IT Operations

What Is Performance Monitoring?

Performance monitoring solutions enable organizations to monitor, manage, secure and optimize the health of computers and devices across an entire company. They help improve operational efficiency while ensuring consistency and improving the user experience.

Enterprise organizations typically estimate they have anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 endpoints in their environments. As massive a number as that may be, the truly astounding takeaway from this is that the range is so incredibly wide. As a former Tanium vice president once put it to Forbes, “that’s a bit like saying you know where three of your four kids are.”

Finding and mapping all the devices across an organization has become an almost herculean task. Before COVID-19, the average employee used at least two devices at work, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and network printers. Now, analysts say, the number of devices has increased significantly, as many employees work remotely and increasingly use personal devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices like fitness tracking bands, voice assistants, smart earbuds and virtual reality (VR) headsets, along with the usual employer-issued work devices.

A recent Trend Micro survey found that 39% of workers access corporate data from personal devices. And about a quarter (27%) of C-suite executives and vice presidents polled by Tanium in 2020 reported that all these new personal computing devices create a major visibility gap and remain one of their top security challenges.

How the best performance monitoring solutions work

Traditional performance monitoring approaches usually cannot identify every single endpoint on a network. Most were built back when the lion’s share of endpoints resided under a company’s roof and could be maintained locally by IT staff.

[Read also: Ten ways to improve performance monitoring]

Legacy performance monitoring tools weren’t made to identify and troubleshoot large-scale performance issues remotely, or quickly enough to head off issues in highly distributed workplaces. What’s more, since traditional tools typically are designed as point solutions addressing a specific issue, companies can end up paying more than they should by the time they have assembled all the necessary capabilities.

These shortcomings are some of the reasons why organizations should consider the emerging breed of performance monitoring solutions. Sometimes offered through endpoint management (EM) platforms, these advanced tools provide a more comprehensive approach to uncovering and resolving issues within dynamic, distributed endpoint environments.

The best performance monitoring solutions uncover hidden endpoints and applications that traditional offerings typically miss. In addition, they provide a real-time picture of each device’s performance metrics and use historical data to help uncover the root causes of issues, often before they become bigger problems.

The best solutions uncover applications that traditional offerings miss

The benefits of modern performance monitoring tools

When evaluating offerings, businesses should look for those that include a few key benefits, such as the following:

  • Continuous performance monitoring. Best-of-breed solutions are able to scan entire distributed environments to gather a range of data, such as how much bandwidth or memory an application is using and how often computers are crashing. They identify patterns that need to be addressed to improve performance and security.
  • Root-cause analysis. Top software monitoring tools can also analyze the origin of performance issues in real time. They uncover unreported issues, probe to see what might be creating them and trigger better-informed hardware refreshes.
  • Centralized action. In contrast to traditional tools that require the use of multiple products, modern performance monitoring tools enable a unified view on a single console or “pane of glass.” IT professionals can uncover, investigate and troubleshoot performance issues without wasting time and effort checking multiple sources.
  • A strategic approach. By providing a more holistic view of endpoints in distributed environments, modern monitoring tools help IT professionals prioritize issues that may affect many users, predict the effect of upcoming IT changes and drive continuous operational improvement.

Without the ability to react to widely distributed performance problems in real time, organizations will fail to track, manage and secure the rising number of endpoints in distributed environments. Today’s IT professionals require comprehensive solutions to see what’s truly happening and take more proactive, strategic approaches that ensure a stable, high-quality experience.

David Rand
David Rand is a veteran business and technology reporter whose work has appeared in major publications around the world. He specializes in spotting and digging into what’s coming next – and helping executives in organizations of all sizes know what to do about it.