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Overview of Network Monitoring and Management

Network monitoring refers to the subset of the network management, which is considered as the systematic approach of a computer network to determine failing or slow components before those components raise issues. Network monitoring and management are important as it helps to extract and identify location of the network issues or ensure network feasibility (Karimi et al. 2021). It is identified that with the rapid adoption of technology-based solutions and transmission of a wide range of data sets over the network or cloud generates urgency for implementing accurate network monitoring approaches. This helps to prevent issues such as security breaches, slow network, connectivity issues, and others. Along with this, continuous network monitoring also helps to detect any kind of potential issues over the network based on which proactive countermeasures could be undertaken to minimise adverse consequences (Angelini et al. 2018).

Thus, the following report aims to provide an in-depth illustration of the concept and effectiveness of the network management and monitoring practices. In order to accomplish the mentioned aim, this report will first illustrate the importance of network management, its principles along with its working principle, and the way it can be implemented. Other than this, the concept behind SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), its principles, and the way it can be implemented in network management will be underlined. The importance of network monitoring in large networks will be highlighted with the help of its working principles. Additionally, potential security vulnerabilities and challenges with the networking monitoring in new technologies such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defining Network (SDF) will be demonstrated in this report.

Information Technology (IT) has become one of the most crucial aspects of every business operation and its day-to-day operation. Application for selection of appropriate technology drives business success and profitability by improving its operational efficiency. It is identified that in this present era, computer networks have accelerated at a rapid pace from specific machines to thousands of different interconnected network devices, generating network complexities as well (Nobre et al. 2018). Network management in these contexts plays a significant role in maintaining network efficiency and minimising the occurrence of network complexities.

Network Management

Figure 1: Network Management

(Source: Nobre et al. 2018)

As mentioned by Arzo et al. (2021), network management in the context of business operations is found to be associated with security, reliability, and compliance that help to run a business smoothly.

On the other hand, it can be mentioned that network management is nothing but a multifaceted discipline, which offers network administrators with the help of network management protocols, processes, and tools to optimise the overall network operations. Iqbal and Riadi (2019) mentioned network types are the connectivity types that are being utilised by users or businesses entities to establish connectivity with different network devices for safe and effective communication between those devices.

Different types of network connectivity

Figure 2: Different types of network connectivity

(Source: InformationQ, 2016)

Network types can be categorised in four different ways such as LAN, WLAN, WAN, and VPN respectively. Depending upon the user or business needs a specific type of network connectivity is being implemented to the specific network devices (InformationQ, 2016). It is an important and complex task to ensure that the network is working optimally and the respective endpoints are monitored accurately. In this regard, network management helps determine the workflow over the network and maintain overall network operations in a systematic and accurate manner.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) And Its Implementation in Network Management

Functional area of network management

Figure 3: Functional area of network management

(Source: Created by the learner)

In the context of the above figure, network management is found to be associated with key functions areas such as configuration management, fault management, performance management, accounting management, and security management respectively (Gill and Buyya, 2018. Each of these functional areas is found to be the core principle of network management that helps to streamline and optimise the network operations systematically and accurately.

Configuration Management

Configuration management is found to be a systematic process in network management that helps to maintain and monitor network and device configuration. Configuration of networking devices is found to be changed with the change in new programs or emergence of the new software (Ayoubi et al. 2018). Thus, configuration management helps to prevent configuration errors and optimise overall network security.

Fault Management

Fault management is found to be a process through which network errors are resolved and helps to minimise maintenance, operational, and expenditure costs accurately.

Performance Management

Performance management helps to monitor and maintain track of the network activities systematically. Thus, in case any kind of system or network issue is identified, network management notified users to update or resolve those issues to optimise the networking device performance.

Accounting Management

Accounting or administrator management plays a crucial role in network management as it helps to improve network efficiency and increase overall security so that unauthorised access can be prevented.

Security Management

Security management in this present digital era is found to be the key concern due to the growing cyber or network security threats (Kafle et al. 2021). Different types of tools such as AVDS, Cloudflare, MailCleaner, Adguard, and others are found to be available for network management through which proprietary information and application security can be marinated.

