Network management is the process of administering, setting up, and troubleshooting a network. The main aim is to ensure that the IT side of your business is resilient enough. It can help you in ensuring high performance and minimizing disruptions. Also, it will help you in avoiding security issues.
Business networks have become fairly complex and large with time. Thus, network admins can be overwhelmed. In this guide, we are going to share the best industry best practices that you can use for monitoring your network.
Understanding network management is very important for your business. It will help you in choosing the correct tools for your business. Also, it will ensure that your business is healthy and always up.
What is network management?
Network management simply means how you are managing your network. It can be divided into five main areas. Every effective network management will focus on these five different areas. These areas are:
- Network administration: The network admins should have a list of all the network resources and equipment. This will help them in managing the network inventory. You also need to set up networks and monitor their performance. Network admins are also responsible for troubleshooting and updating software. You need to set up network management tools, software, and operating systems that will be in your network.
- Operation: Network operation will ensure that your network is always running without any problems. It will include network monitoring. Network monitoring will help you in finding performance faults and problems in your network. You can use it for fixing problems before they affect your end-users.
- Maintenance: Network maintenance will include the upgrade and repair of your network equipment. This will include equipment like servers, switches, cables, and routers. You need to regularly patch and update your software. This will ensure that your network is always up to date. You also need to implement preventative policies, improve faulty configurations, and update your access control measures.
- Provisioning: In this, you need to allocate and configure your network resources according to your needs. There is no perfect setting that you can use in every setting. If a lot of people are coming to your office for completing some project, then you need to increase the bandwidth. Similarly, if some team needs access to more storage space, then you need to increase your storage devices. All this responsibility will fall on the IT team. The network admin should provide resources to meet the changing demands of the business.
- Security: It is important to ensure that your network is secure. This will ensure that your data is protected from attackers. You need to install and maintain security software and devices. Also, you need to monitor network behavior and IP. Make sure that you are regularly tracking your endpoint devices. This will help you in quickly resolving security breaches.
Why network management is important for your business?
Network management is becoming more important as technology is evolving with time. Your network will include devices that are all connected through a LAN. If your employees are answering emails, then it needs to be added to your network topology. Every business is now using cloud services. This also increases the endpoints present in your network.
Effective network management will ensure that your network is always up. Thus, you don’t need to worry about lost productivity. In case of network downtime, you can quickly restore your network. These are some of the main advantages of effective network management.
However, effective network management is not easy to achieve. Most businesses are working with good MSPs like Bleuwire as they specialize in network management. This will ensure that your internal IT team can focus on your products. They can focus on improving your services and products. Your IT partner will ensure that your network is working optimally. Outsourcing to an IT expert is more cost-effective. Your network will be handled by experienced technicians.
Best Practices for Effective Network management
Network admins should approach network management with a good and effective strategy. They should use the best tools available in the market. You should also have a complete picture of your network. This will help you in finding issues that are already present in your network. You can also track performance issues and fix them. It will also help you in spotting network issues before it affects your business. This will help you in reducing the downtime of your network. Also, it will reduce the impact of downtime. Some of the best practices that you should follow are:
Know which compliance standards you need to follow
You should know about the compliance standard that your network needs to meet. Also, you should know the data that is very important for your organization. For example, health and financial data are subject to laws like HIPAA and PSI DSS.
Businesses that are not operating in the highly regulated industry generally ignore the data that they are storing. However, this is a very bad practice. You should know from where you are collecting the data and where you are storing the data. This will ensure that you will be compliant with most of the regulations. If you are collecting data from children, then you need to follow the COPAA compliance. Also, there are compliances like CCPA and GDPR which you need to follow if you are collecting the data from their citizens.
Set up network monitoring
There can be various points of failure in your network. The only good way to deal with this is by proactively monitoring your network. If you are monitoring your network in real-time, then you can easily identify problems. This will ensure that you can minimize the downtime of your network. You should also consider setting up automated network monitoring. This will ensure that you can check the status of your network devices before checking everything manually. Thus, your IT network team can save a lot of time.
