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Network Monitoring Tools: A Comprehensive Guide

network monitoring tools

Is your network performance not up to par and causing you headaches? Network monitoring tools could be your saving grace. In our latest 2023 guide, we delve deep into their power of providing real-time data and alerts for potential issues, helping maintain the health and security of your networks.

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Content Highlights

  • Network monitoring is a crucial strategy for maintaining optimal network performance and security, allowing organizations to proactively detect and address issues before they escalate.
  • Investing in reliable network monitoring tools helps businesses stay ahead of outages, manage the growing complexity of their networks, identify security threats, and efficiently manage technical issues.
  • Network monitoring tools provide real-time visibility into network health and metrics, enabling proactive measures to minimize downtime risk, keep data safe from cyber threats, and optimize client network usage.

What is Network Monitoring?

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is the process of observing and analyzing network activities to detect any issues and ensure optimal performance.

Definition and Purpose of Network Monitoring

Network monitoring, a pivotal subset of network management, is an indispensable strategy employed to maintain the optimum functioning of a computer network. The primary purpose is to diagnose slow or failing components within the system before they escalate into substantial issues.

This process involves a series of steps, including mapping and continual tracking of a computer system’s performance. Collecting and reporting data from various elements like routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and endpoints on a computer network can identify any deficiencies in real-time.

Thus ensuring optimal availability and operational effectiveness – all under the purview of skilled network administrators who utilize this vital information to assess if a network is running efficiently.

Importance of Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is crucial to modern business operations, adding significant value to an organization’s overall strategy. It acts as the early warning system for your IT infrastructure, catching issues before they escalate into major problems affecting productivity and customer satisfaction.

In today’s digital landscape, with cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and network complexities rising, maintaining optimal network performance has become non-negotiable.

Network monitoring tools provide real-time information about the health of various network components such as routers, switches, firewalls, and endpoints. This empowers network administrators to quickly identify deficiencies or potential security risks—enhancing operational efficiency while minimizing downtime risk.

The ultimate goal is to ensure smooth user experiences while optimizing resources effectively – an objective realized efficiently through consistent network monitoring systems.

Benefits of Network Monitoring

Network monitoring provides several benefits, including staying ahead of outages, managing network complexity more easily, identifying security threats, efficiently managing technical issues, keeping data safe, and managing client network usage.

Stay Ahead of Outages

Staying ahead of outages is a significant benefit of network monitoring. Through real-time insights into your network’s performance, these tools can proactively identify potential issues that may lead to system shutdowns or disruptions.

This proactive approach allows for swift action before minor glitches escalate into major problems that could result in downtime. Network monitoring thereby minimizes business interruptions and enhances productivity by ensuring the continuous operation of vital systems.

With a tool like SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, you get immediate alerts when there are trouble spots, allowing IT teams to act quickly and prevent complete outages. Hence, investment in network monitoring offers an excellent return as it reduces costly downtime.

Easily Manage Growing Network Complexity

As technology advances and more devices are connected to networks, managing network complexity becomes increasingly challenging. Thankfully, network monitoring tools provide a solution by allowing IT administrators to handle the growing intricacies of their networks easily.

These tools provide real-time insights into the performance and health of network nodes, making it easier to identify bottlenecks, anomalies, or potential issues before they cause major disruptions.

By proactively monitoring and managing network complexity through these tools, businesses can ensure smoother operations, improved network performance, and increased security. Don’t let your network become overwhelmed – leverage the power of network monitoring tools to stay in control.

Read More: Why Monitoring Your Application Is Important?

Identify Security Threats

Network monitoring is crucial in identifying security threats that can harm your network and compromise sensitive data. With the continuous tracking and traffic monitoring provided by network monitoring tools, you can detect early indications of cyber attacks before they cause extensive damage.

These tools enable you to monitor network activities, identify anomalies or suspicious behavior, and take immediate action to mitigate potential risks.

By leveraging the power of network monitoring, you can proactively protect your organization from various security threats, such as malware infections, unauthorized access attempts, and data breaches.