As mentioned by Saadon et al. (2019), with the emergence of different modernised technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and others are found to automate different network management and administrations including optimisation, security, and provisioning respectively. In the context of large networks within an enterprise, network downtime can directly influence employee productivity, revenue, monetary damage, and others. For example, sometimes it is identified that due to a lack of concern on network management or security monitoring, businesses fail to protect their data over the cloud or network leading to the generation of risk of data breach or network security breach issues. BasuMallick, (2022) in this regard highlights network management as having the features to leverage various connected components such as endpoint connectivity, logging system, network automation, server connectivity, and others to execute respective operations.

Key components of network management

Figure 4: Key components of network management

(Source: BasuMallick, 2022)

Considering the key components of network management, it can be mentioned that network management plays an integral part in the present business environment as it helps to improve network uptime, network overview, and network security. Dias et al. (2020) outline a different perspective of the network management in reaction to the vehicle network. The author highlights vehicular networks are found to be an emerging concept and consider an alternative option for conventional internet, as it helps to deploy low-cost infrastructures to create self-organised network environments. However, the absence of an end-to-end vehicular network is found to raise issues and this could be overcome with the help of network management protocol namely “Vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs)”. This protocol helps to optimise vehicular networks and maintain suitable communication flow between the connected vehicle devices (Manivannan et al. 2020).

Importance of Network Monitoring in Large Networks

 Vehicular network

Figure 5: Vehicular network

(Source: Dias et al. 2020)

Working principle of Network management

The working principle of the network management is found to be categorised based on the identified five components such as fault, configuration, administration, performance, and security management respectively.

Working principle of fault management

In a network, faults or issues are undesirable events that may lead to the interruption in network connectivity and restrict users to execute their activities over the network. Packet errors, discarded packets, utilisation of high interface, and others are found to be the commonly identifiable issues in the network. In order to resolve these issues effectively, the following steps are being considered.

  • Problem detection
  • Problem isolation and determination of the root cause of the identified issues
  • Troubleshoot and resolve the issues (LaFlamme, 2022)
  • Documentation of the process that is being utilised for resolving the identified network fault

Working principle of configuration management

The primary working principle of configuration management is to document and monitor device and network configuration. Network managers are found to be responsible for updating, organising, maintaining, and setting configuration information for devices and networks. Network configuration is found to include the following steps such as:

  • Switch and router configuration that specifies correct IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, route settings, and others of the network
  • Host Configuration that connects specific host devices such as laptops or computers to the respective network through logging the network settings such as configuration of DNS server, IP address, and tables of device routing (Velasco et al. 2019)
  • Software Configuration that offers suitable credentials to the network-based software

Working principle of administration

This principle of network management is found to work by administering users within specific network with authorised permissions and passwords

Working principle of performance management

Network performance is found to be determined based on the aspects such as error rates, downtime, uptime, throughput, response time, and others. This principle is found to be associated with the following steps to manage a specific network.

  • Collection of performance data
  • Analysing the data to establish the baseline levels
  • Development of performance thresholds

Working principle of security management

Security management is found to be carried out based on the following security systems and tools to maintain effective operations flow and reduce the occurrence of any kind of security issues.

  • Email Scanners: This tool helps protect the endpoints from any kind of malware attack and spam by thoroughly scanning any the received emails
  • Instruction Detection Systems (IDS): It helps to monitor the sessions and packets for any kind of malicious activities over the network
  • Firewalls: Firewall is considered as the devices that mainly monitors the network traffics as well as utilise specific security rules to block or permit data packets going and coming from the networks (Hajiheidari et al. 2019)
  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS): It prevents and detects any kind of suspicious activities. Along with this, in case any kind of malicious activity has been identified IPS reports it to the network manager as well as implements proactive measures.

Effective network management is found to play a significant role to ensure the feasibility of IT infrastructures that are being connected to the network. As mentioned by Fernandes et al. (2020), after designing specific network connectivity for a large network of enterprises, it is important to ensure that the network has the potential to offer appropriate amounts of bandwidth to the business users, applications, and processes. In this regard, the implementation of network management plays a significant role to optimise network operations and streamlining activities by enhancing the operational efficiency of the network. Following are the certain steps that business entities need to be considered to implement network management within a large networking environment.

Resource identification

Before implementing the network management, it is important for the network manager to identify the availability of remote access, security, hardware, software, and performance. Along with this, it is important to identify all the required administrators who will be responsible for managing the administrative subdivision with the respective network.

