For the unprepared, managing your agency’s modern IT infrastructure with all its complexity can be a little scary. Evolving mandates, the constant threat of a cyber-attack and a connected workforce that demands access to information when they want it, where they want it, places more pressure on the government’s IT professionals than ever. And at the heart of it all is still the network.

 

At SolarWinds we know today’s government IT pro is a Bear Grylls-style survival expert. And in true Man vs. Wild fashion, the modern IT pro needs a network survival guide to be prepared for everything.

 

Assess the Network

 

Every explorer needs a map. IT Pros are no different, and the map you need is of your network. Understanding your networks capabilities, needs and resources is the first step of network survival.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • How many sites need to communicate?
  • Are they located on the intranet, or externally and accessed via a datacenter?
  • Is the bulk of my traffic internal, or is it all bound for the Internet? How about any key partners and contractors?
  • Which are the key interfaces to monitor?
  • Where should deep packet inspection (DPI) agents go?
  • What is the scope and scale of what needs to be monitored?

 

Acknowledge that Wireless is the Way

 

What’s needed are tools like wireless heat maps to manage over-subscribed access points and user device tracking tools that allow agencies to track rogue devices and enforce their BYOD policies. The problem is that many of these tools have traditionally been cost-prohibitive, but newer options open doors to implementing these technologies you might not be aware of.

 

Prepare for the Internet of Things

 

The government can sometimes be slower to adopt new technology, but agencies are increasingly experimenting with the Internet of Things. How do you overcome these challenges? True application firewalls can untangle the most sneaky device conversation, get IP address management under control and get gear ready for IPv6. They can also classify and segment your device traffic; implement effective quality of service to ensure that critical business traffic has headroom; and of course, monitor flow.

 

Understand that Scalability is Inevitable

 

It is important to leverage capacity forecasting tools, configuration management, and web-based reporting to be able to predict and document scalability and growth needs so you can justify your budget requests and stay ahead of infrastructure demands.

 

Just admit it already—it’s All About the Application

 

Everything we do is because of and for the end-users. The whole point of having a network is to achieve your mission and support your stakeholders. Seek a holistic view of the entire infrastructure, including the impact of the network on application issues and don’t silo network management anymore.

 

A Man is Only as Good as His Tools

 

Having sophisticated network monitoring and management tools is an important part of arming IT professionals for survival, but let’s not overlook the need for certifications and training, so the tools can be used to effectively manage the network.

 

Revisit, Review, Revise

 

What’s needed to keep your network running at its peak will change, so your plans need to adapt to keep up. Constantly reexamine your network to be sure that you’re addressing changes as they arise. Successful network management is a cyclical process, not a one-way journey.

 

Find the full article on Federal Technology Insider.