Computer networks have changed greatly since the days of simple designs where every component is connected by wire. New technologies as such mobile devices, clouds, remote users and more have dictated new needs for modern networks. Through all this change, Network Monitoring has remained a staple for well-developed networks. Below are some fundamental knowledge an administrator must be equipped with in order to effectively monitor a network...
General Networking- To effectively monitor a network, the network administrator should have a basic understanding of networking. A network is a collection of devices that are connected; a device communicates with other devices via a common transport or communication protocol. Networks can be categorized by the size of their physical area: Local(LAN), Metropolitan(MAN), or Wide(WAN) Area Networks. Networks can also be identified by their topologies: ring, bus, star, mesh, etc...
Network Monitoring- Network monitoring is a system used to constantly monitor a given network for slow or failing components; furthermore, the network monitoring system enables the administrator to monitor the network for potential threats against the network and its components. The network monitoring system notifies the administrator(s) of potential troubles within the network. If properly executed, this system allows the administrator(s) to protect as well as increase the reliability of their network by preventing potential issues from affecting the productivity of the network users.
FCAPS- As we've discussed, there are many objectives that network monitoring aims to achieve. These objectives fall under the categories of Fault management, Configuration Management, Administration management, Performance management and Security, or FCAPS for short.
- Fault Management- Fault management encompasses recognizing, isolating and resolving faults and potential issues within the system.
- Configuration Management- Configuration Management involves collection and storage of configurations for various devices in the network. Many issues with a network can occur due to poor configuration, making this an important measure for preemptive fault control.
- Administration Management- Administration management handles the administering of end-users in the network with passwords, permissions and roles. Groups and classifications of users also fall under this section.
- Performance Management- Performance management covers overall performance of the network. Parameters for performance such as throughput, packet loss and response times are aggregated to this management.
- Security- Security covers the control of access to network accounts, resources and user data as well as protecting it. This is considered the most important section as every other goal is placed under security's jurisdiction with minimum or least privilege given to any other component for the security of the system.
Information Technology Pathway
Robert Turner College and Career High School
Intern - Cyber Security Institute, University of Houston-Clear Lake