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How to Prepare Your Network Before Problems Happen

How to Prepare Your Network Before Problems Happen

Jan 11 2016

It’s the thing that keeps Network Engineers up at night – quite literally. The dreaded afterhours call from your organization’s CEO, wondering why he or she is receiving complaints about the network. Are you confident that you and your team can track down the problem, no matter the place and time? If you have properly prepared your network, you won’t need to worry.

Here are three steps for preparing your network before issues arise:

  1. Incorporate access points into your network’s design.

    In the early stages of building your organization’s network, be sure to include secure points that can be accessed remotely. These will enable your team to “see” all systems on your network, including firewalls, Ethernet switches, routers and servers from anywhere, at any time once the network is deployed. Don’t forget to include this remote secure monitoring and access for new devices that you deploy in the future. Make sure to maintain phone, account, and circuit numbers for primary and secondary service providers. You don’t want to point the finger back to them, but sometimes getting them started on their own troubleshooting is worth a call.

  2. Give critical team members remote access.

    Establishing access points to your network won’t matter if there is no one to access them. Have a plan in place detailing which members of your team have remote access to your organization’s network. Maintain a schedule of who is on call in the event of a network issue. This is typical for larger networks but for smaller ones, having someone who knows how to isolate and troubleshoot an issue quickly is vital, especially when communicating with senior management. When that call from your boss comes (and it will), you will not need to bounce between team members to figure out who is available. It’s also critical that these team members have full remote access, and know how to troubleshoot from their own mobile devices and other BYODs.

  3. Deploy a pervasive monitoring system.

    In addition to building access points into your organization’s network architecture, a pervasive monitoring system will give you and your team deep visibility into critical areas. Having a record of recent network traffic, log files, and access to data is best practice. Deploying network recorders at key points of network ingress/egress, near databases with inline taps like the FTP-1504 will enable 24/7 permanent packet capture. While these taps can be deployed at any time, it is best to install them early and establish a base line of traffic and patterns on your network.

    Do not forget to check syslogs to determine any recent changes to network devices, which is one of the most common causes of network issues. With access to current live and historical network traffic, you will be able to more quickly and definitively identify issues when they arise. 

At Datacom Systems, our line of passive network taps can be easily deployed on a network at any time, incurring minimal latency. And as non-powered devices, they will not drop packets in the event of a power loss. To learn more about what you can do to properly prepare and monitor your network ahead of time, contact our Sales Team.