Written by: Daniel Haurey on 05/09/24

Many aspects of technology are innovative and exciting. Network management is not one of those.

But, while less than intriguing, network management is a critical element of a reliable, secure, and optimized IT infrastructure – when management is lax, problems tend to multiply.

Network management is needed for organizations to identify devices connected to the network, monitor traffic and usage, control performance, and identify then troubleshoot network issues – preferably before those concerns escalate into full-blown problems. With a clear line of sight into your organization’s network, you can optimize that environment for performance, maintain high levels of security, and prevent disruptions.

Network management is a broad term that covers everything from monitoring and troubleshooting your network to changing settings and completing upgrades. A network is made up of several components, including routers, cables, switches, servers, applications, protocols, and operating systems – all of which communicate with each other to keep data flowing. Effective network management is defined by regularly monitoring the components of a network for potential problems and taking steps to prevent or resolve them.  

Who Handles Network Management?

For organizations partnering with a managed IT services provider (MSP), network monitoring and management is a key benefit of your managed services agreement. MSPs typically leverage sophisticated software tools to monitor performance and network analytics, support network optimization, deploy patches and updates, and watch for early signs of disruption.

Why do many organizations outsource network management? It can be a time-consuming, expensive endeavor. Plus, skilled staff and the right tools are must-haves for effective management. Survey results from Auvik, a cloud-based network monitoring vendor, reveal that IT professionals consider network support a top priority. That same survey also revealed that on average, nearly half of those IT teams were working with a least 10 network tools as part of that management task; with government organizations leveraging more than 20 tools. That tool sprawl is one clear example of the complexity of network management, and why many businesses simply can’t hire the right or enough tech talent to effectively handle that task.

How Does Network Management Work?

According to Kaseya, an IT management and automation vendor that supports MSPs, three primary tasks comprise effective network management:

  • Configuration management:  Ensures devices on the network are properly configured and compatible.
  • Traffic monitoring: Tracking network traffic and usage patterns to identify potential problems.
  • Security management: Protecting the network and data within it from unauthorized access or attacks.

By proactively monitoring and managing your network, often with an MSP partner, businesses can avoid common problems that can derail productivity and operations.

Next Steps: Network Performance Management

Beyond monitoring and managing the network at a comprehensive level, many organizations have a parallel focus on monitoring and managing the performance aspect of the network. The goal of that effort is to improve the efficiency of the network. As discussed before, a network has multiple components, and the seamless flow of data among those is what enables employees to access company resources and customers to interact with your business network.

An efficient network depends on identifying potential roadblocks, remediating those situations, and optimizing resource usage. Additionally, a network performance strategy must include tracking and tweaking the network for user needs and trends. Neglecting any aspect of network management can result in downtime and disruptions, which can have a detrimental impact on productivity, customer service, revenue, and reputation.

Benefits Of Network and Network Performance Management

When skilled professionals oversee network management, organizations enjoy better ROI on technology investments, as well as several other benefits:

  • Improved Visibility: By identifying devices connected to the network, monitoring traffic and usage patterns, and identifying and fixing potential problems, your organization will enjoy optimized performance and fewer operational disruptions.
  • Minimized Disruptions: Outages are costly, so by proactively managing the network, organizations can maintain higher levels of productivity and better service customers, all while meeting production goals.
  • Network Security: Sophisticated network monitoring is essential to cybersecurity since monitoring unusual access or activity is the first step to detecting and quickly responding to threats.
  • Optimized Network Performance: With proper IT infrastructure management and close analysis of network performance metrics such as latency and throughput, organizations can address performance issues before they cause problems and deliver a better user experience.

Gain a Network Management Advantage with MSPs

When it comes to network performance and management, reputable MSPs will have a seamless process that involves tools built for just that purpose. Because they are responsible for monitoring and managing hundreds of networks, you gain the advantage of a team well-versed in the process and with the proper skills to deliver high levels of effectiveness with network optimization.  An MSP staff is comprised of the best network engineers, with hundreds of years of combined experience across a wide variety of configurations.

MSPs leverage tools created for managed services, including network monitoring and management solutions, and their teams excel at using that tech to keep customer networks working at peak efficiency by following network best practices. MSP customers gain the knowledge, experience, and advanced toolsets of their MSP, all without hiring and managing an in-house IT team. Given the fast pace of technology, the impact of remote and hybrid work on networks, and the increasing pressure of cybersecurity, it’s not surprising that many businesses can’t find or afford the necessary resources to keep their network running smoothly, making it more and more common to engage an MSP to manage and optimize their network.

To learn more about Exigent’s three-tier Assurance Managed Services solution, which includes network monitoring and management, schedule your consultation today.