Network Monitoring

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There exist a number of ways for an IT specialist or network administrator to conduct what's known as network monitoring. As its name suggests, network monitoring is the process of surveying the connections between a series of computers that, taken together, make up a network. It's not the information that's in transit that's ripe for spying, though. It's the information that's stored on computer disks and hard drives.

Why would someone want to spend hours watching bits and bytes stream back and forth from computer terminal to computer terminal? Well, for one, in order to ensure that network's safety. If a "Trojan horse" or some other bug makes its way into the network, it threatens the integrity of data all throughout the system. Moreover, a virus can compromise software and hardware, leading to expensive and time-consuming repairs.

How Network Monitoring Is Done

Methods of network monitoring vary from company to company. Still, an internet service provider almost always has the means (as well as the right) to do as it sees fit with its own servers, which is where the bulk of detection software is installed. The most common form of this is called "packet-sniffing," which entails the inspection of discrete units of data as they pass from client to client, but there are other means as well.

IT specialists, who may also be small-time ISPs as well, also install desktop monitoring software that intercept data while it's in transit. This method of network monitoring is ideal for those logging every keystroke made by their employees. While this sounds tedious, it's often necessary for employers who are embroiled in lawsuits or are simply fearful of future ones and need everything recorded for their records.

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