Guest Blog By Jenni Lokke of Spirent Axon
If I conducted a poll of IT executives and asked them to name some of their core network concerns, many would likely say “ensuring network uptime” and “managing complexity.”
Given these concerns, it is always surprising to see many companies not place enough emphasis on network testing, viewing it as an afterthought instead of a key component of their strategy. Testing enables network administrators to proactively find and address issues, so companies can protect their customers, brand image, and profits.
- Don’t retroactively fix issues. You’ll change your network infrastructure over time in order to upgrade to new systems or to correct failures. Any change can have a ripple effect on your network which can cause unexpected problems. Testing is the only way to proactively handle problems before they occur, so you can avoid costly downtimes and keep the network running at peak efficiency.
- Don’t lose revenues because of network downtime. Internal staff can’t use the needed applications to do their jobs, and/or customers can’t access your site to place orders. I see situations time and again where quality testing that mimics real-time conditions could have prevented an outage, and at the very least can help greatly speed the time of issue resolution.
- Find the right network issue instead of focusing on assumed problems. When faced with network latency, I see many IT pros pointing to lack of bandwidth as the issue. That’s not always the case. They can for example use packet testing can look at various services such as VoIP to troubleshoot the broader issues and hopefully avoid spending a considerable amount of money on boosting bandwidth.
- Promote a cycle of efficiency gains. Knowing the source of problems is half the battle when it comes to network diagnostics. Testing enables network engineers to manage issues as they arise, so staff members can do their jobs more efficiently, and customers can place orders without delays.
- Maintain a positive public perception about your network’s reliability. An underlying reason for network testing is how a reliable network corresponds to public perception. Again, I see proactivity as a way to find problems and address them before they become public, which can seriously damage a brand, even if the network problem is short lived. It’s hard for companies to recover from repeated outages, so I advise methodical and frequent testing to help avoid network downtime at all costs.
Despite the compelling reasons for testing, many organizations are not testing their networks to ensure their services are available, secure, and can perform at the needed levels. High traffic events, such as attempted breaches, require networks that do not have flaws and that have been tested with traffic that mimics real events so IT can sleep at night knowing they and their networks are prepared.
Network testing does not have to be complicated or even expensive. With tools such as Spirent Axon, network engineers and IT managers can escape the downward spiral of reactive fire-fighting and spend their time more productively. The simplicity and affordability of Axon makes it easy for network engineers to incorporate proactive testing into everything they do. With Axon, network engineers can deploy applications and services more quickly and with confidence.