Selection of suitable protocol for network management

Selection of the appropriate protocol is found to be important to maintain network connectivity and performance in a systemic and accurate manner. For example, SNM is found to be the most widely utilised networking protocol for management that is associated with SNMP agents (IBM, 2022). In addition to this, SNMP helps to manage all the activities that are being carried out in the network in a systematic and accurate manner.

Potential Security Vulnerabilities and Challenges with Network Monitoring in New Technologies

Development of a strategic approach for network management

During implementing the network management, it is important to develop suitable network management objectives so that specific or target network operations can be managed accurately. In addition to this, software capabilities for network management and configuration of the network connectivity with appropriate IP addresses are required to be executed to accomplish the network management objectives efficiently.


A proper documentation of the network management strategies is required to be developed so that any modification in the network management strategy can be made easily.

Considering the aspects and characteristics of network management, it can be mentioned that with the application of network management accurately, network optimisation and maximisation of network security issues can be minimised.

SNMP or Simple Network Management Protocol is considered as a systematic framework that is utilised for managing different devices across the internet or network. It is seen that SNMP offers systematic and suitable operations through which the network or internet can be monitored and managed in a systematic and more efficient manner. As mentioned by Subardono and Hariri (2021), SNMP is found to be associated with two specific aspects such as agent and manager respectively. The mentioned protocol is mainly designed at application level that in turn helps to monitor connected devices across different physical networks.

Concept behind SNMP

Figure 6: Concept behind SNMP

(Source: Subardono and Hariri, 2021)

In a large network or in an organisation thousands of devices are found to be connected to the network and it is difficult to check or monitor all the devices one by one. In this regard, in order to minimise the networking monitoring complexities, SNMP is being utilised. SNMP is considered as the protocol in the application layer that utilises UDP (User Datagram Protocol) number 161/162. As mentioned by Nawi and Yusof (2020), SNMP is found to be utilised for monitoring networks and detecting any kind of network faults that might lead to the server consequences to the respective connected devices. In the context of the following figure, it can be mentioned that a specific network can include different SNMP Network Managers and each of the workstations can have one specific master agent. It is identified that SNMP master agent and Network Manager are found to utilise SNMP protocols to build, connect, and interact with each other. In addition to this, each of the managed components is found to be associated with MIBs (Management Information Bases) and sub-agents that in turn help to optimise the network operations (IBM, 2021).

SNMP architecture

Figure 7: SNMP architecture

(Source: IBM, 2021)

The primary aim and objectives of the SNMP are to offer network devices such as printers, routers, and servers with familiar language to share information with specific network management systems or NMS. The concept and application of SNMP are found to be widely popular and in most of the cases, network devices are found to have in-built SNMP agents.

As mentioned by Tsai et al. (2018), network monitoring is required to determine different types of network devices to receive the performance of the network. However, every network device is found to operate in different ways and each of them is found to involve a specific transmitting protocol to transfer data over the network. There are different reasons and benefits that users or larger network servers can obtain with the incorporation of SNMP and those are as follows:

  • SNMP helps to standardise the monitoring process of the network device by eliminating the requirements for complex configuration of monitoring
  • Vendorless monitoring system
  • Status can be updated in real-time (Roquero and Aracil, 2021)
  • Persistence of automatic parameters for monitoring
  • Centralised location for data management

Functional Areas of Network Management

Working principles

SNMP software is found to agents on specific network devices as well as services to communicate with NMS (Network Management System) in order to relay configuration changes and status information. On the other hand, it is seen that SNMP is found to be based on the MIB concept to organise the way information related to device metrics is being exchanged (Scarpati, 2022). MIB is found to be the formal illustration of the status information as well as components associated with specific network devices. SNMP is found to utilise a combination of push and pull communication between the NMS and network devices. The SNMP agents that are associated with MIB are found to collect the status information constantly and push the information to NMS on request.

Working principle of SNMP

Figure 8: Working principle of SNMP

(Source: Scarpati, 2022)

On the other hand, it is seen that SNMP is found to work through sending messages, which are considered as “protocol data units (PDUs)” to the specific devices with the network that “Speak” SNMP. These sending messages are considered as the “SNMP Get-Requests” through which network administrators can visualise and track specific considered data values virtually. Set, Get-Response, Get-Next, and Get and Trap are the five primary messages that enable SNMP agents and SNMP managers to establish connections and communicate with each other (Jackson, 2022).

SNMP is found to utilise two types of community strings such as read-write and read for sharing information and both of these strings can be configured to restrict network devices from unauthorised changes allowing accessibility to the public network.

