Equipping Network Management for Remote Work

Finding the right network management tools to support remote work requires an understanding of security goals.

In March 2020, enterprises were forced to adapt quickly to learn how to manage remote work as teams abruptly moved to their newly-converted home offices. Remote work management can be particularly challenging for network teams who need to assess connectivity as well as deal with a host of new security vulnerabilities.

Network management and monitoring tools are plentiful, each solution offering the expectation of full control and oversight. In reality, identifying a tool that offers a blanket coverage for your enterprise may demand extensive research and a complete understanding of your goals related to security and performance.

Choosing the wrong monitoring and management tool can have disastrous results, from the inability to immediately address issues to leaving critical systems vulnerable to a breach. Here are five elements you should consider essential for any network management and monitoring solution:

Access Management: This is the core of any valuable network management and monitoring tool. Your enterprise must be able to prevent internal threats through access controls that prevent users from gaining admission to a dashboard or area of the network they don’t need for their particular role. Providing access to specific sections of the network for employees allows the enterprise to eliminate vulnerabilities.

Device Management: It is critical for network teams to have control over user devices – especially now that teams are largely remote. The ability to manage data at the device level is a vital functionality of a good network management tool. Every mobile device is an endpoint that introduces a point of entry to your systems.

Network teams must have the capability to wipe an employee device and restrict device access to enterprise resources without warning. Employee errors are a big source of vulnerability for enterprises, and it risks not only the financial side of a breach, but also the loss of the company reputation.

Platform Extensibility: Any single management and monitoring tool for networks can’t possibly meet every expectation and requirement of every enterprise and the wide variety of devices, applications, and versions out there. When you add in the proprietary applications you might be utilizing, it’s easy to see the importance of being able to use application programming interfaces (APIs) to close the gaps.

Microsegmentation: The typical hybrid cloud environment, which supports remote work across a geographically-dispersed area, requires microsegmentation to identify and define areas of the network. This approach also allows network teams learning how to manage remote work the ability to limit access to certain segments according to location, device, or other factors. This ensures traffic can be isolated to exactly where and when it needs to be moving.

Beyond SNMP: A simple network management protocol (SNMP) monitor must be treated as only a starting point for supporting performance and security standards. You need deeper insights than can be done by the generic methods used in an SNMP monitor. Look for tools that analyze network health at a more granular level.

SNMP tools offer only a few metrics at a default setting, creating a situation in which network teams are forced to identify and customize their own metrics. This area alone is worth the extra investment in a tool that fits your business and the level of network monitoring and analysis you need for performance and security management.Enterprises are aiming to support remote work for the long haul, but don’t make the mistake of simply choosing a popular network management tool rather than the ideal one for your organization and specific network architecture. Contact us at ITBroker.com to get started identifying the right solution for your needs.