Part of our Managed IT Services offering – Network Management is more than just cables, switches and WiFi. Network Management encompasses 5 key areas, when properly implemented help us to correct issues and minimize downtime, ensuring your systems and devices work consistently and correctly.
Our Network Management strategies are based on the ISO Telecommunications Management Network model known as FCAPS which we have adapted for use within small to medium organisations. We believe this allows us to provide enterprise level service whilst maintaining affordability through the Managed Service Provider model.
5 Functions of Network Management
- Configuration Management. It’s fairly safe to say some of you reading this would know the password to your WiFi right? Even if you didn’t there’d be someone in your office that did. But what if the device providing that WiFi signal failed? For network devices to do what they are supposed to do they need to be configured – in basic terms, told what to do.
We provide Configuration Management as a means monitor and document the network and its hardware configurations. We provision, maintain, organise and update the configuration information for both the network and its devices, including:
- Router, Switch, Modem, WiFi & Firewall Configuration – these devices provide internal LAN (Local Area Network), WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) & external WAN (Wide Area Network/Internet) communications.
- Host Configuration – which determines how your computers connect to each other, your internal servers and the internet
- Software Configuration – keeping track of the credentials used and required for network connections and network based software
This information is referred to when a network or one of its devices needs to be upgraded, modified or repaired – which helps return a network to its pre-failure state quickly, minimizing downtime.
- Administration. It’s something as a business owner you do every day for your business, but who looks after your network? What is network administration? For us network administration is administering your network users with passwords & permissions, ensuring staff not only have access to what they need to do their job, but also restricting that access to your specific requirements. Network administration is also ensuring new starters have access provided and leavers have their access removed when exiting the organisation.
We also create, maintain and implement a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery plan, and manage the equipment and software that generates these backups. This is all done so we can accurately service you as a client when you contact us for support as well as confidently restore your systems if an unplanned incident occurs.
- Security Management. The cybersecurity risks of today can seem perilous, from phishing attempts, malware to crypto-locker ransomware. Malicious actors are constantly and repeatedly attempting to hijack your data, or worse hold it for ransom. This is why security management is a crucial part of network management.
Our main goals of security management are to prevent, detect and respond to emerging security threats, since complete prevention is not possible a fast response is absolutely essential. This can be achieved by following industry best practices as well as using multiple security tools and systems such as:
- Firewalls. These are physical devices that we install to act as a gateway, they use a set of security rules to permit or block data coming and going from the network. Unlike a basic router traffic can be managed based on content type using features like Deep Packet Inspection.
- Email and Spam Filtering. Stops un-solicited potentially malicious emails from even hitting your mailbox. Messages are also scanned for viruses and malware, protecting against attacks. Email and Spam filtering can be included in our Managed IT Service offerings or purchased separately depending on the needs of your organisation.
- Antivirus Software. Used to prevent, detect and remove software viruses from network devices. Included in our base Managed IT Service offerings.
- Intrusion Detection Systems. Used to monitor and report on suspicious access attempts and other malicious activity.
- Physical & Device Security. Everything from physical device removal prevention, like a lock to and cable to secure laptops to hard disk encryption preventing access if a laptop is lost or stolen.
These tools and systems help authenticate, encrypt, authorise and monitor traffic flowing within as well as in and out of your network. Policies can be implemented to prevent users from gaining access to sensitive information as well as prevent unauthorised access from malicious actors.
- Performance Management. More of a concern in larger environments however still relevant within smaller organisations, Performance Management involves monitoring the efficiency of your network, specifically using SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) looking at metrics like throughput, uptime and downtime, error rates, percentage utilization, response time, and latency.
Our remote monitoring and management system can monitor devices such as managed switches, WiFi access points and firewalls allowing us to identify and respond to issues as well as recommend upgrades when devices reach their use-by date. Additionally if a device or computer is compromised its performance is 9 times out 10 degraded and can be identified, isolated and corrected before it causes further issues.
- Fault Management. When something does go wrong we use the data gathered from the previous 4 steps to identify and correct the issue. Documentation from the configuration as well as performance data plays a role in correctly identifying the cause of your issues so that our rectification is targeted and accurate.
We document our fixes as well so that if the issue arises again, be it for you or any of our other customers, we can correctly and quickly take the required steps to get you back online and working as soon as possible.