Your network is the most important backbone of your IT infrastructure. A secure, efficient, and healthy network is a prerequisite for every business. However, the growing number of devices and technologies has made networks very complex. It is difficult to manage the security of such large networks. Most IT professionals are facing these challenges. You need to effectively maintain and manage your network for solving this problem. In this article, we are going to share the best Network management practices for your business in 2022. These network management practices will help you in effectively managing your network.
What is network management?
Network management simply refers to the system consisting of applications, tools, and processes that will help you in maintaining your network infrastructure. These tools will help you in operating your network infrastructure. The network management system will collect network data. It will analyze all this data. This will help you in applying correct configuration changes to your network. These configuration changes will increase your network availability. It will improve your network performance and ensure network security and reliability.
Network management will help you in controlling the connectivity and configuration of your IT network. You can control devices like repeaters, gateways, routers, and switches. It will also help you in controlling virtual nodes like applications and end-users. Network management solutions will help you in maintaining the permissions and digital connections. There are four main functions of network monitoring:
Network provisioning simply means setting up the configuring and network devices. This will ensure that the authorized users will have access to your network. It is mainly focusing on connectivity and user access. Thus, you can use it for identity and device management.
This is a simple process of maintaining and defining a network. You can maintain your network in the desired state. It involves tasks like assigning network settings, controls, and policies to maintain the network. You can make these configuration changes for tracking and reporting your data. Network configuration will include things like firewall configurations, network topology control, host configuration, router configuration, and switch configuration.
This is the process of using security systems, controls, and policies for protecting your network. It will help you in protecting your network against unauthorized harm, attacks, and access. The main goal of network security is to find and mitigate security threats. This will help you in protecting your network from compliance risks.
This includes things like network troubleshooting, testing, and monitoring. Network measurement will help you in ensuring that security, integrity, and availability goals are met. You should measure your network parameters as it will help you in establishing benchmarks. It will help you in monitoring performance and identifying performance issues. You can also minimize network outages and downtime by properly monitoring your network. Thus, you should ensure that you are measuring your network performance properly.
How does network management work?
These solutions will first key network performance indicators like availability and downtime from your network. It will send all this data to a centralized server. This centralized server can be a cloud or on-premise server. The collected data will be analyzed in the centralized server. You can use a control application for analyzing all this data. This will give important and meaningful information to your engineers. Your engineers can use this data for making necessary changes to your network devices like access points, routers, switches, and gateways. The network devices will send data by using Telemetry or SNMP protocol.
Why Network management is important for your business?
Business networks have become very complex with time. You need to support various technologies and devices. Also, you need to support high-value traffic. The networks are becoming more complex with time. Thus, it is difficult to maintain a good level of network security and service. Network management solutions will help you in delivering stable connectivity to your users. It will help you in maintaining consistent service levels and it will help you in protecting your network. Some of the main benefits of network management are:
- It will help you in increasing the efficiency of your network.
- It will help you in reducing the downtime of your network.
- Network management solutions will help you in increasing flexibility as you can easily modify your network.
- It will help you in increasing ROI from network infrastructure investments.
Main areas of Network management
Network management is mainly divided into the following areas:
This consists of identifying network components and maintaining their connections. You will collect their configuration information. Also, you will define the relationship between all the different components. This will help you in effective modification, initialization, and shutdown of your network.
Your network will undergo alterations and modifications as new network devices are added or removed. It is important to ensure that you are tracking and managing all these changes. Configuration management tools will help you in easy device discovery. It will help you in maintaining your inventory and monitoring changes for ensuring security and compliance.
This will help you in identifying, correcting, and isolating network problems or faults. These can be errors in your network devices or interface. Fault management will help you in preventing unexpected loss of data, and downtime. Thus, it is one of the most important parts of network management.
This will help you in tracking your network utilization. It will help you in regulating the usage according to your network policies. Accounting management will help you in allocating your network resources. This will help you in reducing your network congestion. The data collected via accounting management will help you in planning your network growth.
