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    October 31, 2023

    Got Ghosts in Your Enterprise Network?

    Shining a light on the dark corners of the new enterprise network doesn't have to be as scary or overwhelming as some think. While “ghost issues” typically lurk in these sometimes unexplored places on the internet or in cloud environments, during this Halloween season your network operations teams can gain the confidence to not only uncover these network ghosts, but compel and cast them out forever.

    Ghost issues

    A ghost issue is a problem or error that is hard or impossible to replicate. For example, a business-critical app like Microsoft Teams might slow to a halt for one user at a remote office at random times. These issues generate endless helpdesk tickets, but when investigated the application functions normally and you can’t get enough insight to resolve the problem.

    By nature, ghost issues can be challenging because they are intermittent. For network operations teams managing many locations, ghost issues are time-consuming and frustrating. When there’s an unresolved ghost issue, helpdesk queues become difficult to empty or require L1 and L2 employees to “know” when to ignore specific ones.

    There’s also the possibility that it’s a major problem you just can’t see, and it could get worse and impact many more users. Even experienced network or systems admins can get bogged down for weeks or months looking for the needle in the haystack.

    Some recent customer examples of ghost issues include:

    • A cloud application that was having recurring performance issues. In this case, a member of the IT networking team explored AppNeta by Broadcom data and found that the app was hosted on an instance that was too small in a provider data center that was too far away.
    • An automation error that threw off QoS enforcement for cloud app traffic within their internet service provider.

    With ghost issues — and ghosts too, now that I think about it — visibility is key. AppNeta by Broadcom provides the continuous insight necessary to find and fix these issues fast by allowing network operations teams to look back at performance over time to see when issues occurred (e.g., data loss beginning after a route change). Only active, low-overhead monitoring can help solve ghost issues for good.

    Shadow IT

    Unsanctioned apps create unnecessary risks to the network. Network teams need to be aware of these apps and their impact on the network performance. Network Management by Broadcom can help teams determine and monitor the usage of apps running in the network, providing insights into app-related traffic activity and patterns. The solution can help teams reduce the risks of Shadow-IT and optimize network performance.

    A growing percent of enterprise app spending takes place “in the shadows;” that is, without the knowledge of enterprise IT, and potentially in violation of network policies. This practice is known as “Shadow IT,” the rogue use of apps that leverage WAN capacity. It has exploded alongside the widespread adoption of SaaS for business-critical tools, and while this practice may be frustrating for IT teams that are already grappling with radical changes to their network infrastructure, it’s not always conducted with ill intent.

    The reasons that users will turn to Shadow IT run the gamut, but often come down to a simple preference of one platform over another. For instance, a company may defer to Slack as the approved messaging platform, but one department prefers Google Chat and has adopted that for their own internal comms. But even seemingly harmless reasoning like UX preference can be risky.

    Shadow IT is also indicative of a few larger organizational issues that could be weighing the company down in ways beyond exposure to malware. If employees are taking matters into their own hands because the approved software and device policies at their work are actually hindering productivity, then enterprise IT needs to rethink their approach.

    Balancing user behavior with enterprise IT initiatives will always be a challenge, so network operations teams need the visibility into apps that are running on the network to better understand the needs of users. When those needs are misaligned with their current tooling, Shadow IT will arise. Broadcom has the solutions needed to monitor the network actively and continuously, helping you gain visibility into which apps are running and how they are performing.

    Alec Pinkham

    Alec is a Product Marketing Manager for the AppNeta solution at Broadcom. He spent seven years with AppNeta in the Application and Network Performance Monitoring space before joining Broadcom. Prior to AppNeta his background is in software product management in HMI/SCADA solutions for industrial automation as well as...

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