You should monitor your network devices like switches and routers. Also, you should monitor your critical network servers. There are specific services like email, websites, and FTPs that you should monitor. These services should be always available for your business.
Know your network
You should understand the normal behavior of your network. This will help you in quickly spotting any issues or abnormalities in your network. Thus, you can quickly resolve these issues. Thus, you should first have a clear baseline. This baseline will help you in defining the normal behavior of your network. If your network is behaving abnormally, then network management tools will inform your network team.
Track which devices are on your network
You should ensure that you know all the devices that are present in your network. Also, you should trust all the users and devices that are using your network. This is very important for the security of your network.
Your employees can use a lot of different devices. Also, technologies like VR and AR can eat a lot of bandwidth. Thus, you should ensure that you are providing enough bandwidth to your users. You might find some devices in your network that are eating bandwidth for no reason. It is a good idea to remove these devices from your network. Also, some devices will need more bandwidth. Thus, you might need to provide bandwidth to them. This all can be done if you are properly tracking the users and people that are present in your network.
You should ensure that you have a map of your entire network. First, you should create a list of critical devices. Also, you should capture the network traffic that is going from these applications and devices.
You should start your network map from the core switch. Document all the devices that are connected to the core switch. Make sure that you are including all the network devices like servers, switches, firewalls, routers, and other personal devices.
You can log application-specific data for determining critical software. Information like the number of queries run, the number of pages accessed, and a number of files accessed can help you in determining if some application is critical for your business.
Make sure that you are including all the devices in your network map. There are certain tools available in the market that can help you in solving this task. They will help you in generating an automated map of your network. Thus, you can directly check all the devices that are present in your network.
This network map should always be available. In case of a network failure, you can use the network map for finding the error. It will also help you in quickly finding the devices that are connected with the affected devices. Thus, you can limit the damage of device failure.
If you want to create redundancy, then you should start by scrutinizing your current network. This will help you in determining the points of failure.
You should check your core sites. They are generally a common point of failure. Your bulk of network resources will be running at the core-site. Thus, it is also the area where your most connections will be terminated. You should also check your hardware and routing protocols.
If you want to build redundancy in these areas, then you should look for load balancers and failover solutions. You can use redundant power supplies for ensuring that your hardware is redundant enough. Also, you should have backup drives. This will ensure that your network will keep running even during disasters.
Your business network is only going to grow with time. More users will be connected to it. The number of devices will also increase. Thus, you should always plan to grow your business. If you are not planning for the network capacity to increase, then you will run into various problems in the future. It will become difficult to expand your network in the future if you are not planning for it. You can use monitoring systems for ensuring that your network is running properly within capacity. If some components will need an upgrade in the future, then you should plan for it in advance.
Network segmentation is a process of segmenting your network into smaller sub-networks. This will ensure that you can separate the important devices from other devices. Many companies are now using this technique. It will also help you in minimizing the impact of data breaches. In case of a security attack, attackers won’t get access to other network areas. This will ensure that the impact of the attack is limited.
You can also use Zero trust architecture for improving the security of your network. In this, you are not going to trust the new devices. Thus, first, every device needs to provide proper credentials. Also, users will only have access to the devices that they need. They won’t get access to the entire network. This will help you in reducing the attack surface area.
These are the best practices that you should follow for effective network management. Your business network will only become more complex with time. Thus, it is a constant challenge to handle it. You should start by automating some manual processes. This will remove the burden from your IT team. Also, you should have a clear understanding of who is on your network. Thus, you should have a network map of your network. You should know which devices are important for your network.
SMBs don’t have enough resources for managing all these things. Thus, you can also consider working with an MSP.
Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in managing your network. They will help you in creating an effective network management strategy. Bleuwire will help you proactively monitor your network. Thus, you don’t need to worry about hiring a large IT team. You can leave the tough work to the professionals. Bleuwire IT professionals will ensure that your network is always up and running. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.