Considering the working principle of SNMP, it can be mentioned that SNMP is found to be mainly utilised for monitoring devices on networks like printers, switches, firewalls, routers, and others (Silva et al. 2019).

SNMP can be employed in the network management system to monitor and track the network activities in a systematic and accurate manner. It is identified that SNMP is bound to monitor the network performance based on the components such as object Identified (OID), MIB, Managed Device, SNMP agents, and SNMP managers respectively. As highlighted earlier, SNMP helps to establish a flexible environment through which network managers can easily understand the performance of network operations. Gayathri and Neelanarayanan (2019) mentioned that network admin and engineers are found to be responsible for ensuring that a network of specific organisations is available and perform as per predefined objectives. On the other hand, in order to determine the network performance and health, engineers or network admin require visibility of those performances associated with different network devices.

In this regard, the concept of “Datadog Network Device Monitoring (NDM)” can be interlinked to determine the way SNMP is employed in network management. NDM is found to leverage the SNMP to monitor and discover automatically network devices across different vendors and at any scale (Tsubouchi et al. 2022). The network admin or engineers can easily aggregate the metrics in all the selected network devices while investigating the network faults or network outages. In this context, it can be mentioned that SNMP serves as beneficial to monitor the performance and metrics of network devices.

Considering the evidence mentioned above, it can be mentioned that SNMP is found to be the operational set that provides administrators with the ability to modify some of the states of SNMP-based devices. For instance, users can utilise SNMP to shut down a specific interface on the router or to perceive the operating speed of the Ethernet interface.

SNMP is found to be associated with different factors that help it to become universal and it provides standardisation along with an understandable structure for the specific data types as well as for the data transfer. In the context of the following figure, it is identified that SNMP is found to be associated with three specific characteristics or components such as Network Management Station (NMS), agents, and managed devices respectively (Saheb and Rasool Md, 2021). Managed devices are found to be recognised as the nodes of the SNMP agents, and reside on the respective network station. For example, within a large network, there can be a wide range of connected network devices that need to be managed and monitored accurately to minimise the occurrence of any kind of undesirable events. In order to manage these network devices, the network admin is required to have detailed information about the performance, thoughts, metrics, and others of each of the connected devices. In this regard, SNMP makes the overall network management processes by collecting all the relevant required information for different devices and provides a clear insight to the network admin about the network data. This, this turn, helps in identifying any kind of network issues or faults and keeps track of those issues in a systematic manner to make any kind of decision in the future based on the real-time data (Paessler, 2022). In this regard, it can be mentioned that with the application and adoption of SNMP can add value to the network management and enhance the chance of improving the network efficiency. The key reason behind this statement is being underlined in the next adjacent paragraph by highlighting the benefits of SNMP in network management.

Benefits of SNMP in large network management

It is identified that in a large network, constantly analysing network performance, and adding new network devices and keeping track of the network performance are found to be complex activities. In this regard, presently, business entities are found to incorporate SNMP systems followed by FrameFlow that offer significant benefits to the network management practices. The benefits that can be obtained with the application of SNMP followed by FrameFlow are as follows:

Prevent any kind of network outage

When network outage occurs in a large network, it negatively affects upon operational flow that is being accomplished with the help of network devices. In this regard, FrameFlow helps the network managers to scan continuously all the connected network devices simultaneously and address any type of minimal issues before those issues may lead to the generation of a network outage (Mauro and Schmidt, 2022).

Address network issues quickly

SNMP along with FrameFlow is found to have the potential to identify all the potential issues such as fluctuation in the network traffic, performance failure, connection failures, and others before they generate a major breakdown. SNMP in network management helps IT managers to address network issues quickly and implement proactive measures to prevent those issues efficiently (Jukic, 2019).

Develop a report for network performance

The application of SNMP along with FrameFlow helps to generate device and network performance reports in a systematic and accurate manner. This report includes both historical and present data that helps IT, managers, to determine the performance of the network. These reports are found to serve as beneficial to address any kind of network outage easily by analysing the historical data and maximise the chance to enhance the network efficiency.

