When it comes to protecting your business against events that can halt operations, the ultimate defense is early prevention. This especially holds true for network security, where early monitoring can halt glitches, malicious attacks, and other network issues before they can develop into system-wide problems. While there’s some variety depending on the network’s size and type, there are a few universal principles and best practices that your IT department or firm should follow.
Establish a Baseline
Monitoring your network won’t produce results unless you know what you’re looking for. When starting out fresh, take the time to monitor your network to establish a baseline for what constitutes normal or typical behavior on your specific network and then build your metrics for issues from there. Important metrics to consider include disk utilization, memory and CPU usage, connectivity speed and up-time, and notable but predictable spikes in network activity. Establishing a baseline will help you to single out actual problems from simple quirks and nuances to how your particular network operates. You might also want to check out how a networking solution business like Maximum Computer Systems can help you prepare for today’s technology needs.
Customize Your Alerts
Not every network issue is a critical disaster and while treating each as such might be possible with unlimited resources, it simply isn’t practical in most situations. Therefore, customize your monitoring software’s alert features by establishing a system of escalating alerts based on thresholds paired to a specific metric. At each threshold, set up the alerts to contact the appropriate staff through increasingly direct means, with the lowest alert sending out an email, while having higher priority alerts reach you directly via text. There’s some variation here depending on how large your IT staff is, so choose a scaled alert system that works best for your situation.
Sometimes what looks like a network problem can actually result from a router or bandwidth problem, server issues, a simple software malfunction, or an issue specific to a single piece of hardware. Always be monitoring at multiple levels, be it the physical cables and devices, the network layer’s IP addresses, the transport protocols at your transport layer, and beyond. If you aren’t considering each of these areas both individually and how they interact together, at best you’ll have a muddied picture of what network problems exist without being able to single out their individual causes.
Roughly 70 percent of companies faced a successful cyber-attack in just 2015, and more than 50 percent predict another incident of corporate hacking against their network. It’s a simple fact that many of these attacks result from mistakes or negligence on the part of your users. Therefore, it’s vital that users are given a basic understanding of network security to protect both themselves and the network as a whole. Make sure your users are changing their passwords regularly, updating their individual computer’s software as necessary, are aware of basic phishing techniques and how to avoid them, and most importantly, be accessible to them so that they can quickly report incidents or reach out to you for other questions.