IT Security personnel and network support staff tasked with managing large networks are routinely at odds with identifying and solving the most common problems a large network poses. Typical causes that can be identified and treated, however, generally fall within one of the following three categories:
- Performance Degradation
- Host Identification
- Security Issues
Performance degradation refers to issues involving loss of speed and data integrity due to poor transmissions. While every network is prone to performance issues, large networks are especially susceptible due to the additional distance, endpoints, and additional equipment at midpoints.
Solutions to performance degradation are not terribly difficult. The very first step is to purchase the best quality computer networking hardware one can afford. All other solutions build upon a solid foundation of good network hardware. After all, network performance is only as good as the components of which it is composed.
Although quality matters, in this case quantity can also be an issue. Networks without enough routers, switches, domain controllers, etc. is comparable to pumping water from a municipal well with a straw. Beginning with adequate, quality hardware is an excellent start, but that still is not enough. Hardware is useless without proper configuration.
It is essential to ensure all computers and network “plumbing” are properly connected (with quality cabling) and configured. This includes verifying network settings in server and desktop network configuration apps and also verifying settings in the firmware of networking components (switches, routers, firewalls, etc.). Every device connected on the network should be initially and routinely checked for problems, as rogue PCs infected with viruses, spyware, botware and so forth can waste bandwidth and, even worse, infect other systems.
Proper configuration is also essential to maintaining proper host identification. Just as the post office cannot deliver messages without some form of addressing, neither can computer networking hardware. While small networks can easily be configured with manual addressing, this becomes completely impractical in large networks. DHCP servers, domain controllers, and their requisite addressing software and protocols are a must when it comes to creating and maintaining a large, scalable network.
Top performance and proper host identification are hardly beneficial on a network that has been breached by hackers. It is for this very reason why securing one’s network is equally important.
Network security issues involve maintaining network integrity, preventing unauthorized users from infiltrating the system (viewing/stealing sensitive data, passwords, etc.), and protecting the network denial of service attacks.