Discover any type of security threats

Security threats are found to be a growing concern for any business entities that are highly dependent on the network to execute their operations. Large networks are found to be vulnerable to security breaches, which in turn require strong security measures to prevent these issues. In order to prevent security threats, it is important to identify any kind of malicious activity quickly (Chen et al. 2020). Thus, with the help of FrameFlow, network devices can be monitored virtually. It helps the IT managers to determine any type of abnormal information transfer or undesirable traffic spikes accurately in accordance to which, proactive measures can be undertaken easily. 

Network monitoring is considered as the systematic process of monitoring, mapping, and discovering specific computer networks to ensure optimal performance and network availability. For example, WhatsUp Gold is found to be a widely utilised network-monitoring tool that helps users to identify whether the activities on the network are being performed efficiently (WhatsUp Gold, 2022). Most of the private networks are found to be connected to the specific internet connectivity and private networks are being connected with the help of routers. Information that is being transferred or transmitted across the network is found to be in the form of data packets. Each of the transferred data packets is found to associate with a specific IP address that routes utilise to transfer data from one location to another specific location. As mentioned by Liu et al. (2020), the network is considered as the lifeline of every IT infrastructure in this present digital era. It is identified that in case of network outage occurrences, the flow of information between the client and server-side also stops leading to the generation of work discrepancies this can negatively influence upon work performance, specifically for business organisations.

Transmission of data through network

Figure 9: Transmission of data through network

(Source: WhatsUp Gold, 2022)

Networks are found to be a dynamic environment and network admin are constantly asked to add new technologies, applications, and users to their respective networks. These, in turn, can directly affect upon the ability to offer predictable and consistent network performance (Cisco, 2022). This generates urgency for monitoring networks in a systematic and accurate manner so that any kind of network disputes can be restricted. For example, in most of the cases, it is seen that for ensuring optimal performance of a network, organisations are susceptible to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) (Sun et al. 2021). SLA refers to a specific contract between Line of Business Owner and IT that agreed to offer a specific amount of network uptime and performance. For e-commerce businesses, SLA serves as beneficial to improve customer services by maintaining optimal network activities and performance.

Functions of network monitoring

Figure 10: Functions of network monitoring

(Source: WhatsUp Gold, 2022)

In the context of the above figure, the network monitoring system is found to be characterised by five specific functions such as to discover, map, monitor, alter, and report respectively.


Networking monitoring is found to be initiated with a discovery process and this helps to determine all the devices connected within the network such as servers, firewalls, routers, printers, and others (Khan and Khan, 2018).


Network map provides an orderly and clear visual representation of the devices that are connected with the network including all the details including real-time status information, connectivity, performance, and others. For example, WhatsUp Gold, the network-monitoring tool helps to discover all the information associated with a specific network automatically and establishes a complete map that helps IT or network managers to determine performance accurately (WhatsUp Gold, 2022).


In the network monitoring process, the network admin tries to monitor the “Big 5” for any type of device connected to the network. This "Big 5" aspect includes disk and interface utilisation, memory, CPU, latency, and ping availability respectively.


A network monitoring system (NMS) is found to provide a quick alert to the network admin in case any kind of undesired network event occurs. The threshold-based alert helps network admin to respond to any kind of network type before generating adverse consequences to the business, application, and users (Abdelhafidh et al. 2019). For example, NMS generates alter when the utilisation of CPU to the router exceeds 80%. This allows the network admin to incorporate proactive investigation as well as respond to the network issues before the failure of the network connected to the router.


NMS is found to provide historical as well as real-time data that allows the network admin to monitor the feasibility and performance of the network in a more accurate and systematic manner.

Network monitoring process

Figure 11: Network monitoring process

(Source: ManageEngine, 2022)

Most of the time it is identified that due to a lack of focus on monitoring the network, business entities fail to maintain an optimal flow of data across the network. This minimises their chance to execute network-related activities in an effective and systematic manner.

Working principle of networking monitoring

Network monitoring systems are found to poll the network servers and devices for performance data utilising standard protocols such as SSH, WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation), and SNMP. On the other hand, some of the NMSs are found to support specific scripting languages such as Powershell in order to establish customer monitors for respective Windows Servers as well as SQL queries for creating custom monitors for the databases. SNMP and WMI are considered as two most widely utilised protocols in network monitoring systems as these protocols enable Network Admin with various monitors for assessing the health and performance of the network along with its connected devices (WhatsUp Gold, 2022). SNMP protocol in the monitoring system collects all the detailed information from any type of network connection to the devices including Wireless LAN, routers, Wireless Access Point (WAP), and others. It helps to monitor network activity and report proactively in case any kind of suspicious activity is observed (Koš?ál et al. 2019).

