Your business network bears the heavy burden of managing your company’s data flows, application demands, and all aspects of wireless and remote connectivity. It’s a lot to manage, and even well-built systems can have hidden blind spots or unknown vulnerabilities that may haunt you down the line.
To stay ahead of these issues and keep your system running optimally, we recommend examining and bolstering your infrastructure to increase efficiency and eliminate redundancies.
In the following article, you’ll learn:
- A simple network infrastructure definition
- Common problems associated with poorly-configured infrastructure
- What elements are included in a network infrastructure assessment
- Strategies for bolstering your network environment
Before we offer improvement strategies, it’s important to define network infrastructure and what components are involved.
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What Is Network Infrastructure (and What it Includes)
Network infrastructure includes all aspects of hardware and software that support network connectivity and functionality, enabling communication between user devices, the internet, services, applications, and more.
Wired infrastructure relies on cabling, interface cards, and ethernet ports to maintain connections, while wireless networks use a wireless access point to create a system of coverage wherever it’s needed. Most businesses these days rely on a combination of both options, with infrastructure that includes the following:
- Wired cabling, interface cards, and ethernet ports
- On-premise access points
- Public cloud-managed access points
- Wi-Fi access points
- Routers / Edge routing platforms
- Wireless local access network (WLAN) controllers
- Cellular gateways
It’s crucial to take stock of your assets before implementing any high performing infrastructure solutions, as you’ll need to know which problems and blind spots may need attention.
Types of Vulnerabilities Created by Weak Network Infrastructure
If your company fails to maintain an updated network infrastructure, you expose your organization to a number of risks – particularly in our post-pandemic world, where companies rely on complicated hybrid work environments with both on-site and remote workforces.
In our experience as an IT managed services provider (MSP), we’ve seen poorly-designed network infrastructure technology produce a number of problems for businesses:
- Poor network visibility: Failing to centralize data across locations or sites prevents businesses from maintaining adequate network monitoring and visibility, thus decreasing security and reducing an IT team’s ability to identify performance issues or bottlenecks.
- Data congestion and duplication: Duplicated data is common when disparate business systems send data to a single hub, but this process can create congestion and inefficiencies. The system spends more time dealing with unnecessary information and has less ability to efficiently process and detect threats.
- Excessive vendor costs: Many vendors who provide network infrastructure services and colocation facilities charge based on the volume of data transferred. This can be a large and unnecessary cost sink if a business has too much duplicate data or too many tools sending data through the system.
Top Ways to Bolster Your Network Infrastructure
With the stage set, let’s talk about actionable improvements you can implement to bolster the strength of your system and network services.
1. Start With a Network Assessment
Your first step should be to perform a full network infrastructure assessment (also called a site survey) that lays out your assets from end to end:
- Available equipment / devices
- Number of users
- Wireless / wired requirements
- Data center and co-location facilities in use
- Applications and services
- Top security concerns
- Budget limitations
This can be time-consuming, but the information technology outlined in targeted system assessments will form the foundation of all improvements to come. Don’t neglect this essential step!
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2. Upgrade Your Existing Technology
Naturally, network infrastructure efficiency depends on having up-to-date technology. Failing to upgrade in a timely manner exposes your business to security vulnerabilities from outdated systems, obsolete protocols that may impact efficiency, and more.
Based on your assessments in step one, you should have some idea of which network hardware components are due for an update. An easy example is upgrading a traditional wide area network (WAN) to an SD-WAN: a software-defined wide area network.
This solution is an overlay to your existing network that acts as a centralized controller for traffic routing, policy management, monitoring, and more. Best of all, it’s more efficient, agile, and cost effective than traditional WAN options. Work with your MSP to identify these opportunities.
3. Optimize Your VPN Strategy
As the global push to remote work continues, virtual private networks (VPNs) are becoming essential business tools for both smaller companies and those at the enterprise level. However, if not configured correctly, these tools can slow down essential communications and frustrate users.
Start by testing various server options for your VPN and prioritize those closest to you, as those will likely offer the best latencies. Also consider how your VPN services balance speed with security; these two goals often conflict, so you’ll need to find an appropriate middle ground based on your unique network infrastructure.
4. Understand and Better Manage Your Traffic
Data and traffic management are essential for network efficiency, but it’s an area where many companies struggle. Poorly-configured applications may eat up unnecessary amounts of bandwidth or create latency in important real-time communication tools.
Your goal here is to minimize unnecessary and unmonitored software that may be creating system bottlenecks. Consider segregating broadcast traffic by dividing your networks into multiple VLANs (virtual local area networks). By confining your domains in this way, you can substantially reduce traffic and boost performance for your network’s solution.
This in conjunction with the above steps will help streamline data usage overall and reduce the amount of information flowing through the system – reducing vendor costs and improving IT network infrastructure performance at the same time.
Get Professional Help With Your Digital Transformation
Networking and infrastructure improvement encompasses many aspects of your IT system, from security to networking to monitoring and management. It’s a lot to cover, and we’ve barely scratched the surface here.
To achieve the highest level of efficiency across your network infrastructures, most companies need the skills and expertise of a skilled MSP. That’s where Accudata Systems, A Converge Company, comes in. We’ve spent the last 40 years refining our process and helping businesses just like yours understand and improve their IT architecture.
If you’re done waiting and ready to start reaping the benefits of a bolstered network infrastructure, contact us here to get started.