Navigating the complexity of network design and deployment can be a daunting task, particularly in today’s era of more distributed, interconnected IT environments. Hurried, poorly planned decisions can result in costly, ineffective designs and inferior performance.
With the multitude of different ways to configure an enterprise network, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Adding to the challenge is the task of streamlining network management and monitoring capabilities across disparate, multi-vendor environments that include both wired and wireless infrastructure.
To optimize the value of your network environment, you need a network management strategy that aligns with your business priorities, taking into consideration core infrastructure needs, risk elements, performance demands, and lifecycle costs. As your business needs change and become more complex, more focus is needed to ensure that your network is designed, implemented, and managed in an efficient and consistent manner.
Reactive measures and unplanned upgrades can’t be completely avoided, but you can improve your planning and management approach. A key element of effective network design is creating an environment that will grow with your business. To accurately visualize current infrastructure and future needs, you need a concrete plan and structural map that defines any new hardware and software you plan to add.
You’ll also need to consider how each new component you deploy will impact network performance. As you continue to upgrade infrastructure to support leading-edge technologies like big data, cloud, and the IoT, network bandwidth demand will continue to grow.
While your business strategy needs to be flexible to accommodate changes in priorities and direction, your network design strategy also needs to be agile and adaptable.
A carefully planned, strategic approach to network design and management can help you:
- Optimize assets and resources, enabling you to redirect in-house talent to more strategic initiatives
- Minimize risks and protect data through enhanced security and carefully-crafted backup and recovery processes
- Improve availability and reliability of applications and services and applications for increased productivity
- Enhance data sharing through better connectivity and tighter integration of resources and systems
- increase efficiency and reduce costs through automated systems and best practice management processes
To keep pace with the speed of business and technology change, you need a network that is fast, efficient, reliable and secure. At the center of an effective network strategy are several core components.
The planning process begins with a detailed assessment of your IT environment to determine how well your network is performing and how best to leverage existing resources. The assessment will reveal insights into your network strengths and weaknesses, uncover opportunities for cost optimization, and provide greater clarity for making difficult IT investment decisions.
The assessment can help you:
- Gain a clear picture of your network capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and how well your technology plans align with business goals
- Identify potential vulnerabilities and lapses in system backup, power disruptions, and data recovery processes
- Create a defined action plan to bolster your network defenses against growing security threats
- Improve network speed and efficiency while cutting costs through well-timed, strategic technology upgrades
Monitoring is the first line of defense against unstable or unforeseen events that affect your network performance. New cloud technologies are assisting in this effort by enabling remote network monitoring without the need for constant onsite support. Proactive monitoring, automated alerts, and continuous insight into usage and performance metrics help quickly identify issues and drive resolution, helping to avoid unnecessary and costly downtime.
- Network specialists can analyze trends, detect potential threats, and compare performance to industry benchmarks or pre-defined metrics.
- Expert recommendations on design and configuration improvements help ensure your network is reliable, available and secure
- Analysis of real-time performance data and usage trends gives managers greater insight into future infrastructure investment needs and ongoing technology recommendations
Rather than considered as an afterthought, network security should be embedded into your design. Data access and protective measures should include clear policies and procedures for how security is enforced. Additional tools and techniques can provide an extra layer of security to protect against unauthorized access.
- Deploy updated anti-malware to help prevent malicious software such as ransomware and viruses from sneaking into your network, and make sure your anti-malware software is consistently updated with the latest definitions.
- Keep patches current―make sure your practices include automated patching to help enforce policies and keep systems up to date and enforced with the latest software patching.
- Make backups of all your data and software on a storage device that is not attached to your network or computer. Confirm that all your backups are operating properly and test them on a regular basis to make sure they will perform when you need them.
Network management isn’t only about keeping your operations up and running and maintaining the status quo. It’s also about improving network performance and optimizing efficiency. Preventative maintenance and responsive support capabilities are essential to helping to ensure reliable, secure performance. Advanced analysis, bandwidth optimization, and reporting tools play a vital role in helping network managers:
- Gather information and determine the health status of your network infrastructure
- Track performance against industry standard benchmarks
- Identify network components and provide an up to date inventory of connected devices and users
- Ensure optimum capacity and coverage while extracting maximum value from legacy systems
Expertise and support:
Routine network management tasks are vital to helping to ensure maximum uptime and reliability, but they can distract IT from more important priorities. Without sufficient expertise and support resources, your IT team can become quickly overwhelmed, exposing your critical infrastructure to chronic inefficiencies, breakdowns, and hidden vulnerabilities.
That’s where expert planning and insight from an experienced network consultant can provide immense value. Your network consultant will work with you to create a personalized network management and support solution, assist with implementation and training, as well as provide ongoing support through the entire design and installation process.
Whether you are upgrading your existing infrastructure or starting from scratch, with careful planning and the right approach you’ll benefit from:
- A defined action plan to address any network performance, efficiency, and compliance issues
- Lower operating costs through more efficient network management and well-timed and targeted infrastructure improvements
- A plan that will optimize your legacy network systems and better control technology expenses
- Increased productivity through faster, more reliable network performance
- Enhance IT security through best practices, intelligent planning, and better awareness of network vulnerabilities and weaknesses
- A solid foundation to address potential network outages and business continuity and recovery
In the age of digital proliferation and widely distributed network connections, maintaining an efficient, responsive network infrastructure t is more critical than ever. It requires a holistic approach that effectively blends proven practices with cutting-edge technologies to create a network that delivers efficient, reliable performance and easy scalability to meet shifting business needs.