In today’s world, there is no business without data networks. In a company, all activities require the flow of information online in some way and, therefore, disruption of the network connection is one of the biggest risks that may interrupt a company’s business operations. Itaito itself has six different network connections, from three different operators to two different data centres. This means that Itaito’s own and customers’ connections are extremely fault-tolerant and free from interruptions. Network services are usually also the first IT activities to be outsourced by companies. Network maintenance is time-consuming and requires a lot of expertise and continuous work.
Losing the network connection with the outside world via the Internet is not the only risk. The building’s internal network may involve risks, too. All it takes is the breakdown of a single component and, at worst, the entire internal network goes down. A company’s network can be seen as a complex puzzle that should always be built by a professional. This saves your nerves, and when something happens, the risks have been considered in advance and their avoidance has been carefully planned and documented. This way, the sudden breakdown of even an important component does not cause any interruption of work from the user’s point of view. And once the company’s network is properly built, it also needs to be documented and maintained, since outdated solutions and components past their warranty period will not take you far.
What are the means that a competent network builder uses to ensure that network connections are always functional and reliable? In this blog, we collected things that every company should take into account in their own network environment.
Not all eggs in one basket
It is clear that if all network connections pass through one single point, the risk is high. It pays off to look critically at the company’s data network from this point of view: what happens if a particular component or node suddenly stops working? Which way does the data go then? If the answer is that nothing will go in any direction anymore, the problem has been located.
Therefore, it is especially important that all critical network equipment in the company is at least duplicated. In practice, this means that there are two of each component and interface, and at best they are even physically located in different places. Example: If there is an accident at the southern end of the building that cuts the fibre connection, for example, it is possible to use another connection at the northern end from another operator. In this case, the end user does not even notice the change, since the company’s IP addresses can be kept the same in the backup connections and the transition takes place in milliseconds.
As a result, your business is no longer dependent on a single access point and will not be affected by the communications problems of an operator, since a backup connection from another operator is in use. Today, mobile networks can also be well used in emergencies. The same applies to each critical component of the internal network: there can be two firewalls and backbone switches.
Duplication is not just for large companies, but equally important and also cost-efficient for small businesses. Costs are generally not an obstacle as they are quite reasonable at a monthly level – especially when compared to how much even a short interruption in data communications costs for the business. Duplicating connections does not mean doubling costs, but doubling peace of mind.
Prevent network breakdowns by virtualisation
It is no longer necessary to purchase each device separately as a physical device. For example, a firewall does not need to be a separate box in an office cabinet, but can be easily virtualised. A virtual firewall is very easy and fast to reinstall or restore from backups if something happens to it. This can significantly reduce the risk of downtime caused by equipment breakdowns, and it is one of the greatest benefits of virtual firewalls against their physical competitors. Obviously, there is also a significant advantage in terms of the affordable operating, maintenance and acquisition costs. The virtualisation of network devices also makes them independent of location: when a device no longer has to be physically in the same place as its users, it can be located anywhere – for example, in the Itaito server room. In this case, we also make sure that all equipment always works correctly. If a physical firewall breaks down in the office, it will inevitably take at several least hours to replace and reconfigure it, probably until the next day. A virtual firewall can also fail, of course, but it is much quicker to repair than a physical firewall. There is a significant difference in terms of the continuity of the company’s business.
Virtualisation and duplication can also be built in such a way that, for example, the company’s internal network functions independently, but all network devices are replicated with a delay of just a few seconds to another network built in the Itaito server room. If something unexpected happens in the company’s own network, traffic can be shifted to Itaito’s network. This ensures, for example, that critical services provided to the company’s own customers on the public network are never interrupted.
Predict, manage, document
In many companies, the network has evolved over time into what it is today. Components and equipment have accumulated at different times, purchased from many different suppliers, and the system is rather poorly documented on the whole. Switches and firewalls may be of many different makes and models, and their support services and warranty periods have expired unnoticed. This situation is typical, but painful in the event of a fault in particular. When an emergency is at hand and there is no proper documentation, it takes precious time to find out about things like the physical location, model and warranty period of a firewall on a site on the other side of the world. Support from equipment manufacturers for the replacement of defective equipment outside the warranty period is also quite weak.
It is here that we at Itaito can help companies efficiently: we make a thorough survey of the current state of the network, determining what the network consists of and what its problem points and bottlenecks are. Once the situation has been established, we will make a development plan for the network environment, replacing the risky points with more modern solutions. Obsolete equipment slows down the company’s network, so replacing it sensibly improves the efficiency of every employee. Naturally, the new online solution is also clearly documented, so if problems occur, we will immediately know what needs to be fixed and how.
Network monitoring and maintenance is burdensome for companies, so outsourcing it to a competent service provider makes sense. Tendering, purchasing and acquiring equipment requires skills. That’s why we at Itaito help you find the most reasonable, secure and cost-efficient solutions for your company. We also take care of the operation and development of network equipment and connections. Please contact us if you have any questions about the reliability or security of your company’s network!