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Network Management Overview: Key Concepts Explained

Every business organized into teams or departments working towards a common goal must have a network system. This is a collection of both wired and wireless connections, devices, and software that make it possible for everyone to access the same database. However, more often than not, network systems malfunction, disrupting the smooth running of a business.

To prevent such inconveniences, most businesses leverage network management. It involves monitoring, upgrading, and troubleshooting common issues to keep the network system running efficiently at any given time. If you’re just starting on network management, you’re in the right place, as this article with give an overview of what you need to know for a smooth experience.

The Role of Network Management

Every business that has a network system knows that it’s far from perfect. From time to time, these systems experience downtime, making them unavailable and stalling business operations. The lost productivity can accumulate into significant long-term costs that reduce your business’ profitability. Such scenarios necessitate incorporating network management.

The overall purpose of network management is to ensure that the network system is running smoothly and is accessible by the end users. To achieve this, the network management system collects data from all devices and software connected to the network. It can collect data using:

  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which queries all the devices in the network and records the responses.
  • Streaming telemetry. This is a newer technology that involves installing software in network elements to evaluate performance and transmit results in real-time.

After collecting the data, the network management sends it to an administrator who oversees the operation of the system. From here, the administrator can analyze the data to evaluate performance and security, as well as take preventative measures to ensure no issues occur during business operations. If an issue already exists, they troubleshoot and fix it before it becomes a genuine problem, reducing the number of downtimes.

Key Aspects of Network Management

The network management system is usually broad and comprises different components that work together to bring the desired results. Here, we’re going to break down these components to understand the role they play in the system.

Connected Network Devices 
Every network management system has connected devices, perhaps located in a conference room, office, or on-premises workstation. Besides mobile phones, laptops, and desktops, the devices also include hardware such as servers, firewalls, applications, routers, switches, and access points.

Network Administration
Network administration foresees everything about network management. It involves planning, designing, implementing, and regular monitoring of the system. As such, the administrator will be in charge of finding and setting up the hardware and configuring it. They’ll also be in charge of security and all other activities that ensure the system is operating smoothly. In the event of any glitches, the administrator would be the first person you contact as they determine where the problem lies.

Network Automation 
Some issues that arise in the network system, such as network configuration, are pretty common and don’t require advanced technicalities to fix. Instead of relying on manual labor, which can be slow at times, network management automates solutions for such problems. This helps to improve the response time to issues within the system and also reduces repair costs.

Network Operation and Monitoring
The main purpose of network operation is to ensure that the network is operating as expected at all necessary times. Such an approach requires the administrator to monitor the network system regularly to be able to detect glitches early on. They can also do repairs, system upgrades, replacements, and access control updates.

Network Security 
Network security is all about preventing data breaches. Network management installs software that can detect and raise the alarm on any suspicious activities or intrusion on the system and trace the malicious actor. This goes a long way in ensuring your data doesn’t get exposed to unauthorized individuals.

Healthy Practices for Network Management

Network management can feel overwhelming when implementing it in your organization. Here are healthy practices that will ensure your system runs seamlessly:

  • When setting up your network management system, consider working with a managed service provider. They will help you set up your system the right way and take over all the duties related to your network system.
  • Keep clear records of your network system operations. From time to time, you might need to change your passwords, IP addresses, and network configurations. With clear records of such updates, you eliminate the risks of forgetting the changes that have been made, and you can troubleshoot problems much faster.
  • Rely on one brand for all your hardware, including routers, switches, cables, and more. This minimizes incompatibility issues while making it easy to spot problems whenever they arise.
  • Never implement a change without testing. Though some changes you make to the network system might look small, they could have larger unforeseen impacts. Always do some tests to avoid disrupting the users.
  • Give users the access they need to complete their duties. This will improve security as you can easily know who has access to any given information.
  • The data flowing in your network could require you to follow local or industry-set regulations. So, always contact the local authority to know which data regulations you have to observe.

What Network Management Helps You Achieve

By ensuring your network system is running efficiently all the time, network management helps you achieve the following:

Reduce the Losses Caused by Downtimes
Without a network management system, some network issues catch you by surprise. If, for instance, you are an online retailer and your network system develops issues for hours when clients are checking out, most of them would cancel the purchase. Consequently, this would translate to a loss of sales revenue and customers due to poor experience.

With a network management system, you can foresee issues before they can cause serious problems. This way, you also minimize the incidences of downtimes that could result in costly losses.

Eliminate Monotonous Routine Activities
Network management continually monitors your system and, in the process, does multiple jobs at once. For instance, automatic patch fixes after system monitoring free up your IT team’s workload. This way, they can focus on other strategies that can make the network system better. Most importantly, it helps you minimize the number of IT employees needed and, in the process, cut some operating expenses.

Summing It Up: Network Management Is a Worthwhile Investment

Network management is a necessity for any business that wants to improve its performance and uptime. Regardless of the devices involved in your system, it ensures you have a comprehensive overview, helping you manage issues proactively.

Residents of Burnsville, Twin Cities, Fargo, Duluth, and St. Cloud who are having challenges navigating the complexities of network management can find support from Metro Sales. With our extensive understanding of this field, we’ll help you implement a new system or optimize your existing one. Connect with us via our contact page to get more information.

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