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What Is Network Management?

What is network management? (definition): Network management refers to the monitoring, maintenance, and management of your business’ IT network. Administrators typically use a variety of software solutions and tools to do this, and their remit will encompass provisioning, smooth operation of the network, repairing reported issues, and continuous management of network devices. The main goal is to ensure network infrastructure downtime is reduced as much as possible and devices are functioning correctly.

As businesses more frequently find themselves adopting tech solutions for their organization, shifting their data to the cloud, and embracing IoT tech for their processes, the importance of network management has become more pronounced than ever.

It will soon no longer be the case—and arguably already is—that a company can function without comprehensive IT capabilities. Even small brick-and-mortar stores increasingly need to take advantage of modern tech to remain competitive.

The more businesses find themselves making these implementations, the more there is to manage, and in turn the more important network management becomes.

What Are the Key Aspects Network Management?

Administration

Network administration refers to the operational aspect of the network and ensuring everything runs smoothly for end users.

While the term is somewhat broad, it is typically meant as a high-level task for network management overall, specifically with regard to how devices under network interact with each other.

This often means a lot of focus on the configuration of the company’s local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) to make sure devices can communicate with as little interference as possible.

For very small businesses, network administrators often act as the person in charge of network management as a whole, and their responsibilities will likely extend to other components, too.

Maintenance

Network maintenance is all about monitoring and troubleshooting IT issues.

This means configuring software and hardware—including servers for businesses with on-premises hardware.

Maintenance requires the use of tools to spot and address bottlenecks in system performance. These tools analyze aspects like network traffic, lag and delays, and bandwidth usage in order to establish the cause of slowdowns so they can be identified and fixed.

IT staff will also maintain your network by making sure that your current systems have been correctly scaled to handle your operations—do you have the server power you need to function?

They will additionally schedule necessary patches and updates to keep efficiency high, as well as maintain internal IT compliance and proactive monitoring to catch network deficiencies before they have the chance to cause a more serious issue.

What Is Network Management?

Provisioning 

Provisioning refers to getting a device ready for use in the business network.

This will typically mean making sure that each device has the correct app clients and necessary security protocols that are required by the company’s network policy.

As the number of devices under company networks expands, the importance of correctly provisioning becomes more apparent.

For a small business, IT staff might be comfortable provisioning devices manually, but modern automated tech makes this aspect of the job significantly easier.

When administrators have tools that allow automated provisioning, they can setup workflows that automatically push updates to new devices or push updates en masse for existing devices.

This means a lot of time saved for IT workers, particularly for businesses that deal with a lot devices under their network or that frequently cycle through new devices.

Security

Network security management is crucial today. Security management lets the administrator oversee all security protocols for a network from a central location—even if there are multiple offices or remote workers.

The ubiquity of remote workers has made security management of out-of-office devices an increasingly important component of network management.

For a business today, the most important aspects of network security management will include establishing a company-wide security policy and enforcing it (including authentication and access to data), mitigating threats with monitoring solutions, and configuring VPNs for safe, remote access to data.

Why Should You Evaluate Your Network Management Capabilities?

If you’re unsure of where you stand with your network management, you’re not the first and certainly won’t be the last. 2020 changed the game for a lot of businesses from an operational standpoint when it comes to their networks.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology is the beating heart of any modern business—maintaining its health and ensuring its smooth operation and capacity to meet your demands is as important as any organizational function.

Whether it’s making sure there are as few slowdowns as possible, safeguarding your devices and the data that flows through them, or just getting a firmer grasp on monitoring your network; the uses and importance of network management is more significant than ever.

At Impact, we recommend businesses get a quality assessment of their IT capabilities. This is the first step in understanding what strategy to build and what to implement to get to where you want to be.

To learn more, check out our IT & Cloud page and discover how Impact approaches network management programs with clients.

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