It allows you to monitor network traffic patterns, analyze log files for unusual activity, and set up alerts or notifications for any detected threats. This proactive approach gives you the advantage of swift response times, helping you safeguard your network infrastructure effectively.

In today’s digital landscape, where cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is essential to have robust security measures in place. Network monitoring provides real-time visibility into potential security vulnerabilities so that prompt action can be taken to minimize potential damages or disruptions.

Manage Technical Issues Efficiently

Managing technical issues efficiently is a crucial aspect of network monitoring. With the right network monitoring tools, businesses can quickly identify and address any technical issues that may arise within their networks.

By proactively detecting and resolving these issues, downtime can be minimized, ensuring smooth operations and uninterrupted connectivity. Network monitoring tools provide real-time alerts for anomalies or performance degradation, allowing IT teams to take immediate action to rectify the problem before it impacts users or the overall network’s performance.

These tools also offer comprehensive reports and insights into historical data, helping businesses analyze trends and patterns to optimize their networks for better efficiency in the long run.

Keep Data Safe

Network Monitoring

One of the most critical aspects of network monitoring tools is their ability to keep data safe. By continuously monitoring your network, these tools can detect and manage potential security threats before they result in costly breaches.

With the increasing prevalence of cyberattacks, businesses need to have robust security measures in place. Network monitoring systems provide real-time visibility into network activity, allowing IT teams to identify suspicious behavior or unauthorized access attempts promptly.

By analyzing data from various sources, these tools can detect potential vulnerabilities and attacks before they happen, helping to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

Manage Client Network Usage Effectively

One of the key benefits of network monitoring tools is the ability to manage client network usage effectively. With these tools, organizations can track and analyze network traffic patterns, allowing them to identify any unusual or excessive usage by clients.

This helps optimize network performance by allocating resources efficiently and preventing bandwidth congestion. By proactively managing client network usage, organizations can ensure a smooth user experience and prevent disruptions in business operations.

Phases Involved in Network Monitoring

The phases involved in network monitoring include identifying network components, actively monitoring these components, creating alerts for network health and metrics, managing issues with a plan, and analyzing reports.

Identifying Network Components

To effectively monitor your network, it is crucial to identify all the components that make up your network infrastructure. This includes routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and endpoints.

Understanding and documenting each component within your network gives you a clear picture of its overall structure and complexity. Additionally, identifying these components enables you to establish baselines for performance metrics and set appropriate monitoring parameters.

With this knowledge, you can ensure optimal network functioning while proactively addressing potential bottlenecks or vulnerabilities. Network monitoring tools provide invaluable assistance in this phase by providing real-time visibility into the health and status of each component within your network architecture.

Active Monitoring of Components

Active monitoring of network components is a vital aspect of effective network monitoring. By continuously observing and evaluating the performance of routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and endpoints, active monitoring enables quick identification and resolution of any issues that may arise.

This proactive approach helps prevent potential downtime or disruptions by detecting anomalies in real-time and allowing immediate action. It ensures that network administrators have up-to-date information on the health and functionality of their network components, enabling them to take timely measures to maintain optimal performance levels.

Active monitoring plays a critical role in ensuring the reliability and efficiency of computer networks while minimizing any potential negative impact on business operations.

Creating Alerts for Network Health and Metrics

Creating alerts for network health and metrics is vital to network monitoring. Organizations can proactively identify potential network issues or anomalies by setting up these alerts, ensuring speedy resolution and minimizing downtime.

Alerts can be configured to trigger based on specific thresholds or conditions, such as high CPU utilization, low disk space, or abnormal network traffic patterns. This allows IT teams to stay informed about the network’s overall health and take immediate action when necessary.

With the help of network monitoring tools, these alerts can be easily created and customized according to the organization’s specific requirements. By implementing effective alerting mechanisms, organizations can ensure they are always aware of potential problems before they escalate into major disruptions.

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Managing Issues with a Plan

Managing issues with a plan is a crucial aspect of network monitoring that helps organizations quickly resolve technical problems. Regarding network management, having a well-defined strategy ensures efficiency and minimizes downtime.

With a proactive approach, administrators can identify potential issues before affecting overall network performance.

