Network management covers the procedures, methods, and tools need to effectively operate, administrate, and maintain networks. As a practice area, it’s primarily focused on maintaining reliability, efficiency, and overall performance of data transfer channels.
There’s a broad range of hardware and software products marketed as network management tools designed to help network system administrators effectively manage the enterprise network. While there’s not necessarily an industry standard definition, network management functions span a number of areas: network provisioning, network operation, network maintenance, and network administration. The overarching function is to ensure that network resources are effectively made available to users and consumed as efficiently as possible.
The network management protocol, or NMP, comprises the network protocols which outline the processes and policies necessary for managing the network.
The purpose of a network management protocol is to address the objectives required for optimally operating a network. Network managers and administrators use NMP to assess and troubleshoot the connection between hosts and client devices.
Network administration encompasses tracking network resources, including switches, routers, and servers. It also includes performance monitoring and software updates.
Network operation is focused on making sure the network functions well. Network operation tasks include monitoring of activities on the network, as well as proactively identifying and remediating issues.
Network maintenance covers upgrades and fixes to network resources. It also consists of proactive and remediation activities executed by working with network administrators, such as replacing network gear like routers and switches.
Network provisioning involves network resource configuration for the purposes of supporting any given service, like voice functions or accommodating additional users.
Today’s network has to effectively support high value solutions that carry data, video, and voice to and from users, which means maintaining superior network service levels, plus visibility into infrastructure. As a result of the many impacts of digitalization, the enterprise network has become increasingly complex, vexing, and difficult for IT to manage. BYOD users and internet connected devices have to be onboarded rapidly.
New, innovative digital technologies your business is adopting have to be deployed to maintain a competitive edge, but at the same time, cyberattacks have to be prevented at every entry point. All of these initiatives must be executed on with precision, in tandem with delivering a high-quality, consistent user experience. For this to happen, the right network management system is necessary.
Putting a proper network management system in place can arm system administrators with the tools necessary for the care and feeding of the enterprise network without excessive manual intervention. The goal is to manage the complex network from the data center to the network edge via integrated wired and wireless management capabilities, automated alerts for network issues, and compatibility with devices across vendors. Different types of network management solutions may not necessarily include all of these features, so ensure you’re selective as you’re evaluating the software options that may fit your needs.
Network management services are also worth looking into if your internal IT team doesn’t have the bandwidth to ensure your network is running securely and efficiently. Delivering stable network management at consistent service levels is a critical undertaking as complexity increases and cost-pressured IT departments set sights on high infrastructure performance, availability, and security with a limited budget. If you have limited IT resources, they should be focusing on the initiatives that better your bottom line.
Also, don’t forget that downtime is very costly. Is it worth your IT investments to go it alone? If you don’t have the internal resources to operate network management software, the risk of downtime looms.
Technology innovations are costly, and so is trying to take on the IT complexity of today using an internal team exclusively. Opting for network management services to augment your internal efforts often results in significant cost savings.
Choosing network management services allows staff to escape the pressures of red alerts and blinking lights and focus on the innovative projects that are going to make a difference in your organization. Depending on what sorts of network management functions you’re looking to offload, from monitoring to upgrades, a number of services are available to improve the pace and precision with which your business operates.
We’ve all heard the numbers when it comes to the costs of downtime. Relying on a proven network partner for network management operations eliminates the need to worry about glitches in the network. You can trust that there won’t be any unexpected expenses or PR disasters as a consequence to network failure.
Trusting a partner with network management responsibilities makes it easier to make modifications to your infrastructure or solution set in response to changes in the business. A solid partner will be flexible in service delivery.