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Fast-Tracking Your Digital Transformation Series: Part 5

Network Management for SMBs

The current crisis has forced SMBs to look at their digital initiatives in ways they’ve never done before, one of which being network management.

With most employees now performing their work from home, gaps in the tech infrastructure that keeps the wheels turning in organizations of every size and industry have become more apparent, and business leaders must address these gaps in order to strengthen their position, now and for the future.

Related Post: Why You Need Remote Work Endpoint Security Now

Many companies have found themselves to be unprepared for the current business environment and want to know how they can quickly get up to speed.

That’s why this series has been, week by week, assessing the most important solutions you need and how you can kick-start your plans for immediate transformation.

Take a look back at the previous entries in the series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

For the final part of our Fast-Tracking Your Digital Transformation series, we’ll be taking a look at the reasons you need to ensure your network management is up to standard in order for you to properly maintain and monitor the tech in your organization, and how to go about implementing changes right now.

Costly decentralized businesses

What Is Network Management?

If backup and disaster recovery is the emergency room when you are the victim of a breach, network management is your primary care physician; making sure that your business’ infrastructure is all in order and monitoring the technology heart of your organization.

A network manager, or administrator, will implement and then utilize solutions that report to them the general health of your business tech. This includes:

Administration

Administration means tracking the network’s resources and servers; in addition to performance monitoring and making sure software is kept up to date.

Operation

Operation refers to the monitoring of the network’s functions, identifying problems and resolving them before they become an issue for end users.

Maintenance

Keeping resources in working order and upgrading them when necessary, fixing hardware and installing new hardware.

Provisioning

Configuring the network so that it can accommodate every user efficiently, as well as provisioning services and software to end users.

What’s the Issue?

Managing IT infrastructure can be difficult under normal circumstances. The unprecedented times we find ourselves in now mean that adequate monitoring is more important than ever.

It’s no longer the case that your IT staff can just walk over to an employee’s desk and fix an issue they’re having—that’s simply not an option right now.

This means that it’s a lot harder to manage your software, cloud infrastructure, and issue remediation.

How Does Network Management Help?

Network management typically involves the use of a remote monitoring and management (RMM) software solution.

For example, at Impact, we partnered with SolarWinds to create Impact Network Control, which is an RMM that allows us to monitor and support our client’s IT infrastructure remotely.

As you can imagine, this is useful for businesses in a regular environment, and even more so when your workforce is dispersed due to remote working conditions.

Businesses can partner with an MSP to help give them this oversight, or they can purchase it a la carte for their own IT team to use.

If you partner with an MSP, you can expect them to provide your organization with a vCIO, who serves as your dedicated Virtual Chief Information Officer.

They will oversee your IT operations and make sure everything is functioning as intended and help you fix issues.

With the use of an RMM, your vCIO or internal team will be able to conduct:

  • Server, network, and desktop management
  • Windows, OSX, and third-party software patch management
  • Asset management
  • Scripting and automation tools
  • Remote control for all devices
  • Real-time issue remediation without end user interference
  • Detailed and customizable network and systems reporting
  • Mobile device management tools

Single Pane of Glass

The phrase “single pane of glass” is one of the defining characteristics of network management and monitoring with an RMM.

Once the monitoring software is installed on all the applicable devices (this can be done remotely), the vCIO can monitor and maintain all your tech infrastructure through their RMM application.

As a basic example of how this works: most of us are lazy when it comes to updating our software; we delay the notifications, tell them to remind us later—you get the idea.

What you might not know is that failing to update and patch software on devices can lead to huge security gaps, allowing criminals to potentially exploit them.

It might be feasible in an office setting for the IT staff to help with this, but with a remote workforce it makes this very basic act of maintenance orders of magnitude more difficult.

This is where the single pane of glass comes in.

The vCIO can assess every single device in your network and determine whether they’re patched correctly in a matter of seconds, and if necessary push those updates with the click of a button.

This is just one example of how an RMM can be a huge help with your network management.

Lack of visibility in SMBs

Other Benefits of RMM

User access

User privileges can be determined so that users can be given full or limited access to software.

Automate routine IT tasks

An RMM can be used to automate a host of common tasks, like patching or responding instantly to known issues that end users often have.

Catch issues before they develop

An RMM will notify the vCIO of alerts relating to tech infrastructure, and they will have access to a dashboard for diagnostics.

This means that they can be proactive in learning about issues and managing them before they become a larger problem—often without the end user even knowing.

Network visibility

You can view performance metrics like traffic, speeds, uptime and downtime, user habits—all visualized through a simple interface.

Customizable reports and analytics puts the decision maker back in charge and avoids the tail wagging the dog. 

The Bottom Line

These are just a few of the benefits of having a network management solution for your business.

Considering the current business environment, an RMM solution is a great way to look after and maintain all the devices in your organization’s network, especially remote devices.

While internal IT teams may utilize monitoring solutions themselves, it can often be difficult for them to monitor around the clock like an MSP can, so having a partner to help with your network management can be the better option for businesses without the necessary resources.

Network management is a crucial aspect of maintaining IT infrastructure, allowing total visibility into your systems and devices. To find out more about how the cloud can ensure your business is in good shape for the future, download our eBook, “Which Cloud Option Is Right For Your Business?”