A reliable network is crucial for effective business. We connect, operate and share data at a level never seen before, and a poor network can restrict communication, prevent resources from being shared efficiently and impact profits. However, a fast, reliable, and secure network can boost productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. This makes network management an essential element for businesses to only stay operational, but to allow future growth and success.
What is network management?
Despite the advancements in technology, networks still need external help to ensure they are healthy, secure and up to date with the latest software. That is where network management comes in. It refers to the administration, operation, maintenance, and provisioning of network systems.
Network management involves a range of important tasks that ensure our networks are working to the best of their ability. This includes:
- Architecture and topology planning: Creating a blueprint for how the network will be set up and structured to best serve your business and staff.
- Installing and configuring: Setting up the desired network components, such as network devices and software, and adjusting them to suit future operations.
- Monitoring: Analysing network traffic activity trends and addressing bottlenecks, congestion, or other issues that might hinder performance. This may include ensuring critical applications receive sufficient bandwidth while non-essential traffic is controlled.
- Troubleshooting: Responding to issues and faults quickly to prevent business downtime.
- Security: Implementing protocols, firewalls and encryption to safeguard against potential threats and unauthorised access.
- Optimising and updating: Keeping up with the latest software, security patches and firmware to enhance stability. This also includes ensuring the network hardware (such as routers and devices) is configured for maximum efficiency.
Why is network management important
Network management is essential for any business that relies on a computer network for its operations. It’s crucial for seamless communication and enhancing productivity. It enables businesses to more effectively utilise resources, and adapt to technological advancements. Here are some of the key benefits.
Improved network performance
Faster data transfer speeds, lower latency, higher bandwidth and better quality of service can improve the performance of applications, services, and processes that depend on the network.
Proactive network management helps identify inefficiencies and potential problems early, reducing repair costs, downtime, and potential revenue loss due to network failures.
Effective network management implements strong security measures, minimising vulnerabilities and protecting sensitive data from cyber threats and unauthorized access.
A well-managed network can support the growth and expansion of the business by adding new devices, users, locations, and services to the network. It can also adapt to changing business needs and demands by modifying the network configuration and capacity.
How to maximise network performance to improve business outcomes
In case you didn’t know, a fundamental element of a business network is a ‘network switch’. Network switches connect multiple separate devices into one cohesive network. They act like traffic controllers, receiving data from devices such as computers, printers and servers, and forwards the data to the intended recipient within the same network.
Network switches are typically ‘managed’ or ‘unmanaged’, with both variations providing their own functions and benefits. Knowing how they work can help a business determine whether a managed switch or unmanaged switch is the best option for its network.
A managed switch enables network administrators to oversee and adjust the switch’s settings. Administrators can optimise traffic flow, prioritise critical applications, enhance security and configure redundancy protocols for increased network resilience. This level of control and customisation is typically suitable for larger and more complex networks that require tailored configurations and security
Key benefits include:
- Advanced configuration options for VLANs, QoS and security settings.
- Remote management and monitoring capabilities.
- Traffic prioritisation for critical applications.
- Enhanced security measures and redundancy protocols.
An unmanaged switch is a basic plug-and-play networking device that operates without user intervention. These switches are pre-configured and designed for simplicity, making them ideal for small-scale networks or home setups. Unmanaged switches may lack the advanced control in managed switches, but they are straightforward to set up and use, with default settings that take the hassle out of managing a local area network.
Key benefits include:
- Simple plug-and-play operation without requiring configuration.
- Cost-effective solution for small-scale networks or home setups.
- Basic connectivity and straightforward setup for local area networks.
Manage your network with Cloud Connect WA
Selecting the best network management services ultimately comes down to your specific networking needs, the level of control you desire, and the size and complexity of the network on which your business operates. No matter your situation, Cloud Connect WA is a leading provider of network management services in Western Australia. Our advice is backed by high level IT expertise and can be tailored to your business needs.
Contact us today for more information on network management for your business.