What is network management? 10 steps for getting started

5 min

What is network management? In short, it ensures all network resources are available and working well, efficiently, and ready for use. Generally, if you’re an MSP or Sys Admin, you must ensure your networks run smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, effective network management is essential to reach these goals. 

Moreover, This activity can help improve productivity, reduce downtime, and protect against security threats.

Let’s dive deeper into what network management is.

What is network management?

The short version understands the network as an entity in itself. Basically, a network is the sum of applications, tools, and processes used to provision, operate, maintain, administer and secure network infrastructure. The main network management activity is to ensure network resources are made available to users efficiently, effectively, and quickly. Most people use a network monitoring tool to help them to be more efficient. 

Many network management platforms started as a way to control LANs but extended their capabilities into SD-WAN, security, and IoT. The most effective tools and software combine devices and sensors into a single view of network traffic, making it easy for IT to monitor, protect, and remediate performance issues.

Did you know that you can easily manage your networks with Domotz network monitoring software

Benefits of network management

Now that we’ve covered “what is network management,” let’s look at the benefits. 

By creating a strategy and adopting the right tool, you can achieve specific objectives like:

  • Minimizes Costly Network Disruptions: With effective network management, you can reduce downtime by proactively monitoring your network and addressing issues before they become serious problems. Network disruptions are expensive. Businesses experience thousands and millions of dollars in losses after just an hour of downtime. For example, if you’re a business that serves customer networks, those who experience network disruptions too often might consider jumping ship. It’s pretty evident that fewer network disruptions and downtown is better for everyone. 
  • Improved Productivity: Another point to consider is how network management increases productivity.  Network management does multiple jobs simultaneously by studying and monitoring every aspect of the network. With that, IT staff are freed from repetitive everyday routines and can focus on the more strategic aspects of their job. For instance, when your network runs smoothly, your employees can access the resources they need to do their jobs more efficiently, increasing productivity.
  • Improved Network Security: An effective network management program can identify and respond to cyber threats such as unauthorized access or malware before they spread and impact user experience. For that reason, network management ensures best practice standards and compliance with regulatory requirements. 
  • Improved Network Performance: Eventually, effective network management provides a comprehensive view of your infrastructure’s performance. This means you are in a better position to identify, analyze and fix issues faster.

Overall, effective network management is crucial for any organization that relies on a network to communicate and access data.

How does Network Management work?

Let’s move on to the next topic of how it works. Network management is the process of managing and maintaining the operation of a computer network. Basically, it involves various tasks, including monitoring network performance, configuring network devices, and troubleshooting issues.

Network management uses several tools and techniques, such as monitoring software, which helps administrators track network performance in real-time. Configuration management tools allow administrators to configure and manage network devices, such as routers and switches.

Additionally, network management protocols, such as SNMP, are used to communicate between network devices and the system. This allows Sys Admin to access and manage network devices remotely.

Overall, network management helps ensure that a network is running smoothly and efficiently and can help identify and resolve any issues that may arise. It’s an essential aspect of maintaining the reliability and performance of a computer network.

Challenges of network management

Regardless, network managers face several challenges in today’s complex and constantly evolving networking environments. Some of these challenges include, for instance

  • Managing complexity: As networks grow and become more complex, it becomes increasingly more work for network managers to keep track of all the devices, connections, and configurations. This can lead to errors, security vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies.
  • Security: Network security is a significant concern for all organizations, and network managers must constantly monitor and update their networks to protect against cyber threats. This includes implementing security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption.
  • Performance: Network performance is critical for the smooth operation of any organization, and this includes identifying and addressing bottlenecks, latency issues, and other performance problems.
  • Budget constraints: Sys Admin and MSPs often have to work within tight budgets, making it challenging to implement new technologies or upgrade existing infrastructure.

10 simple steps to manage a network

Like all important activities, to correctly manage networks, firstly, you should create a mini checklist to start on the right foot. This will allow you to verify that all the basic steps are respected.

  1. Identify your network infrastructure
  2. Set up the network infrastructure
  3. Configure network security
  4. Monitor network performance
  5. Set up remote access
  6. Keep your network up to date
  7. Choose the best network monitoring tools
  8. Document your network
  9. Set up network backups
  10. Stay organized

1. Identify your network infrastructure

Firstly, list all the devices connected to your network, including servers, routers, switches, and endpoints such as computers and mobile devices. Domotz network topology feature would automatically plot the endpoints and structure of your networks. We will provide you with an intuitive and easy-to-navigate map. Discover how devices are connected in a blink of an eye and instantly detect if something changes on your networks thanks to real-time email and push notification alerts.

2. Set up the network infrastructure

Secondly, ensure each device on your network has a unique IP address. This will make it easier to identify and manage devices. This includes installing and configuring the necessary hardware and software, such as routers, switches, and networking cables.

3. Configure network security

Moving on, set up security measures to protect the network from unauthorized access and threats, such as firewalls and antivirus software. Automatically scans networks for security vulnerabilities with network security scans.

4. Monitor network performance

Monitoring and maintaining the network are two essential activities. Regularly check the network’s performance and address any issues, such as network outages or security breaches. Our software allows you to constantly monitor the device’s response time, receive alerts on device response time and initiate real-time pings.

5. Set up remote access

If you need to access your network from outside your office, set up remote access using a VPN on demand or other secure methods. You can simply use VPN on Demand to convert the Domotz agent to a VPN Server allowing direct access to all devices on the remote network via your computer with a VPN Client.

6. Keep your network up to date

With this in mind, it is important to regularly update your network devices’ firmware and install security patches to keep your network secure.

7. Choose the best network monitoring tools

Use network monitoring tools to monitor your network, identify issues, and troubleshoot in real-time at the network and device level. Rely on SNMP resource usage monitoring, device response time monitoring, device statistics, TCP service monitoring, and unique integrations to be on top of every device that matters to you and get alerted when a problem occurs.

8. Document your network

Get reporting on data like network and device performance, user activity logging, and much more in an automated or on-demand monthly report.

9. Set up network backups

Make sure you have a backup plan if something goes wrong with your network. For instance, this might include backing up data to a remote location or using a cloud-based backup service.

10. Stay organized

To conclude, keep track of all your network documentation and logs in one place, and ensure all team members have access to this information.

Continually improve your network management activity

Whether you’re just learning how to manage a network or are managing a new one, following our essential 10 simple steps will let you hit the ground running. 

In conclusion, make network management easier with Domotz’s network monitoring and management software. Our Software gives you the big picture, visibility, and control you need to monitor your networks and all related processes. Be more competitive, increase productivity, cut costs, prevent disasters, troubleshoot with intelligence, and complete your cybersecurity offer.

Sign up for a free trial and find out how Domotz’s software provides the network monitoring and management capabilities your network needs.

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