Organizations can effectively prioritize and address critical concerns by implementing a structured plan for managing issues. This includes setting up alerts and notifications for abnormal network behavior or performance metrics, allowing administrators to act when something goes wrong immediately.

Additionally, analyzing reports generated by the network monitoring tools provides valuable insights into trends and patterns, helping administrators make data-driven decisions to optimize the network’s functionality.

Remembering that efficient issue management is integral to successful network monitoring allows organizations to uphold their commitment to providing reliable connectivity and uninterrupted user services.

Analyzing Reports

One of the key phases in network monitoring is analyzing reports generated by network monitoring software. These reports offer valuable insight into how the network is functioning and help us understand its performance.

Network administrators can identify any issues, trends, or patterns affecting the network’s stability and reliability by examining these reports. This analysis allows for proactive troubleshooting and optimization of network performance.

Additionally, these reports provide historical information on equipment performance over time, which can justify necessary upgrades or changes to ensure optimal functionality. In short, analyzing network monitoring reports is crucial for maintaining a well-performing computer network and avoiding potential outages or security threats.

Types of Network Monitoring

There are different types of network monitoring, including availability monitoring, configuration monitoring, performance monitoring, and cloud infrastructure monitoring.

Availability Monitoring

Availability monitoring is a crucial aspect of network monitoring that helps organizations maintain uninterrupted network performance. By continuously checking the availability of key network components such as hardware, IT infrastructure, and software, availability monitoring ensures that any issues or outages are detected promptly.

It provides real-time statistics on the performance of these components, allowing organizations to identify potential bottlenecks or failures before they impact their operations. With the help of network monitoring tools, organizations can proactively manage their networks and ensure that they are always up and running smoothly.

Configuration Monitoring

Configuration monitoring is an essential phase in network monitoring that involves managing traditional network components with local configurations. It allows you to keep track of the settings and configurations of your network devices, ensuring they are optimized for optimal performance.

Monitoring configurations allows you to easily detect changes or deviations from your standard configuration templates.

With configuration monitoring, you can ensure consistency across your network infrastructure and minimize the risk of misconfigurations that could lead to downtime or security vulnerabilities.

It enables you to take proactive steps by identifying and rectifying configuration drifts before they cause major issues. Whether it’s checking firmware versions, verifying access control lists (ACLs), or ensuring proper VLAN assignments, configuration monitoring helps maintain a stable and secure network environment.

Performance Monitoring

Performance monitoring

Performance monitoring is a crucial aspect of network monitoring that focuses on collecting data about the performance of various devices in your network. This includes information like CPU and memory utilization, temperature, and power supply voltages.

By closely monitoring these metrics, network administrators can identify any bottlenecks or issues affecting overall network performance. With real-time performance statistics provided by network monitoring tools, you can proactively address any issues before they lead to outages or impact user experience.

Whether you’re managing a small office network or a large enterprise infrastructure, monitoring device performance is essential for ensuring your network runs smoothly and efficiently.

Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring

Cloud infrastructure monitoring is crucial to network monitoring in today’s digital landscape. It involves actively observing and analyzing network traffic and performance within a cloud infrastructure.

This includes tracking application performance, network availability, resource allocation, and other key metrics related to cloud computing services. With the help of specialized cloud monitoring tools, businesses can efficiently manage, monitor, and assess the health of their cloud architecture and services.

These tools provide real-time data on response times, latency, error rates, and more to ensure optimal performance and prevent outages in the cloud environment. Whether it’s public or private clouds or hybrid architectures, effective cloud infrastructure monitoring plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of organizations’ digital systems.

Key Features Your Network Monitoring Software Should Have

Your network monitoring software is crucial in keeping your network secure and efficient. To ensure you have the right tool for the job, here are key features to look for:

  • Comprehensive Network Performance Monitoring: Your software should provide detailed insights into your network’s performance, including bandwidth usage, latency, and packet loss.
  • SNMP Support: Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is essential for monitoring the status of devices on your network. Make sure your software supports SNMP to monitor and manage these devices effectively.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Instant notifications are critical for staying on top of any issues or abnormalities in your network. Look for software that can send alerts via email, SMS, or other means when a problem is detected.
  • Auto-Discovery: As your network grows and evolves, it’s important that your monitoring software can automatically detect new nodes and devices being added. This feature saves time and ensures comprehensive coverage.
  • Scalability: Your chosen software should handle your network’s increasing complexity and scale without compromising performance. It should easily adapt to growing data volumes and user demands.
  • Customizable Dashboards: The ability to customize dashboards allows you to focus on the specific metrics that matter most to you. Look for software that lets you create personalized views tailored to your needs.

