How Infrastructure Monitoring Can Improve Security and Performance

by Mar 8, 2021

The security and performance of a computing environment can be improved by implementing infrastructure monitoring. Insights produced by a robust monitoring tool can alert you to the resource issues that impact performance. The same information can also be used to provide evidence of attempts by malicious actors to access enterprise systems. 

Improving Performance Through Infrastructure Monitoring

In its most basic form, infrastructure monitoring tracks the performance of the various components that make up a computing environment. A viable monitoring tool will alert the staff to outages so they can be addressed promptly. The most effective way to use infrastructure monitoring is to identify potential issues before they lead to outages or degraded performance.

Setting valid baselines for alerts allows teams to handle issues before they become problems. Things like network bottlenecks can affect the performance of everything from database response to system backups. Eliminating the issues before they impact business is possible by tailoring alerts and taking proactive measures to address any underlying issues.

Monitoring can identify looming resource shortages before they result in outages or degraded performance. Comparing historical baselines with current trends are important parts of a monitoring strategy. For example, network capacity may need to be increased due to new usage patterns affecting specific servers or network segments. The potential bottleneck would not have been apparent without analysis made possible by monitoring tools.

Infrastructure Monitoring for Enhancing Security

Infrastructure monitoring can indirectly result in identifying security risks. Comparing baseline or normal activity against current trends can uncover several clues that there may be active security threats. Here are some things to look for:

  • New patterns of increased outbound data transmission can be the result of crypto-mining malware that needs to transfer information to its home servers. This type of activity should alert the security team to take an in-depth look at the offending server.
  • Excessive failed attempts to access systems can indicate that brute-force attacks are being conducted against the given systems. Network defenses can be strengthened based on this type of information.

Any type of unexpected or unfamiliar activity uncovered by infrastructure monitoring should be investigated for any potential security ramifications. For this reason, the ability to store and analyze historical data is an important feature of a monitoring solution. 

Challenges of Infrastructure Monitoring

The evolution of enterprise computing systems has led to extremely complex environments. Their complexity makes it impossible to adequately monitor using any type of manual or siloed tools or techniques. Multiple challenges need to be addressed to effectively implement infrastructure monitoring.=

Identifying Objectives

Defining the objectives is an essential prerequisite for creating a viable monitoring program. Decisions need to be made regarding the scope required by the organization. Does the enterprise simply want to be notified of server outages or need more detailed information that can help resolve performance issues or strengthen security?

Monitoring Focus

Infrastructure monitoring tools can be broadly categorized based on their primary purpose. Observational tools are designed to provide information on the operational effectiveness of infrastructure components. Analytical tools delve more deeply into problems to uncover their root causes. Engagement tools use information gathered by observational and analytical tools and take appropriate actions like restarting a service. 

Involving an Executive Audience

Conveying the information uncovered by monitoring tools to the appropriate executive audience can be difficult but is necessary to obtain the most value from the effort. Observations and analysis can directly impact business decisions and need to be made available in a format that non-technical individuals can understand. 

Determining Data Sources

Identifying the systems to be monitored and how the process will be performed can be a demanding undertaking. A complete inventory of existing resources needs to be performed to set a baseline. If the organization uses an agent-based monitoring tool, installing the agent needs to be incorporated into procedures used when introducing new equipment or systems into the environment. 

Lack of Monitoring Skills 

A perceived lack of skills may impede the implementation of in-house monitoring. This gap can be closed by engaging a cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) solution or by using an intuitive and easy-to-use monitoring tool like Uptime Infrastructure Monitor.

Using a Comprehensive Monitoring Tool

Uptime Infrastructure Monitor is a flexible tool that can monitor physical and virtual infrastructure elements located on-premises, remotely, or in the cloud. It provides a unified platform from which to monitor and optimize the total IT environment. Here are some of its features that help address the challenges of monitoring complex computing landscapes. 

  • The tool’s auto-discovery wizard helps identify devices that need to be monitored.
  • Comprehensive and proactive reports can be generated to help teams identify trends and troubleshoot problems.
  • Customizable dashboards can be created with an intuitive interface to deliver information to any type of audience.
  • Alert and escalation policies can be set to avoid alert overload and ensure that the right people are notified when necessary.
  • SLA monitoring and capacity planning can also be performed with Uptime.

Uptime Infrastructure Monitor will help any organization gain a better understanding of the components that drive their computing environment. Using this knowledge efficiently helps the business maintain operations, avoid unnecessary outages, and guard against system intrusion. Enterprises that ignore the value of infrastructure monitoring do so at their own risk. 

Organizations can try IDERA Uptime Infrastructure Monitor for free, fully-functional for 30 days.