For many companies, the beginning of October is also the beginning of the fourth and final quarter of the fiscal year. In IT, it’s a time to prepare for the new year by defining our priorities and setting our budget.

COVID-19 threw a wrench into all of our 2020 plans last year and a lot has changed since then. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for a network monitoring system in your software stack. In fact, allocating money in your budget for network monitoring in 2021 may be more important than ever. Here are five reasons why.

1. Easily keep up with changing network requirements

When was the last time you reviewed your network architecture, layout, and equipment? If I’m a betting man, I’d guess it was a while ago, and in the last year alone, we’ve seen tremendous change in the way networks are being used.

Just think: When you first designed your network, did you foresee that…

  • We’d end up in a “client to cloud” network model where the network is simply a vessel for users to connect to the cloud-based applications they rely on to do their jobs?
  • Users would no longer solely be on-prem and—in some cases—they all may be working from home?
  • We’d slowly replace everything with their smart equivalents? I’m talking about smart sensors, doors, light bulbs, coffee machines, and more.

The fact is, our network requirements are evolving at a rapid pace, and as the goalposts change, you need to make sure your network keeps up. It’s easier to do that when you know exactly how your network is laid out.

2. Get ahead of the curve when it comes to network issues

When it comes to network issues, you often only find out about them when a user is already affected. By then, you’re left scrambling to identify the issue, find its root cause, and get the affected user back online. It’s a highly reactive process… but it doesn’t have to be.

With a network monitoring system, you’ll know about potential network issues long before your users are affected thanks to a number of handy features, including:

  1. Real-time alerts and notifications
  1. Detailed performance metrics and KPIs for every device on the network
  1. Visibility into who’s on the network, what they’re doing, and where their traffic is going so you can mitigate bandwidth issues
  1. Integrations with communication tools so you never miss an alert

3. Beef up your network security by minimizing network risks

If network needs and requirements are evolving at a rapid pace, then network security threats are evolving at warp speed. It feels like we’re learning about a new threat every day.

In order to keep your network safe, you need to know what’s on your network. A network monitoring system can give you:

  • Complete visibility into the devices connected to your network, including details like make and model, serial number, and IP address.
  • Access to the current software and firmware version of every device it discovers, so you can quickly see which version it’s running.
  • Detailed lifecycle data from supported devices to show you whether they’re on current or expired support contracts, whether there are more up-to-date software versions available if devices are eligible to receive critical security updates, and if devices are still available for purchase.

With this information at your fingertips, you can be aware of and eliminate potential risks—like outdated firmware or unknown devices—from your network.

4. Get the best “bang for your buck” from your network devices

In the 2019 Network Vendor Diversity report, we found that the network hardware market is becoming more crowded and fragmented. That means there are more device vendors than ever out there competing for a spot on your network.

While industry giants like Cisco are still going strong, there are always new up-and-coming players either entering the market or chipping away at Cisco’s lead. This begs the question—are you getting the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to what’s on your network, or are you just sticking with what you have because it’s easy?

Using your device inventory in a network monitoring system, you can see a complete list of what devices are deployed on each network you’re responsible for managing. (You may even be surprised by what you find—we’ve discovered device vendors like US Robotics taking up a small share of the switch category.)

As you plan your next network refresh, you can use this info to determine if there’s a more cost-effective solution, if there are device vendors who are leaps and bounds ahead—product development-wise—from what you’re currently working with, or if you’d like to consolidate which devices you’re managing.

5. Make more time for what’s really important in 2021

Ultimately, the biggest lesson we’ve all learned this year is that life can turn on a dime. You can go from living your life normally to being locked inside for weeks or months in the blink of an eye.

With that in mind, it’s important to make more time for what’s important as you head into 2021: your health, your family, your relationships, and yourself. To do so, you need to take some time away from your computer and shed a bit of the workload you’ve been bearing this past year.

By investing in an easy-to-use network monitoring system, you can not only streamline and automate network monitoring tasks, but you can also enable all of your team members to respond to network issues.

When network issues arise, your team can solve them quickly with the resources at hand, and senior engineers won’t get sucked into handling the day-to-day problems that pop up.

Want to take Auvik for a test drive before adding it to your IT budget?

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