Network management encompasses the following aspects.
Network administration covers the addition and inventorying of network resources such as servers, routers, switches, hubs, cables and computers. It also involves setting up the network software, operating systems and management tools used to run the entire network. Administration covers software updates and performance monitoring too.
Network operations ensures the network works as expected. That includes monitoring network activity, identifying problems and remediating issues. Identifying and addressing problems should preferably occur proactively and not reactively even though both are components of network operation.
Network maintenance addresses fixes, upgrades and repairs to network resources including switches, routers, transmission cables, servers and workstations. It consists of remedial and proactive activities handled by network administrators such as replacing switches and routers, updating access controls and improving device configurations. When a new patch is available, it is applied as soon as possible.
Network provisioning is the configuration of network resources in order to support a wide range of services such as voice functions or additional users. It involves allocating and configuring resources in line with organization’s required services or needs. The network administrator deploys resources to meet the evolving needs of the organization.
For instance, a project may have many project team members logging in remotely thus increasing the need for broadband. If a team requires file transfer or additional storage, the onus falls on the network administrator to avail these.
Network security is the detection and prevention of network security breaches. That involves maintaining activity logs on routers and switches. If a violation is detected, the logs and other network management resources should provide a means of identifying the offender. There should be a process of alerting and escalating suspicious activity.
The network security role covers the installation and maintenance of network protection software, tracking endpoint devices, monitoring network behavior and identifying unusual IP addresses.
Automating the network is an important capability built to reduce cost and improve responsiveness to known issues. As an example, rather than using manual effort to update hundreds or thousands of network device configurations, network automation software can deploy changes and report on configuration status automatically.