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The top five frustrations faced by IT admins and how to deal with them

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/pikselstock)

Paessler recently conducted a global survey highlighting the daily challenges most often faced by IT teams. Here we will discuss the top five biggest frustrations according to our research and how IT teams can ensure they are up to the task of tackling these challenges.

1. Network connectivity issues

It should come as no surprise that network connectivity issues are one of the biggest frustrations faced by IT teams. Forecasts predict there will be as many as 30 billion connected IoT devices by the end of 2020 and over 75 billion by 2025. In light of this, IT admins simply cannot afford to let the network fail. 

Minimizing the risk of failure means not only ensuring the network is properly configured to work with multiple connected devices., these devices must also be set up correctly so they can properly interact with other devices on the network and are accessible to users.

When it comes to tackling network connectivity issues, the number one tool in an IT team’s arsenal is documentation and visibility. For example, a dedicated network monitoring tool can alert IT to see when a particular device or part of the network is malfunctioning, and documentation can log whether this is a repeat issue. Armed with this information, IT can therefore repair the problem as quickly as possible, often before a user can raise a ticket. 

2. Bandwidth bottlenecks

Bandwidth problems not only cause slow access to databases, applications and servers but can often lead to timeouts. A certain amount of bandwidth must be available, especially for applications that work with large files, so that the application does not terminate when it is opened by a user. Even more important is having sufficient bandwidth when voice over IP (VoIP) is used for teleconferencing and other multimedia applications. Inadequate bandwidth in this instance can cause real-time communication disruption, where disturbances are immediately noticeable with frozen or pixelated video and poor audio quality.

To tackle bandwidth bottlenecks, IT staff must ensure the network is set up correctly with the right hardware, to ensure bandwidth is distributed evenly, to where it is needed most. The best way to ensure this is the case is to install sensors across the physical network infrastructure, such as routers and switches, to monitor data traffic and identify problem areas. Using this information, IT can then reconfigure the network to best suit specific bandwidth requirements of the business

3. Server space shortages

We’ve all been there; we go to update software and the server crashes because the hard disk capacity has shrunk without a known reason. Often this is due to there not being enough storage capacity on a server. The tell-tale signs of a server at capacity is slow processing or server crashes. In worst-case scenarios the server may become inaccessible as users cannot log on. Thankfully correct IT documentation practice and routine server health checks provide a simple remedy. This way IT teams can be informed of servers that are at risk of being used up to capacity and even monitor for storage space being used up unusually quickly. Provided these issues are tackled early, crashes due to full servers can be a thing of the past.

4. Security breaches

Sadly, we live in a world where security breaches aren’t just a risk for businesses, they are to be expected. A network is only as secure as the devices connected to it. With each connected device comes increased vulnerability. This means IT staff must constantly be on the lookout for new threats and need to think creatively in order to best protect the business and users from cybercriminals.

When it comes to devices on the network, there are three main targets for hackers to access data:

  1. Devices and hardware such as smartphones, laptops and even watches
  2. Cloud infrastructure, including virtual machines and third-party servers
  3. The network of communications such as email

Along with an up-to-date firewall and cybersecurity solution, IT staff must also ensure that users are well versed in cybersecurity best practice to ensure employees themselves don’t become the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.

5. ISP and other service provider disruptions

Nothing is more annoying than when an issue arises that is out of your control. A severe ISP outage where internet connection is no longer available is perhaps one of the most common reason for mass IT tickets and complaints from frustrated users. In such a case, not only are web pages inaccessible, but all remote access to network resources may also become impossible. Obviously, this will cause significant disruption to businesses and can cripple operations for hours or in some cases even days.

On top of all this, if the offending service provider has not given adequate warning for the outage, IT teams are often sent into a frenzy trying to work out whether the issue is external or due to a failure within the network. However, if IT teams have a clear, documented understanding of the network along with a strong network monitoring solution, identifying issues does not have to be so stressful. This information is also invaluable when flagging disruption to a service provider.

Working in IT can be stressful, exciting and rewarding all in a single day. Although IT teams routinely face frustrating problems, thankfully there are a myriad of solutions such as network monitoring to help keep your IT environment running and users happy.

Martin Hodgson, Head of UK & Ireland, Paessler AG