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The Visibility Gap: How to Avoid Blind Spots in IT Monitoring

IT monitoring is a requirement of the modern IT organization for ensuring the health and security of all layers in the IT stack. But, as inclusive as organizations try to be when maintaining a vigil over the moving pieces in a network, some systems ultimately escape notice. But instead of accepting this as a cost of doing business, consider the task at hand: prevent the unseen from causing harm to IT infrastructures and to the business processes reliant on them.

Determining and Refining Your Scope of Visibility

What needs to be included in the scope of your monitoring strategy? This commonly asked question requires a balanced effort of diligence and detective work. Determining the scope of IT monitoring activities must start with creating an outline of relevant systems information from all of your platforms. This will allow for the individual aspects of each system to be delivered and broken down by their appropriate stakeholders for deeper levels of evaluation. Taking the outline and collaborating with all IT groups in the organization will help you define and implement monitoring with complete visibility into the IT assets you have. This will include looking at specialized hardware devices and cloud-based networks being used, as well as the traffic routes throughout all systems, including hybrid cloud configurations. But as helpful as this is, the potential for systems to still remain hidden may require the use of monitoring tools to aid in their discovery.

The Illusion of Comprehensive Monitoring Coverage

Having all the top-notch, award-winning monitoring tools at your disposal won’t be enough to ensure comprehensive monitoring coverage. Many monitoring tools can create the illusion of seeing everything of note within your infrastructure, but it only create a false sense of security. This is especially noticeable when data packets containing sensitive information disappear from view for periods of time, appearing as if by magic within another system on your network. This is a solid indication of a monitoring blind spot. This indication alone should shed some light into the capabilities of your current monitoring tools. It may be tempting to throw more tools at the problem, but this just leads to monitoring sprawl that does nothing to alleviate the false sense of security you once enjoyed. So now what? What type of monitoring tools work best to provide a true sense of security through the elimination of network blind spots?

Uncovering Your Infrastructure Skeletons

Clarity is the essence of a successful IT department. Security protocols and configurations must be crystal clear, as does the knowledge of what servers are hosting which application. You must also be aware of the status of every asset in the organization. Gaining clarity into the root cause of the Hows and Whys behind system blind spots will help remediate these systems and bring them back into compliance with your organization’s specifications. You must have the right tools in place to perform the advanced levels of root cause analysis necessary for peeling away the layers of your network onion. The monitoring tools used to uncover hidden IT assets must, at the most fundamental level, provide the ability to bring together the complex layers of monitoring data from multiple platforms to succeed in these efforts. Also, the monitoring solution must employ intuitive levels of machine learning (ML) to help uncover hidden IT assets. Utilizing ML-based monitoring tools reduces the time spent executing root cause analyses while putting together a complete picture of your IT assets. ML will also be an invaluable aid toward eliminating monitoring silos that have a tendency to devolve into time-consuming manual tasks for IT administrators.

Eliminating the Visibility Gap With Single-Pane-of-Glass Monitoring Solutions

Identifying the stray pieces of technology in your stack and centralizing them (see Figure 1) for effective monitoring and management is an achievable goal. Single-pane-of-glass monitoring configurations give you an edge, thanks to their ability to present data from multiple infrastructure sources and present them in one, unified, view. These configurations provide a one-stop view into the inner workings of a network and help identify stray IT assets that need to be brought back into the fold. Example of monitoring tools managing all assets

Figure 1: Example of monitoring tools managing all assets

This type of monitoring solution possesses the ability to operate effectively in the complex and fast-paced IT environments of today while providing concisely targeted task automations that deliver true comprehensive monitoring coverage across your IT assets. It’s also agnostic in its ability to integrate within systems, and provides automated escalation actions, as well as advanced remediation actions as required—all within one innovative tool.

Reclaiming Control of Your Environment

Gaining full visibility into the state of your IT assets is a win for multiple reasons. You gain higher levels of security monitoring and add rapid incident-response capabilities for improved agility. But you must walk before you can run, and this requires some internal auditing of systems to identify and free them from their silos, so comprehensive management and monitoring of these systems can once again be highly productive. When looking for solutions to eliminate monitoring blind spots, look at what SolarWinds has to offer. It has one of the industry’s most respected names when it comes to monitoring and can give you 360-degree visibility to show exactly what you have and where it is.
Cary Kostka
Cary Kostka is an experienced IT professional with a passion for technology and writing. He has managed IT projects and has written concise technical content…
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