4 Critical Network Design Considerations You Don’t Want to Overlook
When it comes to network design, there are four critical considerations that you need to take into account if you want a network that is reliable, secure, and runs smoothly.These include embedded security measures, standardization of software and hardware, network resiliency, and redundancy. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does point out some oft-neglected aspects of computer network design.
What is Network Design?
Network design is the planning, design, and implementation of a network infrastructure that will meet the data transfer requirements of a company. Those data transfer requirements include the transfer of data within the network itself as well as outside the network (e.g., via the internet). Hardware involved includes the servers, desktops, laptops and printers, as well as the switches and routers that allow them to connect together.
Embedded (Built-in) Security Measures
One of the major considerations that is often overlooked during network design is not so much security but embedding security in the design of the network itself. Security should never be an afterthought, or just a tool or software package you add to the network once you are finished designing it.
A good example of built-in security measures would include segmenting your network so that customer areas are separate from employee areas so that an exploited weakness in one area could quickly be quarantined from the rest of the network with minimal disruption until it has been dealt with.
Standardization of Software and Hardware
One of the smartest things to consider if you want a smooth running network is standardization of both the hardware and software. If most of your employees use the same type of laptop or tablet, same type of printer, and same software packages, you will be amazed at how much you can reduce potential problems and the workload involved in maintaining the network (e.g., applying patches, installing updates, addressing issues, etc.). This is also true for the components that make up the network itself: servers, routers, switches, and other hardware should, as much as possible, be standardized.
A resilient network is one that can maintain an acceptable level of surface even when major problems arise that threaten normal operations. Problems faced could include targeted attacks, natural disasters, or simple misconfigurations. If you want to have a resilient network, then that must be considered during the design phase. There should be more than one way for data be transferred both inside and outside the network. Your IT department should always have the option of routing around problem areas when it comes to data traffic. Network resiliency must be one of the major considerations during network design.
Redundancy is similar to network resiliency but a bit more specific. For example, redundant services and components should be in place for any part of your network that should not be down for more than an hour. No matter how small you company is, your network should include two identical servers: one online, and the other with a fail-safe switch so that if the first goes down it automatically comes online.
Another aspect of redundancy is making sure that you data and systems are backed up. Too many people think of backup systems as a simple add-on once your network is in place, but a smart business owner will include make backup a major consideration during the design phase of the network.
You want a robust network that is secure and performs well, even in adverse circumstances. By taking into account redundancy, network resiliency, standardization, and embedded security measures, you are well on your way to that goal.
Let Maryland IT Solutions Design Your Network
At Maryland IT Solutions, we can design your network, whether you are a small mom and pop shop with a few workstations or a large enterprise with more complex security requirements and compliance standards. You can count on us to design a network that addresses all of the considerations discussed here, as well as other industry best practices that will keep it running effectively and keep your data secure.