How do you care for a network? It all starts with network architecture.
That’s why network architects are paid salaries that eclipse the six-figure mark. Companies demand a lot because they depend on connectivity now more than ever.
Employees need to have their computers, laptops, phones, and tablets connected to the network. Any issues lead to lost productivity.
That’s not the only reason why you need to make improvements to network architecture. Read on to learn what network architecture really is, why, and how you can make improvements to your network.
What Is Network Architecture?
In order to understand network architecture and its role in your business, you need to know how it different and fits with the other types of IT architecture.
Let’s take a look at how architecture functions in a business environment.
At the very top is enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture takes the business strategy and goals and aligns them with every system in the business.
Enterprise architecture includes networks, software, and systems. These things fit into a singular framework to help the business function.
Network architecture ensures that the data systems and connectivity between devices and outside networks are running smoothly.
Reasons to Improve Network Architecture
Once you understand how network architecture functions in your business, you begin to realize that it can cost your business a lot in lost productivity and revenue.
That’s only one reason why you want to improve network architecture. It turns out that there are other issues that can cause major problems for your business.
1. Cyber Security Issues
It takes nearly 200 days to discover a cyber security breach. That’s a lot of time for hackers to steal critical information about your business and your customers.
This is a top concern for businesses and it should be your top reason to improve the network architecture.
You can reconfigure network architecture to detect and respond to cyber threats. You can also focus on prevention, but you know that one click is all it takes for a costly ransomware attack to happen.
2. Older Hardware Problems
Your organization may be reluctant to replace hardware because of the cost to do so. Servers have capacity limits and it’s easy to reach those limits when there are hundreds of devices floating around the office.
That lack of capacity leads to network slowdowns and connectivity issues.
Even workstations have a shelf-life and older components can’t handle the demands of large software packages.
3. Bandage Approach to Problem Solving
IT departments are busy and always putting out fires. Since they have to respond to technical issues so quickly, they may not present the best solution to fix network issues.
With each fix, a bandage is applied. These bandages pile up and eventually create a mess of your network. The system will lag and be less efficient over time.
Improving the network architecture is an opportunity to undo these bandages and simplify your networks once again. That results in improved efficiency for everyone in the organization.
4. Limit Downtime
One recent survey noted that downtime resulted in lost customers for more than a third of small and mid-sized businesses. That’s lost revenue that will never return to your business.
The business has to fight harder to acquire new customers to replace the lost customers, costing even more money.
Improving your network architecture will reduce downtime significantly. That’s because you removed all of the other obstacles that can lead to downtime.
5. Get Workers Out of Silos
Do you have problems in your business that are due to a lack of communication between departments? It’s common for large and small businesses to work in silos.
When you look at how they communicate with each other. You may find systemic issues that get in the way of seamless communication.
The sales team might have all of the information in a CRM, but the marketing team doesn’t use it. You may work in a global or national organization where different regions use different systems.
Addressing this in your network design removes these blocks and improves communications between regions and departments.
How to Improve Network Architecture
There are plenty of good reasons to improve network architecture. The problem arises when you have to take action. Where do you even begin?
Start with a network architecture audit. This audit is meant to uncover vulnerabilities in your networking systems.
You need to review your current policies and make sure that employees are trained on things like security and password protection.
Review server logs, discover the most pressing threats to the business, and confirm that all software updates are performed regularly.
You’ll then need to develop a plan of action. You can bring in an outside firm like Skyward Technical Services to help you design the network or assist with the audit.
An outside perspective can help you see things that you might miss because you’re so close to the network architecture scheme.
Network Metrics Matter
How do you know that the network architecture is working as it should? That’s why you need to measure your network.
The most important networks to measure are latency, bandwidth usage, network availability, connectivity, and packet loss.
These metrics give you a complete picture of what’s happening on your network.
You should take these measurements before your audit and after you make changes to the network. You can show your management team that these investments in the network are worthwhile and translate into real results.
Improve Network Architecture for Efficiency
There are a lot of reasons to improve network architecture. You have a more efficient business, improved communications, and you have a simplified network.
All of those things turn into reduced downtime. That turns into more revenue and lower operating costs. For more startup advice, check out the other articles on this site.