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Networking management strategies for the midmarket

Networks made simple -- or complex? From basic definitions to security and VPN must-haves, this guide takes the bite out of network management challenges.

Networking management strategies, like most aspects of IT, can always be improved and updated. But as new technologies promise to simplify your job, they also add another layer of complexity to your network. A virtual private network (VPN) isn't secure with just a firewall. Wireless networks work well -- but what about remote users? What about networking tools that are made for large companies but scaled down for the midmarket? Are they OK?

This networking management strategies guide offers articles, tips and advice on just about everything networking for midmarket CIOs. From simple definitions to security options and VPN must-haves, this guide is a worthwhile beginning to the seemingly never-ending network management challenge. Send us your comments, questions and queries, and we'll do our best to satisfy your networking needs.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our list of Midmarket CIO Briefings.

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For large and small businesses alike, achieving optimal network security is a never-ending quest. But small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), in particular, face many unique network security challenges due to their smaller budgets and staffs. Among them:

  1. Access control: SMBs face special challenges in tracking who has access to the network and if the level of access they have is appropriately set.
  2. Malicious code: Most attacks against small businesses are automated, and potentially debilitating to SMBs. These attacks can appear as viruses, worms, Trojans and bots.
  3. Mobile device security: Mobile devices such as USB drives, iPods and camera phones allow data and information to be moved in and out of the network without normal access controls, creating a definite security hazard.

One potential solution to these issues is network access control (NAC). NAC offers administrators a way to verify devices meet certain health standards before they're allowed to connect to the network. Laptops, desktop computers or any device that doesn't comply with predefined requirements can be prevented from joining the network or can even be relegated to a controlled network where access is restricted until the device is brought up to the required security standards.

There are several different incarnations of NAC available. These include infrastructure-based NAC, endpoint-based NAC and hardware-based NAC.

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  • Definition: Network
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  • Definition: Networking
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  • Definition: Local area network
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  • Definition: Wide area network
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  • Definition: Wireless LAN
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  Network administration and management
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  Network security
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  VoIP basics
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  Wireless networking
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