What Is Network Maintenance?
Network maintenance constitutes all the tasks and systems in place to monitor, update and run your organization’s computer network before problems strike.
That “network” itself involves your entire portfolio of physical IT assets, like the hardware and servers, and non-physical IT assets, like the software and cloud access — also known as your IT ecosystem.
Similar to other business functions, a healthy IT ecosystem relies on daily activities and strategics. The basis of a successful regular network maintenance plan — typically include the following:
● Network cybersecurity: Implementing robust and up-to-date network defense layers, such as traffic-managing firewalls, virtual private networks, user access controls, double authentication measures, log inspections for usage documentation, real-time breach notifications and auto-generated security reports.
● Network performance: Analyzing top network performance concerns influencing the speed and reliability of your devices, including bandwidth usage, traffic patterns, bottlenecks, frequently down or crashed servers, connection lags, delays and more.
● Network scalability: Ensuring proper software and hardware systems fitting your current operations, number of network users, endpoint locations and businesses functions.
● Regular hardware and software updates: Scheduling updates prorated across network components and interfaces, which in turn bolsters both a network’s overall performance and security defenses.
● IT infrastructure compliance: Maintaining internal compliance with company practices as well as external government regulations and industry policies.
● Preemptive network repairs: Using auto-generated reports and analytics to spot and patch usage problems across the IT ecosystem before they turn existential.
Sometimes your network requires a little extra assistance to avoid problems. While there are some preventative maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to minimize network downtime, you may find that you need to pair your efforts with those of the experts to keep your operations running smoothly on a daily basis.
Well-maintained networks encounter fewer problems and are much easier to troubleshoot than those left without consistent upkeep. To ensure that you don’t find yourself running with faulty settings, risking damage to both software and hardware over time, you will need to clean up your network regularly. That is where network maintenance comes in, and it is often most effective through a comprehensive third-party platform, like our network maintenance plan.
Who Conducts Network Maintenance?
Today, there are three primary approaches to overseeing network maintenance:
● Internal IT staff: In-house IT employees manage top-down network devices, security defenses, traffic monitoring, data storage and retrieval, hardware health, user controls, compliance, scalability and more on-site within your business’ premise, with peripheral assistance from original equipment manufacturers.
● Original equipment manufacturers (OEM): Pieces of software, as well as your network’s wider operating system, will often come with a maintenance contract delivered by the OEM. OEMs are in a prime position to deliver maintenance tenets, such as system updates, performance audits and smooth installation and integration, though they may not offer the most robust or cost-effective total preventative care. Examples of some of today’s top OEMs for software and hardware include IBM, Cisco, Dell, etc.
● Third-party maintenance (TPM): Third-party maintenance plans provide an outsourced alternative to shouldering end-to-end IT systems and equipment, alleviating several concerns around managing your entire IT infrastructure on your own while juggling industry changes or disruptions. They also tend to provide more detailed, personalized maintenance packages compared to an OEM’s.
The scale of your organization, the capabilities of your IT staff and your budget will be major variables in determining if a traditionally in-house, outsourced or hybrid approach works best for the health of your IT infrastructure.