Due to the increasing complexity of your network infrastructure, it is recommended to routinely monitor network equipment for functional and secure operation. Network monitoring may help you with that by notifying you of any malfunctions or problems – provided that you have configured corresponding alerts. There are special systems which can take over security-related functions. Besides firewalls, these systems actively monitor and secure your data traffic.
In a nutshell, there are many hardware and software options as well as many strategic possibilities. While one solution concentrates the applications on a single hardware platform, this may not be the best choice for other solutions.