Cisco Network Monitoring Best Practices Guide


Through Cisco network monitoring, administrators can check network performance in real-time. Most network monitoring systems feature a mix of hardware and software tools, allowing administrators to monitor vital factors such as bandwidth utilisation, uptime, and traffic.

To get the most out of your network monitoring system, it’s crucial to understand and implement known and proven best practices. This article will discuss some of these practices, helping you achieve the best possible network performance.

  1. Know which metrics to monitor

When you know which key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to monitor off the bat, you won’t waste time on unimportant numbers. Gathering the right combination of data will allow you to make informed predictions and thwart performance issues at lightning speed.

The metrics you can collect fall into four broad categories:

  • Network performance metrics, i.e. connectivity and packet loss
  • Special events
  • Application metrics, i.e. response time and request rate
  • Host metrics, i.e. memory and CPU usage

Begin by defining and agreeing upon KPIs that align with your network strategy. You should report on these agreed KPIs to stakeholders and management—and remember to optimise and review these indicators as you move forward.  

  1. Implement Cisco NetFlow

Cisco NetFlow is a specialised feature allowing access to detailed traffic flow statistics. If you wish to gather information on traffic passing through specific interfaces, you can configure NetFlow accordingly.

NetFlow is one of Cisco’s most valuable tools. It’s crucial for monitoring data such as:

  • Output and input interface numbers
  • Number of flow packets and bytes
  • Destination and source IP addresses
  1. Prepare for the future

While it’s important to focus on present performance, preparing for the future is equally vital. As the past proves, your IT environment is bound to change rapidly—and you’ll need to update your tools and practices to suit.

At the same time, new services and applications are entering the market at an ever-increasing rate. The rapidly growing popularity of cloud services, for example, has forced networking monitoring tools to stay ahead of the game.

So, how can you make sure you’re prepared?

Modern network monitoring services provide valuable reports about your network component’s past performance. Analysing these reports can help you gain useful insights and decide whether you’ll need to upgrade or replace your IT infrastructure in the future.

  1. Maintain impenetrable security

Security management aims to control access to protected network resources, preventing unintentional or intentional sabotage. 

One way to do this is to implement a security management subsystem. This subsystem will monitor anyone who logs into a given network resource and refuse access if they enter an incorrect code.

The best security practices begin with solid policies and procedures. Make sure to create a minimum configuration standard—at a platform-specific level—and apply it to all switches and routers on your network.


Implementing these best practices can help you get the most out of your network monitoring software. By monitoring the right metrics, implementing useful tools such as NetFlow, boosting security levels, and preparing for change, staying you can maintain optimal network performance—both now and into the far future.