How Network Visibility Gaps Challenge IT in Assuring Business Continuity

Out of sight… but not out of mind

Gentlemen sitting behind monitor overlooking datacenter equipment.
Lewis Sharpe

As today’s enterprises continue to digitally transform to meet the evolving needs of a dynamic business universe, IT departments are facing a myriad of challenges in keeping networks up and running smoothly. IT must deal with network and application performance across geographically dispersed facilities such as manufacturing centers, customer contact centers, sales offices, and remotely located employees.

Ensuring global communications is critical. Disruptions or degradation in voice, video, or business data services between these disparate locations can have devastating consequences for the company and its bottom line.

Complicating matters for IT, many digital transformation projects are adding significant complexity to the infrastructure with virtualized technology in private data centers and colocation sites, as well as the migration of applications to a public cloud environment. The adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS)-based applications only add to the difficulties IT faces in ensuring the best user experience.

Dealing with network and application performance issues in complex, multivendor global network environments puts IT in an unenviable position. Lacking visibility and control over third-party partners’ environments makes troubleshooting particularly difficult. For example, without sufficient visibility, IT may struggle to monitor the availability and performance of VPN employee access to data centers and colocation sites. IT will be similarly hindered in measuring the quality of user experience with unified-communications-and-collaboration (UC&C), UCaaS, and SaaS applications from any office or remote work location. Without sufficient visibility, IT will be hamstrung in monitoring traffic utilization, trends, and performance over WAN and internet access links from all offices, as well as application performance in the public cloud.

In the recent study by NETSCOUT “UCaaS and Today’s Enterprise: The True Cost of Outages and Help Desk Support,”  72 percent of IT respondents reported that it takes their organization a few hours to as much as a week to resolve UCaaS issues, while 71 percent indicated it takes the same to resolve SaaS-related issues. The fact that less than a third of trouble tickets for UCaaS (27 percent) and SaaS (29 percent) can be quickly resolved is an unacceptable situation for business continuity and productivity.

Further challenges could be an inability to assess service performance in co-lo sites and monitor packets traversing peering links to the public cloud. IT also may struggle to measure application responsiveness for virtualized services in private data centers.

All of this points to the need for pervasive performance management observability.

The Advantages of Designing Pervasive Visibility into Digital Transformation Projects

For IT, pervasive visibility is key to ensuring the security, availability, application performance, and positive user experience across all of an organization’s facilities. As enterprises engage in digital transformation, designing pervasive visibility into projects will enable IT to make evidence-based decisions about migrations to new technologies. By harnessing insights gained from deep packet inspection (DPI), IT teams can pinpoint problems and thus dramatically reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) for issues that have occurred post-migration.

The pervasive visibility made possible by deep packet analysis empowers IT to maintain the quality of user experience for employees and customers, regardless of where they connect to the network. It also enables IT to assure business continuity, which is vital to any enterprise in today’s 24/7/365 world.

In addition, once armed with this level of visibility, IT is better able to work with vendors and third-party solutions, taking a more cooperative approach to identifying problems and resolving them more quickly.

Bolstering IT Resources with VaaS

The enormity of the job of assuring the performance and security of the network and applications can tax IT organizations to the limit. Many IT teams are unable to provide round-the-clock coverage, particularly after hours, on weekends, and during holidays. This leaves gaps where limited, “on-call” support is available to respond to slowdowns and outages.

Additionally, today’s shortage of skilled IT staff has made implementing new technologies a challenge. Deploying new network and application performance management solutions is no exception. At the very moment, an IT organization needs in-depth visibility for business continuity and user experience, the rollout of the solution may languish among all the projects facing a shorthanded IT team.

One way to deal with IT staff shortages is through visibility as a service (VaaS), which offers a means to bolster internal resources. IT teams and VaaS experts can leverage pervasive visibility to proactively monitor the entire network around the clock. When that visibility is combined with resources from third-party vendors, it becomes possible to quickly deal with virtually any cross-domain problem. This comprehensive approach serves to lower MTTR for complex issues, which in turn reduces the potential for disruptions that can impact revenue, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction. It gives IT organizations a quick time to value for network and performance management.

Network and application observability is key to avoiding issues that most likely would mushroom into far greater employee- and customer-impacting problems. Enterprises that look to design visibility into their infrastructure during digital transformation can gain the upper hand when it comes to assuring network and application performance and security.

NETSCOUT has been delivering nGenius Enterprise Performance Management for years to help companies worldwide gain valuable, pervasive visibility throughout their enterprise networks. Many have leveraged NETSCOUT’s unique VaaS expertise to quickly deploy and configure their solution with 24/7/365 expertise.

See how one company took advantage of both of these solutions to troubleshoot and pinpoint the root cause of issues impacting remote offices, unified communications, and application slowdowns.