Best Network Monitoring Tools in 2023

Our list of the best network monitoring tools for 2023 includes SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Auvik, Datadog Network Monitoring, Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, and ManageEngine OpManager.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is regarded as one of the best network monitoring tools in 2023. Its comprehensive features and a user-friendly interface allow users to effectively monitor the status of their devices using SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol).

SolarWinds NPM not only tracks the overall performance of a computer network but also detects any problems by comparing live performance data. This powerful software offers functionalities such as network performance monitoring, device status monitoring, and a graphical interface for easy visualization.

Although it is a paid tool, free options are available for those on a budget. In 2023, SolarWinds NPM received positive reviews and ratings, making it an excellent choice for organizations needing efficient network monitoring solutions.


Auvik is a highly regarded network management software that offers IT professionals instant insight into the networks they manage. It automates complex and time-consuming tasks, making it easier to monitor and manage networks effectively.

With Auvik, you can track and analyze network performance effortlessly. Its reliability and consistent results have made it a popular choice in the industry. This comprehensive solution for network performance monitoring allows users to discover and map network devices easily, simplifying troubleshooting processes.

Whether utilizing the cloud-based software or accessing it remotely, Auvik provides the tools needed to ensure optimal network functionality. Use this top-rated network monitoring tool for 2023, available in both free and paid options for your convenience.

Datadog Network Monitoring

Datadog is an excellent network monitoring tool that offers a comprehensive solution for managing your network. It allows you to monitor the performance of your network, analyze network traffic, and manage your IT infrastructure all in one place.

Whether you’re monitoring server performance, application performance, or cloud performance, Datadog has got you covered. With real-time monitoring and alerting features, it enables you to detect and address any network issues that may arise quickly.

What sets Datadog apart is its user-friendly interface and intuitive dashboard, making it easy for users to navigate and access their network data. The tool also provides detailed reports and analytics to gain insights into your network’s performance and make informed decisions to optimize it further.

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is one of the top network monitoring tools available in 2023. Utilizing SNMP, packet sniffing, and WMI, it offers a comprehensive solution for tracking and managing networks.

With its easy-to-use interface, users can monitor network traffic, applications, data packets, and bandwidth effectively. Real users have positively reviewed the tool’s functionality, overall quality, and customer support.

Starting at $1,750 for a perpetual license, Paessler PRTG Network Monitor provides reliable infrastructure monitoring that keeps your network running smoothly. Experience its features with a free trial before making a purchase decision.

For Readers:

If you’re looking for an effective network monitoring tool to keep your system optimized and secure in 2023, look no further than Paessler PRTG Network Monitor. This software has received high praise from real users for its ease-of-use and comprehensive solutions for tracking networks.

Utilizing technologies like SNMP and packet sniffing, it allows you to efficiently manage network components while identifying security threats and technical issues promptly. Additionally.

ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a highly regarded network monitoring tool that provides an all-in-one solution for users in need of simple and effective infrastructure monitoring. This powerful tool offers a range of features, including configuration and traffic intelligence, performance monitoring, and topology mapping.

With OpManager, you can easily track server downtime statistics and receive immediate notifications of possible incidents. It allows you to quickly identify, understand, and resolve network issues, ensuring smooth operations for your business.

Whether you require onsite or remote network monitoring capabilities, OpManager has got you covered. Plus, with its free trial option and other tools like SolarWinds Network Performance Monitoring, finding the perfect fit for your needs has never been easier.

