Network configuration tools can help manage the entire life cycle of network devices' configuration management. They enable IT admins to execute network operations remotely and securely with their automation and change management capabilities.
Network configuration tools can help IT admins with everyday configuration management tasks remotely. Additionally, these tools can help generate reports on the operations below, helping organizations become audit-ready. Some prominent capabilities of network automation tools include:
Configuration backup is a vital operation in configuration management. Traditionally, IT admins must copy configuration files manually and create a backup repository with each device's configuration file. These backups can be used whenever there is an issue in the network due to a faulty change. But when the number of devices increases, making manual backups consumes a lot of time, and admins could also miss some devices.
With a network configuration tool, admins can seamlessly perform backups of multiple devices simultaneously. Additionally, network configuration tools save different versions of stored files, helping admins build a repository of configuration files. These tools also come with upload capabilities; whenever a configuration change goes wrong, an admin can restore the network by simply uploading an earlier version of the device configuration.
In organizations where the network is managed by multiple network operators, the configuration change mechanism has to be streamlined. Network admins have to be notified when a change is made, and for critical devices like core routers and firewalls, admins have to review configuration changes before they're applied to devices.
Network configuration tools not only enable network admins to keep track of all configuration changes, but also facilitate complete control over what changes are being made to all the devices in the network.
Some network tasks, like changing passwords or enabling/disabling the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), have to be performed repetitively in most business network infrastructure. There are several other complex, time-consuming network operations that must be performed repetitively as well, leading to the risk of manual errors that could potentially bring the network down.
Admins can automate these repetitive tasks using configuration script templates in network configuration tools. This can help save a lot of time, and bring down the chances of errors to a minimum.
Compliance has always been a challenge for businesses. Non-compliance to industry standards can result in the network being compromised, or the business paying huge fines.
Checking individual configurations for compliance to industry standards requires human resources allocated to it exclusively. Additionally, when the network configuration goes through certain changes, the number of compliance checks to be performed increases exponentially, and the changes have to be checked for compliance before being applied to the devices.
Most network configuration tools come with built-in compliance management capabilities for industry standards. They also enable admins to create custom policies for internal compliance checks to help check the compliance status of the entire network, remediate violations, and generate reports all within a few minutes.
It's critical to monitor network device firmware for vulnerabilities. A device running on a vulnerable firmware version can cause problems ranging from network latency to ransomware attacks, so, it's crucial for admins to perform regular scans and update firmware whenever updates are available.
Scans can be performed quickly with network configuration tools. They compare firmware versions with the ones that have reported vulnerabilities, and alert admins to take necessary action. Network configuration tools also help network admins remotely upgrade firmware, minimizing the chances of attacks that result from firmware vulnerabilities.
Apart from all the above capabilities, the entire process of network configuration management requires numerous reports to be maintained and analyzed. This helps network admins analyze the network from time to time, and identify anomalies.
With these tools, admins can readily generate reports for compliance, configuration changes, device inventory, firmware vulnerabilities, and many more key network parameters to help keep networks secure and audit-ready.
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