March Madness is here. Will your Enterprise Network remain sane?

The annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship season has started and we will soon see the frenzy reaching its peak with the regional semifinals scheduled for 22nd, Thursday and 23rd, Friday of this month.

March Madness causes a decrease in enterprise productivity with employees watching streaming videos (including High Definition), reading or checking game stats online. Add to this, employees updating their opinion or commenting on someone else’s through social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, and your network is bound to see a lot more madness.

According to a Fox Sports survey, “More than 50 million Americans participate in March Madness office pools, leading to estimated annual losses of $2 billion when considering employee productivity in the workplace as games are under way.”

What has to be done?

Network monitoring and traffic policing. That is the simple answer. When your network is slow or down and you need to know who or what is causing it, network monitoring is the only solution. Let us look into the details.

Something very important to keep track of is the WAN bandwidth. With proactive monitoring, you can know how much of your WAN bandwidth is taken by HTTP traffic and how much of that HTTP traffic has, as its destination, popular sport sites. Proactive monitoring of traffic usage will let see upcoming bottlenecks.

A solution many readers may think of is blocking any such traffic. But for a network administrator, blocking all HTTP traffic or blocking all sports sites is not possible. The reason is that many enterprise business applications use HTTP and as for blocking websites, employees will find another when one is down. What needs to be done is prioritize using QoS, business applications like VoIP, video conferencing or video surveillance solutions, which can easily be effected by network congestions. To be on a safer side, you can even prioritize or assign some fixed bandwidth to all business applications.

Once you have the priority set for your business applications, monitor QoS and ensure that the right applications and conversations got the right priority. Validating QoS policy performance prevents scenarios like incorrectly prioritized non-business application causing issues to business applications.

Also needed is track on social media traffic usage. When your favorite sport is on, the pundit in you feels the urge to comment. With maximum visibility provided by social media, where else will you comment? Track how much of bandwidth is used by social media sites and block the major ones if you see the usage going beyond an acceptable threshold.

How to do this?

Cisco NetFlow is a technology that answers the WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE of network traffic and ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is a tool that supports NetFlow monitoring and QoS reporting. If you have a routing or switching device that supports export of NetFlow or similar flow formats, you are ready to start!

Using NetFlow and ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer, you can track bandwidth usage, see an upcoming bottleneck, find who is using the bandwidth or causing the bottleneck, the application behind it, the priority your business applications has, alert you on usage and a lot more.

Traffic Usage Report – Foresee a Network Bottleneck in the making.

Drill down and see who caused it and what application was used. You even know what priority it had !

Tackle the March Madness using ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer. You don’t even have to wait to get a license. ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer has a fully featured 30 day trial edition which you can download and install without even requesting an evaluation license from us. The product can be set up within minutes and reports are out of the box. Visit the below link to download the Windows or Linux installation binaries:
http://www.manageengine.com/products/netflow/download.html

To know more on using NetFlow Analyzer for instant bandwidth reports or network forensics, email the product TAC team at netflowanalyzer-support ‘at’ manageengine.com

Regards,
Don Thomas Jacob

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About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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