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How the right tools could be an IT pro’s ticket to the US Open

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners)

How is an IT pro’s job like a professional tennis player? Well, both are fast-paced, unpredictable, and require tenacity. As with a tennis player, a few seconds can be the difference between the success of winning a Grand Slam and failure— in an IT Pros case, a fault being left undetected and the network going down. IT pros need quick reactions like a tennis player at the US Open finals—taking the eye off the ball for one second could mean missing the winning shot.

Tennis greats like Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, understand the need for quick reactions, to identify her weaknesses on the court and develop and resolve them to ensure she’s at her best for the next match she plays. IT network management requires a similar awareness of weakness and the need for quick reaction.

IT pros need to know what’s happening across their network—every minute, every hour, every day. This responsibility may leave them regularly asking: is our network secure? Is there a chance of a fault? How can I optimise the network? Does everything look “normal?” Should I call a challenge against that point? And why didn’t the chair umpire see that? With all these thoughts on their minds, they must ensure they can quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance problems and outages to make a comeback against their opponent.

How can IT pros safeguard their spot at the top and ensure their opponent doesn’t serve the winning shot?

Match Point

In tennis, one wrong move can mean you lose the set and you’re out of the Grand Slam. Likewise, for IT pros, one missed red flag can mean a fault has slipped through the cracks. A single fault left unnoticed could cause downtime and increase expenses to fix the issue caused by a single human error. According to analyst house IDC, the average cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour. This could be an additional expense some organisations can’t afford to make – particularly small businesses.

This can put immense pressure on an IT pro’s shoulders, especially within a small- to medium-sized business, where they likely wear multiple hats within a department faced with budget cuts and small teams of one-to-two people. From security to integrating new systems, operational to service desk management, there’s likely not enough hours in the day to complete their workload, and human errors are inevitable.

The key is to identify business-critical areas of the IT infrastructure and ensure they have the right tools at their disposal. IT pros need to push their businesses towards placing their investments into the additional tools to help them effectively monitor their infrastructure. Without this insight, it’s a question of when, not if, an IT failure will happen. And when it does, without adequate tools, IT pros will be looking for a needle in a haystack—an impossible task.

Getting on the front foot

The correct tools can reduce a businesses’ costs over time by allowing IT pros to identify and remediate issues sooner, saving the company from expensive downtime and reducing expenses. In a similar way, the correct training and equipment can reduce a tennis player’s chances of becoming injured. A comprehensive monitoring toolset offering insightful data can help IT pros take a proactive stance against potential failures.

Instead of waiting for downtime to happen and remediating after the fact, effective monitoring allows IT pros to get on the front foot and keep issues from arising, like a tennis player predicting what the competition will do next. Being one step ahead of the issue, or competitor, can be the difference between conceding a point and hitting the ball back to the other side of the court, and resolving the problem to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

That said, buying an expensive tennis racket doesn’t mean you’re ready for the US Open final, and the same goes for monitoring. The right tool means little in the hands of someone who can’t use it correctly.

Understanding when and how to create meaningful, actionable, and valuable alerts to you and your business can lift your network, and backswing monitoring from perfunctory to effective. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach here.

Same role, new tools

By prioritising real-time monitoring of network performance, security connectivity, and data privacy and security, IT pros can keep their organisation’s networks connected, secure, and delivering benefits and new opportunities for their business.

If IT departments have the correct tools in place to fit in with a business’ individual needs, IT pros can ensure the success of IT infrastructure solutions through the tournament and ultimately reach their own Grand Slam final. With this, IT pros could spend their time exploring other areas of the business, like training in a new solution or area. So, the real question is: tennis, anyone?

Sascha Giese, Head Geek, SolarWinds (opens in new tab)

Sascha Giese is a Head Geek™ at SolarWinds, based in the company’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Cork, Ireland.