As IT security staff contend with the threat from cyber crime and fast-spreading malware, they consistently look for technologies to give them comprehensive network security. Implementing a network monitoring solution provides IT staff with advance warning about threats, as well as visibility into bandwidth issues that can signal security risks and point out hardware deficiencies.

Network monitoring solutions for the enterprise should be holistically integrated with the complete security suite, including various port scanners, virus monitors and encryption software that are already in place. Monitoring can identify unusual peaks in usage, which can be a sign of a threat or an indication that another part of the system is pulling too many resources and should be scanned for infection.

Without instant notification of a threat, IT admins are not able to react in enough time to limit or prevent the leakage of data or interruption of services. Enhanced visibility allows staff to better analyze and fix security gaps to prevent future problems.

The most sophisticated monitoring tool is useless if it cannot quickly alert IT staff to the existence of a security threat. Network managers need a solution that uses multiple notification technologies beyond email or SMS, including notifications to mobile devices, simple network management protocol (SNMP) traps and alarm sound files. Alerts should be segmented into logical categories, such as notices for escalations, multiple conditions, thresholds and limit warnings where usage is above/below a certain value.

Solutions that offer robust reporting will be able to provide information on requests, up- and downtime percentages, the top bandwidth users and top ping times, among many other data points. By using the monitoring solution as a source of real-time reporting, IT security management can plan infrastructure updates and reduce network costs.