventory or making sure that antivirus programs work automatically through software agents.
Not watching both devices and applications
Most network teams are probably familiar with the reality that applications take up tons of network resources. But even understanding this, network monitoring teams will more often watch devices rather than applications, as if they can catch a potential security threat by device activity alone.
This is a problem since it prevents any monitoring team from getting the full picture of network performance and potential security vulnerabilities.
Anyone monitoring your network must have a full view of the network’s current status, potential breaches, and resource usage. For instance, a team needs to know if and when a breach occurs, and whether insufficient resources are being diverted to certain applications or users.
Otherwise, the network could go down. This is a huge deal, and even simple sites (like WordPress-based businesses or blogs) can take days or weeks to restore. Larger enterprises might be down for even longer, costing money and customers.
Look into a network monitoring vendor that can offer a unified network application monitoring suite. Or add more members to your team so that they have enough eyes on each aspect of your network. In other words, comprehension is the only way to guarantee excellent network functionality over the long-term.
Not collecting and analyzing network device logs
Practically all modern networking devices will generate logs that contain excellent information that network management teams can leverage for greater security, better efficiency, and less downtime. But if your enterprise isn’t collecting and using these logs, it’s literally giving away free information that could be used to run things better.
Network device logs offer critical information about how devices are operating, how network resources are being used, potential traffic spikes, and so on. This information can even help a team learn about a possible cybersecurity breach.
But if this information isn’t being collected, you’re not only wasting the functionality of your networked devices, but you’re also not doing your best for your enterprise and overall network.
Use the logs. This sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Your network managing team needs to get into the habit of collecting and analyzing network event logs every week, if not every day. Such habits can help them troubleshoot certain device issues, examine performance events and historical security, and even track user activity. All of these will lead to a or tightly run network and a more secure network overall.
Worried about these logs being compromised? Consider keeping this data (and any other sensitive data) in a SaaS cloud security service. This modern approach is already being adopted by companies in every industry, and an estimated 86% of all enterprises will be reliant on SaaS by 2022.
Most importantly, SaaS can keep your logs off vulnerable hardware on your campus or premises, plus keep it retrievable in an instant and protected by the most up-to-date security software on the market.
Again, Pandora FMS can also help you collect and see logs in a simple, easy and economical way, so that you can locate them whenever you need thanks to a search engine based on text strings. In addition, you will have at your disposal an excellent tool to create reports for better result display.
Neglecting key network updates
Many networks are vulnerable because their management teams fail to properly monitor for updates and improvements to technology. Cybercriminals and their methods of intrusion and hacking are constantly evolving, but so are counterefforts and defense technologies.
Yet failing to utilize these – such as failing to roll out a security update for a campus’s network – can lead to huge problems that could have easily been avoided with the right habits and attention.
A network management team should constantly be abreast of new digital developments, including new updates for software and security technology. This is best done by having the team review relevant sites and informative newsletters, as well as paying attention to update requests and packets sent out by technology used by your network. Never let an update go uninstalled.
Pandora FMS is also capable of helping you find out whether your software is in optimal conditions. For example, thanks to Pandora FMS Inventory you may use search tools in real time that help you locate hardware devices, users or vulnerable versions of installed software. Furthermore, you may receive alerts in the face of any changes in your IT actives, like for example a new user logging into your system, a new application being installed or hardware version changes
Not imposing digital hygiene practices on users
This big network monitoring mistake doesn’t take place in the digital realm at all. Instead, it concerns how enterprise employees (or even executives) use their technology and expose their network to hacking or other vulnerabilities.
For instance, imagine a CEO that leaves his or her work email’s password out for anyone to pick up. Such an incident could easily cause a huge scandal – the network monitoring team might notice something was wrong, but see the CEO’s credentials and not recognize the breach until it’s too late. Improper digital hygiene can lead to a number of issues including network resource misuse, hacks, and many more problems that you don’t want to deal with.
The solution to this real-world problem is also based on real-world practices. Network management teams should regularly give out digital hygiene seminars and informative practice sessions to train employees about smart password protection, code use, and network access protocols.
All of these will go a long way toward preventing your enterprise and network from being easily penetrated or taken down by an opportunistic cybercriminal.
Alternatively, your network management team can also require that employees using company devices use virtual private networks (VPNs) to encrypt company data and hide it from hackers. Most VPNs are actually very effective at masking your information and IP addresses, so long as you go with one that utilizes AES 256-bit or IKEv2 encryption protocols.
Yet another option would be for the company to install antivirus systems to stop malware, spam and phishing filters for company emails, and impose similar security measures. These management practices will combine to make your network stronger overall.
The bottom line is this: network monitoring is a big job, and there are lots of network monitoring mistakes you could make. But network management teams can still take charge and avoid some of the common mistakes that bring down big companies by following the above practices. Don’t let your company be an easy target for network hackers or fall prey to simple network resource mismanagement.
If you want to check how Pandora FMS can help you solve issues in your network’s monitoring, the best way is to experience it yourself. Get a Pandora FMS Enterprise FREE 30-DAY TRIAL.
Sam Bocetta is a former security analyst for the Department of Defense and current freelance journalist specializing in writing about cybersecurity, technology, and cryptography. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling around the United States in his RV with his wife and fly fishing out in the woods. Currently working as part-time cybersecurity coordinator at assignyourwriter.co.uk
Sam Bocetta es un antiguo analista de seguridad del Departamento de Defensa y actual periodista independiente especializado en escribir sobre seguridad cibernética, tecnología y criptografía. En su tiempo libre, disfruta viajando por los Estados Unidos en su RV con su esposa y pescando con mosca en el bosque. Actualmente trabaja como coordinador de ciberseguridad a tiempo parcial en assignyourwriter.co.uk