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Network Management 101: Where To Start

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Your company's network management plan is a crucial part of protecting your network infrastructure, data, and operations. Unfortunately, many business owners don't give network management the attention that it deserves, which can leave their infrastructure vulnerable. Whether you're setting up a new network or you're just looking to establish sound management practices, there are some things that you should consider as you build your plan for comprehensive network management. Here's a look at some of the key elements.

Know What You Have

The first part of a network management plan should include a solid inventory of your equipment. Make sure that you know exactly what equipment your company has, where it is installed, and who is responsible for it. As the equipment is retired and replaced, have a system in place for routine updates to this inventory. You should even include a tracking system, such as asset tags or barcodes to help you keep a record of your infrastructure.

Know How It Works

Another key element to your network infrastructure is knowing exactly how your network operates. You should have a team dedicated to monitoring your network activity, performance, and response. These team members should be able to quickly identify and respond to any potential issues while also taking the necessary steps to protect the rest of the network when required.

Know What It Needs

You also need to be sure that you know, at a glance, what your network will need and when it will need it. While you can't always avoid issues, staying on top of the equipment aging reports, monitoring technology upgrades, and watching trends in equipment issues can help you to identify when components of your network infrastructure may age out and need to be replaced.

Know It Is Secure

Finally, your network management plan should include measures to keep your data secure from potential intrusion. Firewalls to prevent outside access, data encryption to reduce the risk of breaches, and other key security measures should be standard as part of your network management plan. 

You should also include user-side security measures, such as preventing personal devices from connecting to the network, requiring password changes periodically, and other key considerations.

These are some of the most important elements of comprehensive network management. Work with a network management specialist to create the plan that's right for your business. Then, you can work with your IT staff to implement and enforce the plan that you've established.