This will help you in measuring network performance. It will help you in preventing network inaccessibility and overcrowding. The main goal of performance management tools will help you in providing good levels of services to your users. This will help you in making optimal use of link and device capacity. It will give you important data which will help you in checking your network health and performance.
This mainly focuses on the security of your network. Security management can be achieved by designing a good network. It will help you in creating a robust security management system. Security management tools will use controls access and encryption for protecting your data. This will ensure that unauthorized users can’t access your network.
Best Network management practices
Know your network
You can’t manage your network until you know your network. Thus, it is important to ensure that you know your network topology, devices, type, and the OSI model. Make sure that you properly understand your network. This will help you in building an efficient and strong network. It will also help you in quickly troubleshooting problems and developing good security controls.
Understand your network defenses
You should also know your network defenses. Make sure that you know about the security controls that you are already using. This will help you in understanding your current network security infrastructure. You can focus on building a network security infrastructure once you understand your current network defenses.
Identify critical systems
You should create a map of your entire network infrastructure. It should highlight all the critical software, systems, and devices. These devices will form the core of your network. Make sure that you are including devices like servers, firewalls, switches, and routers. Your network operation will ultimately depend on these devices. This will help you in finding the network components that are important for your network. Thus, you can focus on protecting these devices. This will ensure business continuity in case of a network outage.
Track your devices and users
If you want to provide optimal network performance to your users, then you need to provide the correct bandwidth to your devices and users. This can be done by tracking your network usage. You can collect all this data and identify bandwidth-eating users, devices, and technologies. These devices are generally the cause of connectivity and latency issues for everyone else. Make sure that you are tracking all the users and devices that are present on your network. This will also help you in identifying unauthorized or untrusted users that are present in your network.
Understand your compliance requirements
Your users will use your network for accessing your company data and resources. Thus, it is the most important gateway for your company. If someone has access to your network, then they can virtually access all your devices and network. Thus, your network will come under scrutiny when it comes to audits and compliance requirements. You should know about these compliance requirements. This will help you in setting expectations and managing your networks.
Follow the best network security practices
You should follow the best network security practices for protecting your network. These practices will help you in creating an effective security posture. Thus, you can protect your network from common IT security threats. They will help you in quickly improving your network defenses. The best thing about these practices is that they will help you in building a long-term IT security strategy.
Your business network will have hundreds of hardware, protocols, software, and systems. Network components can fail due to various reasons. If your main network component fails, then your entire network can go down. Your entire business will suffer due to this.
Network redundancy will help you in mitigating the risk of network failures. Some common examples of this are routing protocols, software, ISP connection, and network software. You can create redundant components by using redundant power supplies, failover solutions, and load balancers.
This concept is not limited to your network only. You should also apply it to the data that you are storing. Make sure that you are using the 3-2-1 strategy for creating redundancy in your data strategy. This strategy simply means that you will maintain 3 copies of your data. You will store it in 2 different storage media. The 1 simply means that one copy will be stored off-site. This can be in your cloud storage or some other local storage. It will help you in protecting your data from data security risks.
Best Network management tools
There are various network management tools available in the market. You will find both open-source and commercial tools in the market. You should prefer commercial tools as they will provide more features to you. Some of the commonly used network management tools are:
- Cisco Network assistant.
- Nagios XI.
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.
If you don’t know the state of your network, then it can lead to frequent network outages, downtime, and connectivity issues. You need to understand your network if you want to run a secure, stable, and efficient network. It is important to ensure that you know the devices, users, and components that are connected with your network. This will help you in securing your network from attackers. Modern networks have become very complex with time. You can’t achieve all this by using manual solutions. Thus, network management solutions are perfect for network admins. These solutions will help you in operating a secure and high-performance network with very minimal downtime. It is important to ensure that your network is running at an optimal level.
If you are an SMB, then it is difficult to configure all these modern tools. Thus, you should consider working with a good MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in managing and monitoring your network. This will ensure that you don’t need to worry about managing your network manually. Bleuwire will use modern network management tools for monitoring your network. They will remotely monitor your network. Bleuwire will proactively help you in protecting your network from downtime. This will ensure that your end-users are getting the best network performance. If you need more information regarding network services, then you can contact Bleuwire.