IT infrastructure is the backbone of any IT organization. An IT infrastructure comprises multiple components such as hardware assets, networks, applications, etc. And for an IT organization to function smoothly, it is important for all these components to function properly—autonomously as well as with each other. But how do we know if our IT infrastructure and its components are functioning properly? Through IT infrastructure monitoring.
IT infrastructure monitoring doesn’t just help you in understanding the status of the infrastructure at a given moment, it also helps in understanding the infrastructure’s past performance and can help in predictions. Such intelligence helps organizations make smarter business decisions and improve their organization.
In this post, we will explain what IT infrastructure monitoring entails, as well as its benefits. Following that, we will see the what and how of IT infrastructure monitoring.
What Is IT Infrastructure Monitoring?
IT infrastructure monitoring is a process and a part of getting insights into your organization. This includes collecting data from various points, processing them, and visualizing the data to understand the IT infrastructure. It helps put all important events and activities in one place in an easy-to-understand manner.
Almost every organization has IT infrastructure monitoring in place. But not every organization uses it to its full potential. For example, almost every organization has a system/process in place to know when their server(s) goes down. This might be enough to solve the problem after it has occurred, but it’s not always enough to prevent such cases. By enhancing your monitoring capabilities and by using continuous monitoring, you could predict such issues and prevent them. For example, let’s say a server goes down due to overload. Based on analytics and intelligence, you could predict when you might get high traffic to servers and add more resources to prevent outages.
You can use a simple stack for monitoring, such as system event logs, protocols, databases, and visualization tools. Alternatively, you can use dedicated IT infrastructure software. Your choice should depend on your capabilities and requirements. IT infrastructure monitoring is a continuous process and it improves visibility into the IT infrastructure. On top of that, IT infrastructure monitoring also helps in other ways. So, let’s dive deeper into how it can help.
How Does IT Infrastructure Monitoring Help?
IT infrastructure monitoring provides visibility into IT programs. Visibility is always important for stakeholders to gain business and process insights. Speaking of IT infrastructure monitoring and the visibility it provides, here are some of the main benefits.
Resources are one of the major and most crucial parts of IT infrastructure. Because of this, you should pay a lot of attention to resource management. You should neither have fewer resources than you need nor have more resources than you need. You should aim to have the optimal amount of resources. IT infrastructure monitoring helps you understand what is optimal for you. By analyzing your infrastructure’s status and performance, you can understand where and what resources you need for the smooth functioning of the organization. As a result, you can plan resource management according to this intelligence and make smarter decisions.
Decreased Time to Fix
IT infrastructure monitoring is a continuous process. You can set up real-time alerts and notifications for particular triggers. Therefore, you increase your chances of knowing almost immediately when something goes wrong. As a result, your time to fix an issue decreases, and this ensures less disruption for your workflow.
Early Detection of Problems
The world is moving from being reactive to being proactive. IT infrastructure monitoring helps you collect and analyze real-time and periodic data. Using this data, you can get a close read of what’s going on in your IT infrastructure. You can also run scans to detect issues in your infrastructure. By doing this, you can identify problems in your infrastructure early, before they affect the workflow, and work on fixing them.
Security is an inseparable part of organizations. Monitoring IT infrastructure can help you identify security threats and compromises and help you improve security. For example, certain spikes in the network can indicate a DoS attack. Or the addition of suspicious users with unexpected privilege can indicate a security breach. You can also analyze outgoing traffic and prevent security issues. For example, if you see traffic going to a website hosting malware, you could block that domain. Though security is a larger topic in itself, some part of IT infrastructure monitoring intersects with it.
Past intelligence helps in having a controlled future. By understanding your network and analyzing data, you can make better plans for the future. These plans could be scheduled maintenance, upgrading the infrastructure, or building infrastructure in the future.
These are some of the benefits of IT infrastructure monitoring. And of course, you could benefit more depending on what you monitor and how you put that data to use. This brings us to two important questions: What should you monitor? And how?
What Should You Monitor?
Ideally, everything that’s part of an IT infrastructure should be monitored. But at a high level, we can categorize these into three parts:
Hardware monitoring involves monitoring the hardware aspects of the infrastructure, such as power, battery, and temperature. Software monitoring involves monitoring operating systems, applications used by end users, software used for the functioning of the organization, and more. Network monitoring involves monitoring the network configurations, performance, and activities, among others.
A combination of these three helps in understanding the complete picture, and it gives more visibility into the organization and the activities.
How to Start IT Infrastructure Monitoring
To monitor your IT infrastructure, you need to first have a system in place. A typical IT infrastructure monitoring system has the following components:
- Collector: Used to collect data from various points in the infrastructure. The collector collects data and sends it to the processor.
- Processor: The processor performs tasks such as parsing and calculating derived data, then sends the data to the storage.
- Storage: This is where the data is stored.
- Analytics: These are used to get data from storage and to visualize it in an easy-to-understand format. Analytics can include diagrams, charts, and filters.
There are two ways you can start IT infrastructure monitoring. The first way is to build and configure all the components mentioned above and have them integrated into your infrastructure. This is a good option if you’re looking for a customized solution and want to have flexibility. But building something from scratch would take time, so it’s not an option if you want to start soon. The second way is to use existing monitoring tools. You can find many tools out there that are built for the sole purpose of infrastructure. Though using third-party tools might not be as flexible and custom as your in-house ones, tools like Netreo have a lot of features for almost every need.
IT infrastructure monitoring is a continuous process of collecting and analyzing IT infrastructure data. Consequently, it’s a great way of getting insights into your organization, and it can be used to make smarter decisions. We’ve gone through the main benefits of IT infrastructure monitoring, and the benefits are convincing enough to start monitoring right away.
To start with IT infrastructure monitoring, you have to have a clear idea of what you want to monitor. We went through some high-level categories of what can be monitored and also how to start monitoring. If you’re not using IT infrastructure monitoring to its full potential, then you’re sitting on a gold mine and doing nothing about it. And if you’re looking for a solution for IT infrastructure monitoring, you should check out Netreo.
This post was written by Omkar Hiremath. Omkar is a cybersecurity team lead who is enthusiastic about cybersecurity, ethical hacking, and Python. He is keenly interested in bug bounty hunting and vulnerability analysis.