A common component of small networks is the interoperability of networking equipment from multiple suppliers. Service reliability for business applications depends on more than just the reliability of individual devices, and must be measured on an end to end basis.
According to Todd Anscombe, Gen-i Managing Principal of Networks and Security, when considering technologies for linking your office locations via Internet, there are significant trade-offs between cost, bandwidth, complexity, and service quality.
“For multi-site businesses, it is critical to do a thorough analysis of your business applications, and understand the flow of traffic across your business. Understanding your network capacity arms you with knowledge to ensure that critical workflows are not impacted by bandwidth congestion or latency, and that appropriate measures are put into place to give key applications priority.”
Across the business, the selection of specific Internet access technologies and speeds will often depend on the availability, accessibility and cost of services. Large organisations often find themselves with a complicated design that facilitates multiple technologies into a single network, involving telecommunications providers, multiple brands of WAN, LAN and Wireless network equipment.
Keeping the entire system running smoothly requires sophisticated monitoring tools that can monitor services across the end-to-end system, and highly skilled networking specialists able to unravel the complex interactions between systems.
It is also critical to test your network infrastructure performance, in terms of both traffic performance and security compliance. Gaps in network and application security can potentially be used to degrade network and application performance, causing disruptions by overloading capacity at choke points.
From a risk management perspective, it is important to schedule regular business continuity testing in conjunction with proactive asset management approach. Equipment that is becoming difficult to support, or has reached end of life, can significantly elevate risk in the event of a serious outage or security incident.
Anscombe states, “Equipment failures are just one type of problem you need to consider. Understanding traffic types and their effects both internal and external to your network is just as critical to ensure that key business applications are not effected and employee productivity is hindered. Proactive network monitoring and capacity planning are critical processes that need to occur on a continuous basis, to ensure predictable utility grades of service for your business applications.”