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How to Choose a Network Monitoring Tool

When selecting a network monitoring tool, consider factors such as scalability, ease of use, integration with existing systems, customizable alerts and notifications, and the level of technical support the vendor provides.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a network monitoring tool, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure you select the right solution for your needs. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Scalability: Choose a network monitoring tool that can scale with your growing network infrastructure. It should be able to handle increasing data volumes and accommodate future expansion.
  2. Ease of Use: Look for a tool with an intuitive user interface and minimal training to operate. This will save time and resources in the long run.
  3. Customizability: Consider whether the tool allows you to customize alerts, reports, and dashboards according to your specific requirements. This flexibility ensures you can monitor and analyze the metrics that matter most to your organization.
  4. Integration Capabilities: Check if the tool integrates with other systems within your IT environment, such as cloud platforms, databases, or help desk software. Seamless integration enables more efficient monitoring and troubleshooting processes.
  5. Real-Time Monitoring: Choose a tool that provides real-time monitoring capabilities so you can promptly identify and address any issues before they escalate.
  6. Reporting and Analytics: Look for a network monitoring tool with robust reporting and analytics features. This allows you to gain insights into network performance trends, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions regarding network optimization.
  7. Alerts and Notifications: Ensure the tool provides customizable alerts and notifications when specific thresholds or events occur. This will enable you to take immediate action when critical issues arise.
  8. Security Features: Consider the security features offered by the network monitoring tool, such as encryption protocols, user access controls, and threat detection capabilities. Protecting sensitive data should be a top priority.
  9. Vendor Support: Research the vendor’s reputation for customer support and responsiveness. Ensure they provide timely assistance in case of technical issues or questions about using the tool effectively.

Comparison of Different Tools

For an informed decision on the best network monitoring tools that will suit your needs, it’s crucial to compare different tool options. Here’s a clear comparison of some top network monitoring tools for 2023.


Key Features


SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

Comprehensive network performance monitoring tool that can monitor the status of devices using SNMP. It manages and analyzes network traffic effectively.

Pricing information is available on request from the SolarWinds website. This tool also offers a free trial.


A cloud-based network management solution that offers robust functionalities like automated network discovery, network insights, and proactive network alerts.

Pricing is based on the number of managed devices and ranges from $20 – $150 per device per month.

Datadog Network Monitoring

This tool offers end-to-end visibility of your network, real-time performance dashboards, and seamless integrations with various other tools.

Datadog Network Monitoring starts at $15 per monthly host, with volume discounts available.

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

A powerful tool offering comprehensive monitoring options for your entire infrastructure, including cloud, network, application, and device monitoring.

PRTG offers a unique pricing model where you pay for sensors, not devices. Pricing starts from $1600 for 500 sensors.

ManageEngine OpManager

A straightforward and easy-to-use tool that allows network monitoring, physical and virtual server monitoring, and fault management.

It offers flexible pricing models starting from $245 for 10 devices. A free trial is also available.

Please note that the prices above may vary; you should check each provider’s website for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

Network Monitoring vs. Application Performance Monitoring

Network and application performance monitoring are two distinct but complementary aspects of managing computer networks. Network monitoring focuses on tracking and analyzing a network’s overall connectivity and performance, including factors like bandwidth utilization and device performance.

On the other hand, application performance monitoring evaluates how individual applications perform regarding functionality, responsiveness, and resource usage.

While network monitoring provides a broader view of the network infrastructure, application performance monitoring delves deeper into understanding how specific applications function.

This includes evaluating how well an application utilizes network resources to fulfill its intended purpose.

By using network and application performance monitoring tools together, IT teams comprehensively understand their entire system’s health. They can detect issues at different levels – from identifying bottlenecks or security threats within the network to pinpointing inefficiencies or errors within individual applications.

Best Remote Network Monitoring Tool

One of the top remote network monitoring tools for 2023 is SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. Its advanced features and comprehensive capabilities allow businesses to manage and analyze their network traffic from anywhere efficiently.

SolarWinds NPM offers real-time monitoring, automated alerts, customizable reports, and a user-friendly dashboard that provides valuable insights into network performance. It also helps in identifying security threats and resolving technical issues promptly.

Whether you’re a small business or an enterprise-level organization, SolarWinds NPM stands out as a reliable solution for effective remote network monitoring.