On the other hand, WMI builds a specific operating system interface (OSI) that collects information from different that is being connected to the WMI agent. WMI is found to collect detailed information about software, hardware, and operating system data, properties of local and remote systems, security and configuration information, and others. After collecting all relevant information, it passes to the software related to network management that monitors the availability, performance, and health of the network in a systematic and accurate manner (Anson, 2020).

The primary aim and principle of network monitoring are to collect relevant information for different parts of target networks so that it can be controlled and managed efficiently. There are certain benefits that can be obtained through network monitoring and those are as follows:Benefits of network monitoring

Figure 12: Benefits of network monitoring

(Source: Howland, 2020)

Standardise performance

Network monitoring systems are found to provide visibility of benchmarking performance every day and determine any kind of undesirable fluctuation in the performance standards. Effective network monitoring helps IT, professionals, to perceive anomalies or issues in the network in accordance to which countermeasures could be undertaken before those issues cause system downtime (Mourkos et al. 2020).

Efficient allocation of resources

Network monitoring helps to understand and identify the root cause of the network issues, and minimises the troubleshooting time that positively influences to enhance the efficiency of resource allocation across the network.

Manage and control change in the IT environment

With the proliferation of technology, every business entity is found to show their preferences and interest in incorporating modernised technology-based solutions to improve their performance efficiency. It is identified that organisations requisites to perform systematic and continuous monitoring of their network as a wide range of network devices are found to be interconnected over a large network (Howland, 2020). Technology is found to be evolving continuously making a wide range of business activities autonomous and faster to enhance organisational competitiveness. However, with the emergence and adoption of wireless devices, sensors, and cloud technologies, professionals in IT businesses are required to have better software or systems to manage these technologies. These inter-connected network technologies are found to be vulnerable to threats and thus, require continuous monitoring. Network monitoring systems in this regard play a significant role in determining the health of network devices and identifying in case any modification is required in accordance with the change in business environment (Zhou et al. 2018).

Different network monitoring tools

Figure 13: Different network monitoring tools

(Source: Wilson, 2022)

There are different types of network monitoring tools such as SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Auvik, ManageEngine OpManager, Datadog Network monitoring, and others (Wilson, 2022). Each of the mentioned tools serves as beneficial for the business entities or IT professionals to determine and manage the performance of the respective network in a more accurate and systematic manner. For example, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is found to be one of the most effective and widely utilised monitoring tools that help to develop a customisable network dashboard that reflects a detailed analysis of network health and performance (Solarwinds, 2022). On the other hand, Auvik is considered as the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform that offers network mapping and discovery features by automating the overall networking monitoring process. Along with this, this platform helps to perform network analysis and notify the Network admin in case any kind of suspicious activities has emerged across the respective network (Auvik, 2022).

In the context of large networks, on-premise information centres, SaaS, multi-cloud, and other networking aspects are found to require complex monitoring systems. Business entities or IT managers are found to be responsible for determining suitable network monitoring tools according to the needs to prevent any kind of undesirable events. It is seen that the application of network monitoring in the emerging and existing modernised technologies such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is found to be associated with a wide range of vulnerabilities (Papavassiliou, 2020). The key reason behind this statement is going to be satisfied and underlined in the next adjoining section.

Network vulnerabilities refer to the faults or weaknesses in organisational processes, software, or hardware that are compromised with malicious activities leading to the occurrence of a security breach. For instance, operating systems are most vulnerable to network attacks in case users fail to update the system with the latest security patch (Gao, 2021). In case, user fails to update the security patch, their system becomes vulnerable to any kind of cyber attack as inadequate security patches provide opportunities for the hackers to gain access to the target network easily.

As mentioned by Jawad et al. (2019), virtualisation is enabling network architects to manage, implement, and design network services in a more efficient manner. In this regard, the concept of two modern technologies such as Software-defined networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) can be interlinked. SDN technology is considered as the systematic approach in relation to the network management, which enables dynamic and programmatically efficient configuration of the network in order to strengthen the monitoring and network performance. SDN is found to utilise application programming interface (API) and software-based controllers to interact with the underlying direct traffic and hardware infrastructure on the network (Cranford, 2017).

