Computer networks sound so intimidating and so complex, and that is probably because they are. Years ago, in the dawn of the computer age, the number of components in a system were limited and so managing errors, breakdowns and misdirected traffic was simpler. Today, however, computer systems have hundreds if not thousands of components, each with the potential of failing and taking the system down. That is bad news for a business that depends upon computer technology to source its materials, create and market its product, communicate with consumers and monitor statistics such as quality control and sales.
The real question is, what is network management? Network Management is the term given to the task of monitoring and proactively managing those components to make certain they are running, and running efficiently. Network management can be divided into five areas, each addressing a different system component.
This is just what it sounds like: assessing the different parts of a network such as routers, links and hosts among other things. Links can break, routers stop working or work intermittently, hosts can misdirect traffic, software and hardware can fail to interface correctly, all affecting the operation of a system. The performance manager monitors and addresses network system problems including increased demand.
This is like performance management, except that while performance management is concerned with the combined performance of all components to create working systems, fault management looks at individual components of the system such as the routers and broken links.
This procedure identifies which devices are using a managed network including hardware and software.
Accounting management tracks things like user statistics and allocation of resources to individual users, monitor and assess charges and do like tasks.
Security management monitors, identifies and controls access to the networks, using firewalls and other tools.
According to Forbes, more than 56 percent of the world now has access to the Internet. Every minute, Americans send 188,000,000 emails and more than 18,000,000 text messages and perform more than four-and-a-half million Google searches. There are more than 400,000 apps downloaded each minute. All of this usage is in addition to the Internet tools that monitor and process business information, program manufacturing robots, control quality and other aspects of industry. Nearly every part of society has been computerized from stoplights to surgery. Efficient use of those systems is obviously important, and obviously complex. Along with finding and solving issues, network management keeps track of performance, monitors efficiency and identifies potential for breakdowns in systems that could cripple a business operating system.
All network management tools are not the same. To be truly effective, the system tools should automate manual procedures in business systems, allow administrators to monitor the tasks in real time, be inclusive and sufficient to support several clients and they should integrate with other computer tools so that operations don’t have to be segregated to function.
Successful businesses are those which have identified good network management systems and have set them in place as integral parts of business operations.
Russell Smith is an experienced chartered accountant with over a decade of experience running his own business.