Types of Network Monitoring Software

Different types of network monitoring software can help you keep your network running smoothly and efficiently. One type is availability monitoring software, ensuring all network components are accessible and functioning properly.

This type of software constantly checks the availability of devices and alerts you if there are any issues.

Another type is configuration monitoring software, which helps you monitor changes in the configuration settings of your network devices. With this software, you can track any modifications made to device configurations and quickly identify any unauthorized changes.

Performance monitoring software is also crucial for maintaining optimal network performance. It allows you to monitor key performance metrics like bandwidth usage, latency, packet loss, and CPU utilization.

This information helps you identify bottlenecks or potential performance issues before they impact your users.

How to Monitor All Network Traffic

You need the right network monitoring tools to monitor all network traffic effectively. These tools allow you to continuously analyze and track data flowing through your network, ensuring its smooth operation and security.

By monitoring all network traffic, you can identify potential bottlenecks, troubleshoot issues promptly, and detect any suspicious activity that may pose a threat.

With the best network monitoring software in 2023, like SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor or Auvik, you can gain comprehensive visibility into your entire network infrastructure.

These tools automatically discover most devices connected to your network and provide real-time insights into their performance and health. These tools have got you covered whether it’s hardware, virtualized hardware, servers, or databases.

How Network Monitoring Tools Work

Network monitoring tools work by continuously collecting and analyzing data from various network devices to provide valuable insights to administrators. These tools utilize SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) to gather information about device performance, availability, and traffic flow.

By monitoring key metrics like bandwidth usage, latency, packet loss, and error rates, these tools can detect anomalies or potential issues in the network.

Once the data is collected, network monitoring tools generate alerts or notifications when a predefined threshold is crossed or abnormal behavior is detected. These alerts help administrators identify and resolve issues before impacting overall network performance.

Additionally, these tools provide detailed reports and dashboards that present the collected data in a visually understandable format. Administrators can use these reports to evaluate network health, track historical trends, identify areas for optimization, and make informed decisions regarding capacity planning or upgrading infrastructure.

Qualities of a Good Network Monitoring Tool

A good network monitoring tool should possess certain qualities crucial for effectively managing and analyzing network traffic. Firstly, it should offer comprehensive device status monitoring, allowing you to keep track of the health and availability of your network components.

Additionally, SNMP integration is important as it enables the tool to collect real-time performance data from various devices. Another quality to look for is customizable alerts, which notify you of any deviations from normal network behavior or when specific metrics reach critical levels.

Moreover, a user-friendly interface with intuitive dashboards and reports is essential for quick and easy access to important information about your network’s performance. Lastly, historical and baseline data provided by the tool help assess trends and patterns over time, enabling better decision-making regarding network enhancements or troubleshooting efforts.

Read More: Employee Monitoring Trends

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below let’s check some common questions about Network Monitoring Tools.

1. What are network monitoring tools, and why do I need them?

Network monitoring tools are software or hardware solutions that enable businesses to track and analyze the performance of their computer networks. These tools provide real-time data on network traffic, bandwidth usage, device status, and security threats. They are essential for ensuring a stable and secure network infrastructure.

2. How can network monitoring tools improve my business’s efficiency?

Using network monitoring tools, you can proactively identify and resolve potential issues before they become major problems. This helps minimize downtime, optimize network performance, and improve overall productivity. Additionally, these tools provide valuable insights into network usage patterns that can help with capacity planning and resource allocation.

3. What features should I look for in a network monitoring tool?

When selecting a network monitoring tool, it is important to consider features such as real-time alerts for critical events, customizable dashboards for easy data visualization, comprehensive reporting capabilities, support for both wired and wireless networks, integration with other IT management systems, scalability to accommodate future growth and strong security measures to protect sensitive data.

4. Are there any free or open-source options available for network monitoring?

Yes! Several free or open-source options available for network monitoring that offer basic functionality suitable for small businesses or individuals on a limited budget. Some popular choices include Nagios Core, Zabbix Open Source Monitoring Solution (Zabbix OSS), Cacti Network Monitoring System (Cacti NMS), and Prometheus Monitoring System.

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