SDN has been accelerating the telecom networking aspects. SDN application is found to be deployed by key service providers such as NTT, Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, and others. In the context of the following figure, SDN technology is found to be categorised into three specific successive layers such as application layer, control layer, and infrastructure layer respectively (Al-Mashhadi et al. 2020). In SDN, the centralisation of Forwarding Information Base (FIB) has the potential to calculate optimal routes for the traffic flows undertaken by the inexpensive switches over the network. Along with this, IT managers can perform tests and run different network configurations without altering the original network.

SDN architecture

Figure 14: SDN architecture

(Source: Iqbal et al. 2019)

Network Function Virtualization is considered as the network concept and architecture that utilises the fundamentals of IT technologies. It helps to virtualise the overall functions of the network nodes on industry-standard high-volume storage, switches, and servers that can be situated in the centralised locations or data centres. As mentioned by Lv and Xiu (2019), NFV reflects the abstracting of the network resources, which were offered in hardware to the software traditionally.

NFV architecture

Figure 15: NFV architecture

(Source: Sridharan, 2020)

NFV is considered the systematic way to virtualise network services such as firewalls, load balancers, and routers that are being operated on the proprietary hardware. With the application of NFV, users are not required to incorporate a dedicated hardware for different network functions. NFV enhances the agility and scalability of a network by enabling service providers to offer modernised demanding applications and network services, without incorporating any kind of hardware resources (Sridharan, 2020).

SDN and NFV technologies are not independent of each other; however, both of these technologies have some similarities. The key reason behind this statement is that both of the mentioned technologies are found to utilise network abstractions and rely upon virtualising networks. However, these technologies abstract resources and separate functions in different ways to improve network agility and performance. For example, SDN is found to separate the forwarding function from the control function of the network aiming to create a specific network that can be centrally programmable and manageable (Red Hat, 2022). On the other hand, NFV is found to abstract the network functions from its respective hardware. However, NFV assists SDN by offering the key infrastructure within which software of SDN can operate.

According to Alam et al. (2020), acceleration of rapid change can be considered as one of the salient characteristics of the digital or technology revolution. With the emergence of modernised technologies and the growing acceptance of networking, devices enabled the technological or digital revolution over the past few years. In this regard, two popular and demanding technologies such as SDN and NFV are found to be employed and distributed across hybrid, private or public cloud services. Incorporation of both of the mentioned technologies makes network resources effective by minimising OpEx and CapEx, which maximises the network flexibility as well. In this regard, it can be mentioned that each of the mentioned technologies provides a new approach or design to manage and deploy networks along with their associated services in a systematic and accurate manner (Zhang et al. 2018).

SDN is found to contribute to network automation while NFV emphasis upon network services and thus, it can be mentioned that application of these technologies together can bring benefits in terms of network monitoring and management. However, the adoption of modernised technologies generates the risk of cyber or network threats that can make undesirable changes to the ongoing activities over the network. As underlined by Farris et al. (2018), cybercriminals are found to try constantly to gain accessibility to their target network by incorporating sophisticated malicious software. The aim of the cybercriminals is found to be warriors from crate threats to present business entities. In recent times, with the grinning usage of modernised devices with network connectivity are most vulnerable to cyber security due to the persistence of insecure access-point of the Wi-Fi or configured firewalls poorly.

It is identified that SDN and NFV technology environments in networking monitoring are found to be associated with key vulnerabilities, which are being underlined in the next adjacent section.

Vulnerabilities in SDN technology 

SDN has been replacing the conventional networking system due to its effective characteristics and centralised control features. The confidentiality, integrity, and privacy of the SDN technology might be affected due to the cyberattack on the system vulnerabilities. This, in turn, minimises the efficiency and performance of the network system as well. For example, an unauthorised access to the respective SDN system can negatively influence and damage the existing information (Iqbal et al. 2019). It is identified that most of the security vulnerabilities in SDN technologies in the context of networking monitoring systems are found to be infrastructure layer, application layer, and control layer attacks respectively.

Application layer attack

  • Malicious Code: Incorporating various programs can generate different types of attacks where cybercriminals inject suspicious code into the target system that leading to the occurrence of data breaches or data loss issues.
  • Rules Insertion: Implementing and creating rules SDN security rules across various domains can generate the risk of a cyber attack or security breach over the network (Yungaicela-Naula et al. 2021).

