With intellectual property, customer data, trade secrets, employee information, and more traversing the network, IT teams need to be aware of the latest network trends – and how to monitor them.

One of the most important assets to an enterprise is the network. If the network is not directly responsible for revenue, why even have one? With that in mind, successful organizations today are always staying one step ahead of the trends and planning IT budgets accordingly.

Larger Networks, More Demands

Networks have grown ever larger over the years with more and more users and devices connected to them. In addition, there are more demands upon those networks. Network engineers, often directly responsible for performance, get complaints that the network is slow, or that users can’t access applications or critical business assets. These complaints are all a sign of poor network performance.

Many employees accept poor network performance as par for the course. However, taking a more proactive stance on network performance management is actually critical to the success of a company.

The Cost of Lost Productivity

If employees can’t do certain things on the network, or are impacted by slow network speeds, then network performance is having a negative effect on productivity – and the bottom line. A 2016 study carried out in Australia and New Zealand showed that network outages cause a productivity loss of over 50 hours per year. The three applications that had the biggest impact on network performance were email, voice and video communication tools, and office productivity applications. Those are troubling results, especially since offices around the world rely on those applications in order to get work done.

Missed Opportunities

Without investment in network management solutions, enterprises miss out on valuable business opportunities. It can be hard to conceptualize how much a lost opportunity costs because it’s not easily quantified. When enough of those losses add up, though, the problem becomes clear.

For example, if a customer-facing website is slow because of poor network performance management, potential customers lose patience with the site, and the purchase of products or services is impacted. When it’s time to move into a different market or deploy new technologies, your network may not be able to handle the demands such a shift would place upon it. That can spell trouble for the business.

Malware and Other Threats

In addition to network growing pains, there are a host of hackers who also find value in enterprise data. With threats like Petya, WannaCry and others constantly looming, it often isn’t a matter of if the network will be breached, it’s when. Syslogs, metadata, and packet capture are all data sources that can feed into performance monitoring tools and provide valuable information and analytics about network traffic before, during, and post-attack. It is smart to invest in these tools before a network is breached because afterward may be too late.

Cloud, SDN, Virtualization

Next-generation technologies affect how data can be accessed. In order to maintain visibility while taking advantage of the financial flexibility offered by moving to the cloud, check with your network performance monitoring vendor about how to maintain visibility in the cloud – and beyond.

Moving Forward

While the trends affecting network performance management will change, one thing that won’t is the importance of network performance monitoring. To learn more about network performance monitoring, read the 2017 Gartner Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD) Magic Quadrant Report.

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