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The how and why of network monitoring tools

What exactly does ‘network visibility’ mean and how do network monitoring tools provide added value?

Network visibility is a broad term that can be summarized as ‘being aware of the different devices connected to and the used data shared within a network’.


But network visibility is not only about being aware of the different parts of a network, but also about insights into the behavior and traffic generated by the different nodes. Those insights allow us to manage networks more efficiently and securely, and to elevate the performance.


To gain those insights, we use so-called network monitoring tools. Those software tools, for example LogicMonitor, Solarwinds and Zabbix, offer in-depth insights. In addition to these specific software tools, the products of major network vendors like Cisco and Palo Alto Networks consist of extensive logging functionalities for better network visibility.


How do network monitoring tools operate?

Those software packages collect data in different ways. The first – and currently most used – possibility is SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol. As the name suggests, this protocol allows us monitor and manage networks in a very easy and simple way. Unfortunately, they only allow to read and write data, and nothing more.


Monitoring can also be done via syslog – a slightly bit older protocol – that allows network devices to send messages to one another. Think about a timestamp or specific information about an event. Those messages can be saved and analyzed on a syslog server, connected to a network monitoring tool.


Finally: some platforms offer their own networking monitoring tools. Cisco Meraki for example is fully cloud-managed, which makes it possible to consult all information, problems and alerts about the network environment via the dashboard in your browser.


Time is money

Efficiency, performance, security, etc. It all sounds great, but what does it mean in practice? What’s the added value of network monitoring tools? Time, of course! We all know time is money. And it’s not any different in an operational environment. Engineers can very quickly make an analysis based on the logged information by correct usage of network monitoring tools. Even more, they can often prevent production downtime by proactively monitoring important data points, such as network congestion and vital parameters of critical hardware. Prevention is of course even better than curing! The investments in network monitoring are therefore quickly recovered!

How does spotit fit in the picture?

No matter which tool you use, the management of such hardware and software requires specialists. The experienced engineers at spotit take care of the set-up, management, and daily monitoring of your enterprise network environment. This way, we create network visibility for you, via the best tools and with a correct response.