Control layer attack

  • Application attack: In this attack, attackers or cybercriminals get illegal accessibility from the application layer of the target system and obtain sensitive data of that network leading to the attack (Zhijun et al. 2020).
  • Denial of Service Attacks: These attacks are found to be the most commonly identifiable cyberattack that can occur across controllers, switchers, and network channels.

Infrastructure layer attack

  • Man-in-the-middle attack: Controllers and switches are not connected directly to transfer the information and thus “man-in-the-middle” monitors may intercept the confidential data without being perceived, resulting in black holes, and eavesdropping attacks.
  • DoS Attack: The cybercriminals can drench the flow table and buffer flow with the help of transmitting large malicious packers frequently, which leads to the generation of attacks on the respective target network (Yue et al. 2020).

In this regard, it can be mentioned that security attacks have been growing at a rapid pace and thus, organisations and IT professionals are required to implement suitable security measures so that they can prevent their networks from being hacked.

Vulnerabilities in NFV technology 

NFV mainly operates across virtual resources like Virtual Machine or (VM) and the persistence of security vulnerability can affect the NFV operations negatively. Different types of a security attacks or vulnerabilities associated with NFV are being underlined in the next adjacent paragraph.

  • Risk of Isolation failure

This attack is found to have occurred while attackers are able to break the hypervisor through compromising VNFs running over the NFVs. Emergence of this attack can negatively impact upon network performance along with the network connectivity.

Isolation failure risks in NFVs

Figure 16: Isolation failure risks in NFVs

(Source: Lal et al. 2022)

  • Failure of Denial Service protection

DoS attacks are found to be directed at the virtual network or the public network of VNFs for exhausting network resources as well as the availability of services. DoS protection is found to be accomplished by flooding the target network or host with the traffic until that target crashes, restricting the accessibility of legitimate users (Lal et al. 2022). 

  • Malicious insider

These risks are being characterised as the internal risk of security and it generally occurs by the suspicious action of the internal administrators. For example, malicious or suspicious administrators have the authority to access the root of the hypervisor. Due to this reason, internal administrators can easily gain access to users' passwords, ID as well as SSH with a simple “Search Operation” from a memory dump. These actions violate the user's confidentiality and privacy leading to the occurrence of adverse impact on the user's activities on the network (Pattaranantakul et al. 2018).

  • Failure of Regulatory Compliance

Components of virtual networks can easily be established with the application of NFV. Dynamic and quick decisions of the IT professionals or users can lead to human error while a virtual router is being established and utilised to make connectivity with the VN without application Firewalls. With the emergence of sophisticated malicious networks or security threats, attackers can compromise the virtual firewalls by restricting their functionalities by allowing accessibility of sensitive data to perform an attack.

Considering the vulnerabilities in the technologies such as NFV and SDN in the context of network monitoring, it can be mentioned that the best and most appropriate security measures are required to be undertaken (Di Mauro et al. 2021). For example, Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Linux Security Kernel, Alert Correlation Model (ACM), attack graph, and others can be considered to prevent the occurrence of identified security threats across the network.


In the context of the overall discussion, it can be articulated that network management and network monitoring both are found to be important for business entities in this digital age to prevent network issues. The discussion revealed that continuous network monitoring could serve as beneficial to detect any kind of suspicious activities and incorporate proactive measures to prevent network interruptions generated by the security attack. It is identified that technology and technology-based gadgets have become integral aspects for any business entity in this dynamic and competitive environment. Starting from the usage of wireless devices, cloud computing technologies, sensors, and others are widely utilised by people and business organisations to execute their required activities systematically and efficiently. However, utilisation of these technologies requires an efficient amount of network connectivity, and managing a wide range of interconnected network devices is found to be a complex task for network managers or IT professionals. Network management deals with confidentiality, security, compliance, and reliability that help to maintain an effective flow of network connectivity. Network management helps in determining network operations and optimising network operations in a systematic way.

On the other hand, SNMP in network management is being used to manage various types of devices connected to the network. NSMP helps to determine the network health and any kind of network failure that might negatively affect the connected devices accurately. Networking monitoring plays a significant role in network management as it helps to ensure network availability and optimal performance of the network. Network monitoring is found to be carried out based on five identified functions such as to discover, map, monitor, alter, and report. However, it is seen that there are certain vulnerabilities associated with emerging technologies such as NFV and SDN in the context of network monitoring. These identified vulnerabilities require to be addressed accurately to prevent the occurrence of identified network threats.


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