Challenges in network management

With the pandemic drastically changing how networks are managed, it is important for network administrators to adapt. With networks now spanning across on-premises infrastructures, remote IT environments, datacenters across continents, virtual networks, and cloud architectures, effective network management has become more challenging than ever.

However, network administrators are still expected to ensure uninterrupted uptime, optimal performance, and high quality of service, all the while adapting to changing technologies and networking needs. Here are five common challenges network admins are currently facing:

  • Adapting to hybrid networking demands
  • Understanding network needs and strategic planning
  • Reinforcing security and reliability of dynamic networks
  • Eliminating network blind spots and visualizing the IT infrastructure
  • Establishing a network management strategy that automates, connects, and integrates

Adapting to hybrid networking demands

The flexibility, resilience, and scalability aspects of hybrid networking has accelerated many organizations' shift towards this model. With hybrid networks, newer networking models such as cloud services have become an integral part of organization networks. Satisfying the needs and challenges of these networking models can be difficult without the right management tools in place.

By supporting hybrid networking, the influx of networking devices, including end-user devices, servers, and routers, has increased the number of tedious processes network admins have to deal with. They now have to identify, authenticate, and configure networking devices, set performance baselines for them, troubleshoot them, and more. On top of this, network admins also need to continuously monitor and reduce their network's risk vector, reinforce network security, ensure uninterrupted service availability, and enable optimal performance.

This raises the need for a comprehensive, agile, and customizable network management solution that offers complete control over their network. This solution should be able to offer a centralized view into their cloud environments and the on-premises IT infrastructure, including data centers. The network management solution should also offer enough capabilities to automate network discovery, execute process flows triggered by predefined events, and identify emerging network issues. This helps network admins skip the hassle of using different management solutions for different infrastructures and unify their network management efforts.

Strategic planning with understanding of network loads and requirements

While newer technologies such as virtualization and SD-WAN offer good scalability and other advanced capabilities, improper implementation can lead to undesired consequences. This includes resource exhaustion in one part of the network while there are idle resources in another. Also, when networks grow, a poor network design and network monitoring strategy can inflate the operating expenses (OpEx) of the network substantially.

For instance, the advances in wireless networking have driven many organizations to integrate Wi-Fi networks as a part of their IT infrastructure. However, without the proper surveying, performance monitoring, and resource load and utilization tracking tools in place, these networks can easily run into network issues, reduced quality of service, and service unavailability to end users. This leads to network admins spending valuable time troubleshooting, purchasing and installing more access points for better coverage, and adding more routers and LAN link cables. This not only increases the cost to procure these components, but also drives up the OpEx.

This is why it is important to build a well-designed network that is continually monitored and is capable of integrating newer technologies into its environments without much hassle. This helps improve network uptime, quality of service, and enhance resource allocation and capacity planning that, in turn, helps bring down OpEx.

Reinforcing security and reliability of dynamic networks

Many organization or enterprise-level networks have reduced the usage of legacy systems and techniques to effectively run their networks. Today, networks are more dynamic and agile, continually evolving to meet business needs. While this offers significant benefits and advanced capabilities to the IT environment, network security has become a major concern.

As networks evolve, the way they are managed also needs to evolve. Depending on age-old techniques such as manual data collection, updates, and processing is not just tedious, but prone to human error. Network admins need to reduce the margin for error with automations and other advanced data collection and update capabilities.

Network administrators also need effective network management solutions in place to reinforce network security. Solutions that help automate configuration rollouts and backups, enable comprehensive VPN monitoring, carry out security audits, identify rogue devices, and analyze firewall logs are important to reduce the network' s security risk vector.

Eliminating network blind spots and visualizing your IT infrastructure

Enterprises networks span across wired, wireless, on-premises, distributed, and remote environments along with cloud infrastructures. A challenge in effectively managing these networks is the need for centralized visibility. Network admins need to be able to add, configure, map, and troubleshoot their network components through a centralized console. Distributing the network management process only increases the chances of network blind spots and mismanagement.

This makes it important that network admins deploy centralized network management software that offers reliable network mapping and network visualization capabilities. This helps them establish and intuitively understand the logical data flow and connection between disparate network data points, monitor performance, and easily troubleshoot issues by tracking down the root cause.

Network management solutions like OpManager offer diverse network visualization tools such as Business View, Rack View, Floor View, and Layer 2 Maps that offer a centralized approach to better understanding the entire network through the network admin's console.

A network management strategy that automates, connects, and integrates

Network automation has become essential with the increase in monotonous manual tasks. Repetitive tasks that are initiated and carried out based on a predefined set of events and process flows are still done manually. This consumes a significant amount of your IT team's time. To avoid this, IT teams should opt for a network monitoring solution that offers network automation capabilities such as workflows, configuration management, automated configuration backup, and more.

IT teams are now more dispersed than ever. With different individuals or teams working on monitoring, configuring, managing, and troubleshooting an IT infrastructure, it becomes increasingly difficult to gain control over network management processes. Along with that, issues such as security vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and mismanagement become inevitable without the right access controls in place.

This requires IT teams to deploy a network management solution that enables configuring role-based access control to team members and offers an integrated collaborative space that helps them escalate events, assign tickets, and establish task flows. This prevents exposing vulnerable data and allows teams to better communicate, collaborate, and operate while helping you in securing your network management console from unauthorized access.

Tackle the challenges with OpManager! Enable hassle-free network management today

ManageEngine OpManager is an effective network management solution that is trusted by IT teams worldwide. By offering comprehensive insights, automation capabilities, in-depth reports, centralized views, and seamless scalability, it helps organizations easily tackle network management challenges.

Explore OpManager hands on today! Download a free, 30-day trial of OpManager, or dive into the details of how it helps your network by scheduling a live demo with our product experts. Already evaluated OpManager and looking for a price quote? Let us know!

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