To achieve the network performance your business needs now and going forward, consider implementing these nine best practices:
1 Plan for continued bandwidth growth
The embrace of 5G mobility, the internet of things (IoT), video conferencing, collaboration tools, etc., means network bandwidth demand will keep growing. You’ll need to anticipate and budget accordingly.
2 Baseline your network and cloud services
When cloud migrations encompass traffic from beyond your own network, performance can suffer. So take the time to baseline both cloud applications and underlying network performance levels to define what your new normal actually is.
3 Embed security into your network’s design
You can no longer afford to treat network security as an afterthought. Instead, you need to embed security into your network’s design. Then, ensure rigorously management of network security with consistently enforced policies.
This begins at the network edge and network endpoints, where users and devices – including mobile and IoT devices – seek network access and can best be identified, authenticated, and authorized.
4 Monitor your network
You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken – or about to break. And you won’t know unless you constantly monitor your network. The right network monitoring capabilities can spot and respond to a wide range of problem precursors, preventing them from harming network performance and network security.
5 Segment your network
The more your network links your operations, employees, suppliers, and customers, the more it’s exposed to security threats. By segmenting your network, you can help prevent attacks on one segment from spreading to others.
6 Embrace the virtualized, software-centric network
Using software to virtualize systems and functions saves on everything from hardware to resource management to power consumption – and it enables automation of key business functions.
Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), for instance, simplifies segmenting your network. SD-WAN also enables new levels of network visibility and eases applying network-wide security policies.
Network performance management and application performance management technologies, meanwhile, can reduce the real-time gap between an event and when it appears on your dashboard, speeding proactive resolution of application and network performance issues.
7 Commit to real-time network analytics
Network analytics engines can identify redundancies and misapplication of resources and power centralized control of functions like security patching, managing software updates and upgrades, and overseeing device lifecycles.
8 Use proof-of-concept network strategies
Requiring proof of concept when procuring/configuring your network can prevent problems and mismatches that impact network performance and/or network security.
9 Consider managed network services
As networks become increasingly complex and the number of connected devices mushrooms, you may be able to save time, money, and hassle by outsourcing network management to a service provider with the right range of offerings, notably cloud services, security services, and leading-edge network monitoring and management services.
In my next post, I’ll review what to look for in a managed network services provider.