What is a managed network?
A managed network is a communication network that is outsourced. It is developed, operated and managed by a service provider. These Managed Service Providers (MSPs) typically offer their services over the cloud, but many also provide in-house infrastructure. The goal is to enable organisations to outsource their IT needs.
What managed network services are there available?
Managed network services come in various shapes and sizes. You can get basic network access or virtual network services. You can even make use of transport services such as leased LAN and WAN connections. Other common options include network administration, WAN optimisation, unified message, virtual private networks and security firewalls.
When you work with a managed service provider (MSP), you will find that they come at different scales. Managed services are hosted at data centres and offered to businesses of all sizes everywhere in the world. The services are provided with service-level agreements (SLAs) that define the quality, availability and responsibilities of the user and service provider in the arrangement.
There are many benefits to outsourcing your network management like this. There are also some things to be aware of. The key is to be very clear about what is included in the SLA from the outset.
What are the key components of network management?
- Endpoint Connectivity: Connecting enterprise endpoints like workstations and conference room systems. Keeping everything connected is helpful for monitoring and supervising activity.
- Logging Systems: These help monitor network performance against industry-standard KPIs and maintain comprehensive records.
- Automation: This reduces manual effort and auto-heals common issues based on predetermined protocols.
- Server Connectivity: Keep virtual machines and privately-hosted servers online.
- Switch Management: This provides visibility into the flow of traffic in and out of switches to orchestrate increasingly complex landscapes.
- Network Assurance: Policy enforcement controls risk and ensures internal compliance whilst protecting against security threats.
Ultimately, all these things amount to a three-pronged network management architecture. It comes down to a managed device, a managing entity and a management protocol.
The managing entity consists of people and technologies that govern the landscape. The managed device is what receives the network connectivity – this means switches, endpoints and servers. And the management protocols are the rules and policies that dictate how the managing entity and the managed device interact.
How have Managed Networks evolved?
Advancements in technology have caused all managed services to evolve in recent years. Back in the 1980s, it was all about managing telephone lines so businesses could communicate with customers and each other. Gradual advancements in technology made this a very competitive industry as businesses looked for better service and more capabilities.
Today, that is pretty much the same. But the technology is far more wide-reaching and communications needs are more advanced. Software-based networking technologies arrived around 2010, enabling a wider range of businesses to access these types of services.
Telephones, messaging, collaboration tools and the management of business platforms require constant advances in technology to compete. Managed service providers offer this rapid evolution of technology so you can rest assured you are always making use of the latest developments.
What are the advantages of Managed Network services?
In-house IT resources are often limited, particularly for smaller businesses. This is why MSPs are often a go-to source – they enable those businesses to access far more advanced networking capabilities without having to utilise in-house infrastructure and personnel.
MSPs offer all the latest technology with solutions for networking issues like tech support, integration and troubleshooting. Even many large companies prefer to work with MSPs when it comes to deploying new technologies. This is because outsourcing this work enables in-house staff to remain focused on tasks more central to the business itself.
This enables boosts to operations efficiency as the MSP takes control of the network and addresses issues whenever necessary.
The proactive approach MSPs take to network management can help prevent IT problems that might disrupt operations. Companies can obtain IT and networking expertise without the need to hire more staff in-house.
What risks are associated with using managed networks?
The risk of handing network management over to a third party is that there may be a disparity between your needs and what the MSP does. To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial that you clearly define your expectations from the outset. A close relationship with your MSP is key, and you can collaborate to monitor performance and keep everything in line with the terms of the contract.
What are the common pricing models for Managed Network services?
The contract a business signs with an MSP for managed network services is usually an annual or multi-year one. The formulas used for pricing can be complex. Variables include service type, required speed, interfaces, geographical concerns, the number of sites and the level of support provided. Common pricing models for managed networks include:
- Monitoring Only: Network monitoring and alerting services.
- Per User: A flat fee billed per end user, per month covering all end-user devices.
- Per Device: Similar to the previous, but the price is based on each device used.
- Tiered: Different tiers of bundled services or packages with incremental increases in price from one tier to the next.
- A la Carte: This is the bespoke option. Discrete services focused on the specific needs of the customer.
- All You Can Eat: A flat monthly fee that covers all the remote and on-site support you could need. This helps avoid billing fluctuations.
Once you establish the specifics of a service, you can budget for your fixed monthly expense.
Network management can form the backbone of your IT infrastructure. Key business applications can be monitored and kept running. Remote collaboration can be nurtured and fuelled. And it can support multi-location connectivity.
Robust network management is vital for businesses to expand and enter new territories or access new cost efficiencies. Expertise is priceless in achieving this, and that is what managed network services bring to the table.
Digital transformation is accelerating at pace and companies need to reimagine their network management practices to keep up. With network management, you can modernise the way you operate to reach new heights in a dynamic global habitat.
Why choose Eventura as your managed network service provider?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions, best-in-class IT infrastructure, and industry leading managed networks for over 20 years. Our experienced team can review your existing infrastructure, and recommend improvements that will have game-changing results for your business. We can help put the technical foundations in place to help you succeed.
If you would like to speak to one of our managed network or business solution experts to discuss your option, you can request a free call back here.