What Is a Network Management System?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 18, 2021

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Network management can be an important part of creating an efficient and secure workplace. If you are a network administrator or IT professional, network management systems might be one of the most important tools you have when trying to improve the performance, maintenance and security of your network. In this article, we describe the role of network management systems, explore how they operate, list the services they provide and explain the benefits that they can give to your business.

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What is a network management system?

A network management system is a framework for managing the hardware and software components of a company's data network. It allows an administrator to monitor all parts of the network from a central server, and can help optimize the performance of a network and improve its security. Network management systems are often most helpful in overseeing large networks that include hundreds or thousands of separate components.

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What are the benefits of network management systems?

Network management systems may give a business the following advantages:

  • Lowers costs: Network management systems can help to lower hiring and payroll costs by enabling a single administrator, or a small team of IT professionals, to manage an entire network.

  • Increases network performance: Many network management systems collect and aggregate data network performance and often offer options for improving it.

  • Saves time: A network management system can help a company save time by allowing each member of a team to access data from their workstations. Administrators can decide what level of access each employee requires.

  • Increases productivity: A network management system can immediately report any malfunction to the administrator, which can help them fix any issues quickly. This can keep productivity from slowing down and prevent data loss.

  • Improves security: Administrators may be able to tackle security threats more quickly if they have a network management system that automatically reports any breach.

  • Facilitates device integration: Network administration systems can ensure that hardware and software from different vendors operate effectively together.

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Types of network management systems

Network management systems come in several configurations, including cloud-based, onsite and offsite. Here are descriptions of these three types of network management systems:

Cloud-based

Some companies choose to purchase their network management systems as cloud-based services. Cloud-based systems often offer the advantage of lower costs since they don't require the company to invest in onsite servers. They can also allow IT personnel to access their services wherever they are and may allow the provider to send automatic updates and extensions to their network when required.

Onsite

A business may choose to base its network management system on its premises. These may have higher startup costs but often offer improved security. Onsite servers also often provide much better performance for large networks, while requiring extensive maintenance from company personnel.

Offsite

An enterprise may choose to locate its network management services in an offsite data facility. This may allow the company to save money by avoiding the cost of installing and maintaining onsite servers. It may also provide increased performance for large networks, but may not be as secure as onsite data storage.

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How network management systems work

Network management systems streamline the operations of a company's network by connecting all of its components, such as computers routers, cameras, switches, sensors and software applications. These components then provide information to the system which collects the data in a central server where network administrators can access it. Some of the components of network management systems are:

Network automation

This is often the primary function of a network management system. Network automation allows testing, configuring and managing of all devices in the network to happen automatically by software applications instead of being carried out manually. This can be very important for large networks with many separate components, providing consistency and agility and decreasing labor.

Network monitoring

Network monitoring is another vital task for most network management systems. It is the process of collecting data from a network's components and sending it to the administrative server. If any component in the network malfunctions or is nearing capacity, the network administrator can receive a notification and address the problem.

Device detection

Sometimes IT personnel may add new devices or components to a network. A network management system with device detection can locate these new elements and integrate them into the network. This feature can also configure devices to operate efficiently with other components.

Performance analysis

Many network management systems monitor their network's performance over time and compare it to its current metrics. They can send these reports to network administrators and might offer strategies to increase performance if it is declining. Some systems may also recommend additional devices or components to optimize the network's functions.

Fault management:

Fault management is an important part of maintaining data security and preventing network disruption. If any part of the network fails, the fault management system can often reroute traffic away from the faulty component. This can help avoid any loss of data or productivity.

Data backup

Data loss can be a major disruption for companies with extensive networks. To prevent this, many network management systems have the ability to automatically duplicate data on backup servers. They can often restore information from these services as required.

Security management

Many network management systems also have the ability to protect their networks from outside security threats. They can ensure that any breaches in security immediately trigger notifications to the administrator. Some systems may also be able to suspend certain activity in case of security breaches.

Traffic management

In order for large networks to operate effectively, administrators often have to ensure that none of their components are under too much stress. Network management systems can often prevent this by distributing traffic evenly throughout the network's elements. Many systems also have the ability to prevent failure by by diverting traffic through other systems.

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