Focusing on alerts that matter: From network events to meaningful incidents


Network issue resolution is increasingly high-stakes. Downtime can be critical even for short periods of time, and its destructive impact on company profits is only growing. It’s estimated that the costs of downtime have risen 32% over the past 7 years, with one minute of downtime costing approximately $9,000 for larger businesses across all industries, and reaching as high as $5 million for enterprises. 

Enterprise networks need to not just be always-available, but always at peak performance, with even temporary slowdowns causing immense problems for enterprise network users. Slowdowns are considered the silent productivity killer, since the fallout is almost impossible to measure, yet evident in the organization’s bottom line. 

However, networks today are more complex and extensive than ever before, so it takes time just to discover which part of the network is problematic and where the issue lies. This pressure means that network management teams can’t afford to ignore any alert, since it could be the first sign of an event that could bring down the network. 

Recommended reading: The Role of Predictive Analytics in Network Operations Management

Alerts Alone are Insufficient

Most network managers rely on alerts from various systems and sensors to draw their attention to issues within the network. Yet not every alert is genuinely urgent. Teams are easily swamped  as they struggle to investigate each alert from over-sensitive sensors, false alarms, and trivial transient blips, many of which don’t really matter. It’s not surprising that they are stressed and burning out, with heavy workload cited as the top cause of burnout for IT teams and 48% of tech workers reporting rising feelings of burnout, according to analyst firm Robert Half. 

A significant part of the problem is that alerts don’t contain sufficient specific information about the incident, so it can’t help identify or resolve the issue, or point network managers in the right direction. Because alerts could be consequential, but could also be irrelevant, teams have to follow up each one. This means a lot of exhausting, disheartening work gathering data and examining from different sources, only to find that most of that work was unnecessary. 

Network management teams desperately need ways to filter out irrelevant alerts and speed up root cause analysis, so they can resolve the issue and prevent or fix any degradation of network performance and availability in the shortest possible space of time. As the saying goes, “If everything is important, nothing is important.” 

The key to achieving this is a mindset shift from one that tries to look at all alerts individually, all the time, to one that looks for compound anomalies that can serve as a tool for achieving meaningful insights, and sets up systems to use them strategically.

Compound Anomalies Paint a Clearer Picture of Network Events

When network management teams group alerts together, it can help reveal which ones are more significant. Compound anomalies, by definition, affect more than just a single entity and have been picked up by more than one sensor. 

A cluster of low-medium alerts could indicate a more consequential issue and serve as a more accurate indication of serious attack than a single high-level alert. Relying too heavily on critical alerts could blind IT teams to slow-brewing yet serious issues. 

Simply responding only to clustered alerts can help save employees from the grunt work of sifting through logs for alerts that they know are likely to be irrelevant. This helps reduce the number of false alarms and noise that can lead to alert fatigue and lower the risks of burnout and stress. 

Meaningful Insights Take Issue Resolution to the Next Level

Alert clusters provide additional context that can assist with root cause analysis and investigations. It helps enable teams to gauge the impact this issue could have on users and the potential costs it could provoke, assisting them to prioritize it more effectively. 

Grouping alerts together also allows IT teams to derive meaningful insights about network performance and issues, which actively helps them achieve their goals more efficiently. With relevant and meaningful insights, it’s possible to significantly speed up root cause analysis, because you already have some indication of the likely cause. 

What’s more, meaningful insights into networks improve your ability to detect and understand network events. They can help reveal the true source of the issues, so you aren’t distracted by possibilities and probabilities, and save time testing out theories that turn out to be dead ends. 

NetOp Supports Improved Network alerts for Better Network Health 

NetOp uses artificial intelligence (AI) to gather and correlate related alerts into concise reports about compound anomalies that help direct teams to the true source of the issue. The AI engine can sift through data and discard that which is irrelevant or distracting far faster than any human employee, thereby relieving network management teams of the burden of checking every alert. NetOp also provides more context about alerts, turning them into meaningful insights that speed up root cause analysis and increase understanding of network events. 

With the help of NetOp, it’s possible to escape from the swamp of individual alerts and reach issue identification and resolution in far less time. By easing the pressure of thousands of minor alerts, NetOp can reduce stress and burnout among network management teams while also improving network availability and performance. 

Request a demo of NetOp today