Business owners and managers are familiar with IT and the various risks and threats to their business if they lose a key server. Or if workstations used by their end-users aren’t well maintained, with the latest security patches. It is equally important to consider your network and the consequences to your business of system downtime.
This is what you should know about Network Management.
What is Network Management?
Network management ensures that the IT side of a business is set up in the best way possible, to minimize disruptions, help you avoid security issues and maintain high performance.
The scope of Network Management doesn’t normally include hardware such as workstations and printers. It is primarily concerned with the set-up, administration, monitoring and maintenance of the data transfer channels and servers, routers, switches and firewalls.
Centralised Networks are a type of network built around a single server. The server holds data and user account information and handles data processing. Users and their workstations are all connected to the server which they use to run software applications and to retrieve and store data. This type of network is cost-effective and efficient. With a single server, tracking data and keeping machines patched and current is easier. However, with the single point of failure, there is an increased risk of downtime. The security risks are also higher since there is just one target for malicious targeting.
Centralised Networks are very common across the web, often used for Instant messaging services and internet banking.
Decentralised networks do not have a single point of failure and distribute the IT workload across multiple devices. Each device acts as a mini central unit interacting with other nodes. This has only recently become possible. Technological advances mean that laptops and desktops are powerful enough to handle the distributed processing as well as running software and storing data. This network is more secure, with no single point of failure. On the downsize, with more machines handling processing, there is more maintenance required and patching is less straightforward.
This trend is growing with modern technologies such as Blockchain and the cloud.
In practice, many businesses have elements of both networks.
Key Network Management Functions
Software Configuration Management monitors and documents changes to the network. Configuration data includes system versions, IP addresses, serial numbers. It is critical that this information is maintained. When a replacement or repair is needed for part of the network or a network device Configuration Management allows the Network manager to easily identify the new, or replacement configuration required.
Network operation and Fault Management is all about keeping your network running. Constant monitoring identifies faults. Ideally, potential problems are spotted and resolved before they affect end-users.
Network Administration involves setting up, then monitoring the performance of, networks. Maintaining an inventory of network resources, including servers, routers, switches, cables. It means setting up Network management software to monitor the system. Network administrators may issue users with IDs, passwords and permissions to help secure your system.
Performance Management considers network efficiency. Your network manager gathers performance data (data flow speeds, for instance) and uses the data to establish baseline performance levels and performance thresholds. If a threshold is exceeded then we have a problem and utilise Fault Management, above. Constant monitoring of performance data enables network capacity planning. For instance, internal bottlenecks identified through performance monitoring may indicate that your network infrastructure requires an upgrade.
Security Management involves the installation of network protection software and establishing a firewall. Your security manager monitors IP and network behaviour, spotting and resolving issues, malicious activity and security breaches. Your website needs SSL Certificates for security and your network manager will monitor these to maintain the website and data integrity.
Professional Network Management with Starboard IT
Starboard IT Network Management works to ensure network resilience for your business. Our advanced network monitoring services forecast network failures and we have escalation protocols in place to help avoid unplanned system outages.
We gather and analyse performance data to ensure the stability and constant availability of your website and your network. Our monitoring services are always running on your network, maintaining your system availability. We provide early identification of potential system-stopping faults and security threats with preventative action taken to avoid costly downtime for your business.
We can also monitor your critical applications whether you have cloud-hosting or on-premise infrastructure, or a blend of both.
Contact Starboard IT to discuss your network management requirements with our friendly, knowledgeable team.
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