A Guide to Network Management Solutions

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Understanding network management is more than knowing what it is. To have a firm grip on the management of your business’ network, you must know how to successfully manage it. Although this may seem like common sense, there are some key areas that may be overlooked that need to be addressed. This article is meant to educate you on those key areas and inform you about best practices so that you can make the best decision possible when evaluating various network management solutions.

 

Key Components of Network Management Solutions

Before we jump into the best practices associated with network management, it is important to understand the basics. There are five important pieces to the puzzle, and they are listed and explained below.

  • Administration – Administration duties related to network management may include setting up networks, monitoring their performance, updating software, and troubleshooting software. It also involves keeping an inventory of network equipment, such as cables, routers, servers, hubs, and computers. In addition, administration tasks can also include setting up network-wide operating systems, software, and network management tools.
  • Operation – The operation tasks include keeping an eye on your network for performance issues and fixing problems in a timely manner with minimal disruption for end users. The entire point of having these duties is to keep your network running smoothly at all times.
  • Maintenance – Maintenance duties encompass everything involved with upgrading and repairing network equipment (such as routers, switches, servers, cables, and more). Updating and patching software regularly is also a part of network maintenance. Other responsibilities that fall under the category of maintenance include implementing preventative policies, improving flawed configurations, and updating access control measures.
  • Provisioning – Network provisioning is essentially the reallocation of network resources to better fit a business’ current needs. For example, if your business is planning on having an influx of new employees to accompany a growth spurt, it would make sense to increase the need for broadband in order to accommodate this. This also applies to situations like your colleagues needing more storage space or better file sharing capabilities. Provisioning tasks help to configure your resources to best match the changing needs of your business.
  • Security – Ensuring that your network is healthy and functioning properly depends on the security measures you take. Installing and maintaining software that is made to protect your network is a major component of network security, alongside monitoring network behavior, tracking endpoint devices, and swiftly resolving security-related issues or breaches. Failing to pay attention to security is particularly bad, as it can allow hackers to meaningfully hurt your business through the loss of customer trust and excessive downtime.

 

Best Practices

It is important to note that having an effective network management strategy is not just about knowing the basics. In fact, it takes several tools and a deeper understanding of your own business and its structure to create a fully developed plan to manage your network. Below are a few helpful hints that you may want to keep handy when crafting your strategy.

  • Use baseline measurements – Being aware of your network’s normal behavior is important in catching any issues that may arise in a timely manner. Having clearly defined baselines within your network management software can also allow you to set alerts for any abnormalities that may be detected. These alerts can also contribute to faster problem recognition and resolution.
  • Set up escalation protocols – When there is no escalation protocol, things can get messy very quickly. Knowing exactly who to notify about the issue is an important part of network management. Additionally, splitting up responsibilities among multiple employees can make resolving issues more efficient. For example, you could have one person handling firewall-related problems, another dealing with virtualization, and so on.
  • Ensure access to basic information & troubleshooting – Ensuring there is information and troubleshooting at each layer of your network is vital in quickly solving any network issues. Network layers refer to every part of your network, including items like physical equipment, IP address issues, and so on.
  • Have multiple access points in the event of network failure –Typically, the network management software you use will be installed on the network you are managing. However, in the event of network failure, your network management system is at risk of going down alongside the network itself. To avoid this, it is important to structure your network in a way that the server (or whatever point at which your network management/monitoring system is installed) is accessible at all times.
  • Plan for future possibilities – When choosing from various network management solutions, it is critical that you keep scalability in mind. With no growth planning, your business could suffer from a lack of network capabilities in the future. For instance, if you do not plan for your network capacity to increase, expansion to accommodate your business’ needs becomes unnecessarily difficult. Planning ahead by monitoring your network’s capacity levels can work wonders for businesses that intend to grow.

 

Now that you are fully informed about the various factors that go into network management and the best practices for it, it is time to decide whether to outsource the job or not. Hiring an IT company, like Contigo, to give you some of the best network management solutions can prove to be a smart move and may give your business the competitive edge it needs. We work hard to provide a seamless online experience and thorough performance tracking so that your business can shine. Contact us today to get started.