Why network monitoring is the key to future-proofing today’s businesses

For an always-on workforce, Progress has helped simplify its clients’ ability to optimize network security and prevent breaches.

In 2020, millions of people abruptly transitioned to working from home to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Seemingly overnight, remote setups were implemented across industries to keep employees safe. But this rapid transformation put the company networks those remote employees were accessing at high risk. With increased vulnerability, new security threats have grown both more common and more cunning, making it increasingly important for businesses to adopt new ways to optimize network monitoring, in order to keep their infrastructures safe.

“The importance of strong network security has never been greater,” says Ed Keisling, vice president of product development at Progress Software Corporation, a Massachusetts-based company that has provided products to develop, deploy, and manage business applications for 40 years. “It’s really the circulatory system of your business.”

For a long time, on-premises security software was the standard, and troubleshooting a network was simply a matter of monitoring the devices inside a company’s firewall. But during the last few years, things have changed. Now, with the proliferation of mobile devices, the pandemic-driven rise of remote workers, and a growing impatience among consumers against network downtime, the technology behind monitoring networks needs to be more robust than ever.

“Cloud-based infrastructures and distributed workforces have disrupted the old paradigm,” says Keisling. “Having the ability to react swiftly to changing network requirements is not only key, it’s table stakes.”

Progress’s WhatsUp Gold software addresses this need by providing visibility into the status and performance of applications, network devices, and servers in the cloud or on premises. It identifies every device, old or new, that is connected to a network to ensure that each is configured properly, sending an alert when it detects anomalous behavior. These kinds of innovative software tools can track attempted breaches and offer an overview of a network’s health on what Keisling calls “an interactive map showing the interconnected network in a simple, single pane of glass.” That map shows when all is working as it should be—and more important, when and why a device may be compromised.

“Networks should not only be monitored to proactively resolve network issues but also to alert IT teams to changes that could indicate signs of vulnerability,” says Keisling. “A key part of being able to protect the network is understanding its status and its health at any given moment.”

With this in mind, Progress worked with the Danville Area School District of Pennsylvania to create a cost-effective yet reliable infrastructure network. It was able to meet the school’s security needs while maintaining a thriving learning environment for more than 2,500 students who returned to a hybrid-learning model. Even with the increased traffic, WhatsUp Gold was able to protect them from online threats.

“The reality is that if you have users working remotely, or if you have devices connected to your network, you have a risk from bad actors—whether you realize it or not,” Keisling says. “Many businesses aren’t aware of how broad-reaching these attacks can be.”

The challenge for network-monitoring software moving forward will be its ability to create simple solutions for increasingly complex tasks. While Progress is continually working to make its network monitoring software as simple and intuitive as possible, Keisling says there also needs to be a reliable human element within the future of network monitoring.

“Businesses really need to make sure that all of the systems, processes, and people are aligned on these common goals,” says Keisling. “Technology is only part of the solution; it also needs to be combined with companies ensuring that employees have the right mindset, the right processes, and the right training to tackle this new normal.”