Network management: Securely into the future
Network management is a challenge that is becoming increasingly relevant, especially in the context of enterprise networks. Higher network performance, growing user numbers and increasing security requirements call for a well thought-out network strategy.
Strong network management helps minimize risks and downtime and sustainably support business goals. Small and medium-sized enterprises without a large IT infrastructure find an alternative in virtual servers and external cloud offerings.
What does network management mean?
As an umbrella term, network management stands for the totality of those tools, applications and processes that are used to deploy, operate, maintain and secure the network. An overarching goal of network management is to ensure secure and efficient use of network resources for all users (business users and end users).
Network management orchestrates all network traffic and data flow in the company's IT infrastructure. It involves the use of network monitoring, network security and network automation tools.
One challenge of network management is the increasing complexity of corporate networks in the wake of digitalization and globalization. The Corona pandemic also contributed to the growing importance of network management. IT networks that were once still manageable are becoming larger and larger due to numerous connected network devices. Efficient and secure monitoring and control is the task of network management.
Network management and its components
Network management comprises a number of subtasks and systems that build on each other:
1. network provisioning and inventory.
. NETWORK PROVISIONING AND INVENTORY.
Provisioning is either about the initial setup of a network for user access or automating the initial configuration of network devices. Networks are configured for access by users, containers, servers, or IoT devices. This task also includes the control and monitoring of all network resources. Hardware components such as servers and routers are monitored, as well as software, updates and the current performance of the components. It is important to keep an eye on the respective network utilization and to calculate future utilization based on the expected requirements. In this context, it is equally important to keep certain network resources in reserve. This enables more flexible action in case of need.
Inventory software solutions are usually used to record the network components. This ensures an inventory of the network devices and stores important data on each component in a database (information on hardware, operating system and installed software). Ideally, this network inventory should be continuous, as certain data changes during the course of network operations.
2. CONFIGURATION, MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE
Deployment is followed by configuration and subsequent monitoring and maintenance of the network. This area of network management is about defining the desired state of the network and connected devices. During the course of network operation, the goal is to maintain this state.
Network configuration involves the use of tools for planning, modification and extension. A subset of this component of network management is change management. As enterprise networks are constantly confronted with new requirements, they must respond to them. Network configuration change management helps to accurately track changes, reducing the chance of errors.
3. NETWORK MANAGEMENT: STABILITY AND SECURITY
tworks are subject to various threats ranging from damage to external attacks or unauthorized access. IT networks are built from a large number of individual components, including routers, gateways, internal and external servers, and switches. These components must be protected by various technologies. Therefore, network management also includes security systems and management protocols. These include traffic control protocols (firewalls), access control systems, anti-malware, fault management systems and various automation technologies. To ensure that the failure of one component does not disrupt the smooth operation of the entire network, it is important to provide redundancy.
4. NETWORK PERFORMANCE AND EFFICIENCY
Continuous monitoring and troubleshooting is required to ensure that the network can sustainably provide the required performance. Processes such as availability checking and contingency plans help ensure that network performance is ready at all times. This includes monitoring network traffic metrics to control response times and bandwidth. Performance management and monitoring can be used to identify potential performance weaknesses in advance. As a result, these processes help minimize downtime.
Since slow networks can have a significant impact on business processes, continuous optimization of network performance is also one of the challenges of network management. This includes agreeing certain guaranteed response times and availability with customers. Complete documentation of performance and successes is an additional contribution to trust.
CONCLUSION: BENEFITS AND STRENGTHS OF NETWORK MANAGEMENT
One of the key benefits of network management is visibility into the performance and availability of enterprise networks. Network management systems are applied to continuously track specific performance indicators and optimize them when in doubt. Another benefit is the early detection of potential problems or failures of network components. Since downtimes can be business-critical for the company's success, rapid detection and rectification is of great relevance.
Beitragsfoto: Shutterstock, WOTAN Monitoring, GH-Informatik GmbH