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How Your Business Can Reduce Network Equipment Maintenance Costs | December 04th, 2018

Network Equipment Maintenance Costs

IT managers spend ample time choosing network equipment that best suits their companies’ needs, but often make less-than-optimal decisions about the most cost-effective strategy to save money on network maintenance costs. However, the job doesn’t end with selecting and installing the equipment. Understanding which maintenance and support contracts to purchase, aligning their payments with other contracts, planning for the machine’s projected lifespan and taking advantage of new technology are only a few aspects of how you can reduce network equipment maintenance costs.

Network equipment maintenance is necessary to make sure your investments in equipment last as long as possible and keep your tools operating at the highest efficiency levels. Every internal and external device within a network plays a role in ensuring data is accessible, and all facets of the system are functioning properly. Without a properly working network, strategic decisions become more volatile and unpredictable. There are several ways to increase network availability, reduce maintenance costs and make your business run much more cost-effectively.

Review Projections to Reduce Costs

IT professionals should always keep thorough documentation of the inventory and map of the network. Doing so allows you to assess each network component, and assign it an appropriate maintenance service level. Implementing a good network strategy will make it easier to create and meet measurable goals while optimizing network design, making the wisest investments for necessary equipment and gaining maintenance contracts.

Conduct network growth projections two to five years in advance. Doing so will save you time by not having to establish different subnet designations each time you make a change to the network, and you can also find areas where you can save money by reviewing how critical each component is to the business. After deciding which elements are the most vital, IT professionals can better plan for network performance and alternative support options, and further improve hardware, maintenance and support.

Analyze Current Maintenance and Support Contracts

Analyze Current Maintenance

When reviewing existing maintenance and support contracts, the first step in measuring their effectiveness is to rank them in order of their importance. The more critical the device is to the business, the higher the service level it requires. Gear more toward the bottom of the list may not need any maintenance. When considering the application of maintenance and support in your networking software and hardware, here are some things to consider:

  • Importance equipment has to the business
  • Risk of having lower-level service
  • Impact equipment failure would have on the business

For example, if a workgroup switch goes down and affects a dozen or so employees, it won’t be too detrimental to the company’s well-being, and the workers will likely be happy to have a bit of a break in their day. However, if a core router goes down and impacts many functions and individuals working throughout a network, significant problems could arise for the company.

Keeping spares on hand is a great idea, combined with spares management contracts for your equipment that will replace a faulty part upon its failure. Instate a sparing policy to determine the minimum total cost of investment and load curtailment costs, while classifying spares and failure rates. Using a sparing method can optimize your substation components to maintain network uptime and save your business money by helping you know what spare materials you have on hand and how best to use them.

OEM contracts have also earned a reputation for tacking on certain perks that aren’t necessary to gain access to a service or offering you may need. By bundling services, they appear to be offering more value, but in reality, they are just creating unnecessary coverage and substantially increasing the cost.

Maintenance contracts often include guarantees for replacements or repair if you have an issue with any parts. Frequently, the agreement encompasses more than just this benefit, and regularly releases software updates that keep routers and firewalls running optimally. IT managers often overlook these updates, so make a point to check equipment for software updates.

Worldwide Services customers save as much as 50 to 90 percent on network equipment preventive maintenance with NetGuard. NetGuard is Worldwide Services’ third-party maintenance program that allows IT professionals to add and manage any support contract. If you order a replacement, it will arrive within 24 hours, and come with expert-level technical assistance.

Extend Equipment Life

Extend Equipment Life

Once a piece of equipment is more than 10 years old, it is likely time to consider a replacement. When searching for equipment to purchase, always be mindful of limited lifetime warranties many manufacturers offer. These types of warranties are best for less critical parts of your network, and come packaged with technical support and hardware replacement. In addition to the benefit of not having to worry about your equipment failing prematurely, you also can save on support and maintenance costs. When deciding the best maintenance service level to purchase, a few elements should be at the forefront of your decision:

  • Type of equipment
  • Age of equipment
  • Importance equipment has to the business

IT managers often choose the same level of service for all their equipment to save time and maintain uniformity among contracts. However, this isn’t the best practice, since it typically results in wasteful expenditures that would have been preventable with a little more research and time during the selection process.

Original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, get IT managers to spend extra money by building in a need for equipment replacements, or double-covering existing equipment. A strategy they use is to issue an “end-of-life” notice on equipment that may be at the end of its shelf life, but is still performing perfectly. Taking the OEM’s word for the equipment needing a replacement leads many customers to make new purchases unnecessarily.

Proper Management of Maintenance Contracts

Networks are always changing, with new parts coming in simultaneously as older parts are getting repurposed and swapped to other machines, or in some cases, discarded. While there’s such a vast variety of devices on different contracts from separate vendors and expiration dates, managing contracts and keeping track of equipment can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming.

Most IT professionals who deal with these challenges in their line of work use basic methods of contract management that may do a proficient job at keeping track of your assets, but ensuring with complete certainty your inventory is not causing any problems due to coverage gaps can allow you to create an even more successful maintenance strategy.

Aligning your contracts to terminate simultaneously can make for an easier renewal process going forward. Consolidating various maintenance contracts to tailor to your business’ needs, instead of a deal that spans multiple years or locks you in indefinitely, is a lousy option as opposed to a more flexible monthly plan. Avoiding automatic renewal clauses is good practice, because although these contracts ensure you’ll never lack coverage, they keep you locked into the same coverage and price plan, potentially prohibiting you from getting their best rate. By planning when your contracts will renew, you can enjoy increased network availability and reduced maintenance costs.

A good practice is to lock in your annual rate for three to five years ahead of time. Negotiating a set rate ahead of time will save you time annually because you won’t need to renegotiate budgets, which simplifies planning. You can use the time you saved to look further ahead in your business plan and figure out the best method of attack once the predetermined time you set your annual rates expires.

Be sure your contracts explicitly state a clear understanding of requirements, so no party involved can plead ignorance to fulfilling it. Any network maintenance contract should describe which services the agreement covers, what it does not, the role of both the OEM and the client within the deal, timeframes of service and specific procedures for resolving issues.

Many inventory and contract management tools have systems in place to help maintain your network equipment and develop better strategies without the added stress. If your network uses more than 1,000 devices, it is even more important to use third-party software to organize your inventory maintenance and renewal processes.

Consider Hybrid Support Services

Hybrid Support Services

Hybrid support services — the combination of internal and external services using both internal and public clouds to support a business outcome — are a growing trend that is transforming the role of information technology. These services are best for the following:

  • Connecting several clouds
  • Identifying and classifying data
  • Implementing a more service-oriented architecture

Cloud computing comes with advantages and disadvantages. It offers significantly lower overhead through the transfer of services to cloud providers in exchange for a more volatile and dynamic market than traditional IT computing environments.

It may be a good idea to use cloud computing for less critical IT services like projects in the development phase or testing applications. There’s little risk in experimenting with hybrid support services in situations that prove less detrimental if anything were to go wrong.

When handling critical data and essential applications, several drawbacks make IT organizations more reluctant to embrace cloud services fully. Common issues include:

  • Failure to meet security requirements
  • Failure to integrate with enterprise management
  • Hosting critical applications is not guaranteed

Combating these issues is where hybrid IT architecture can come into play. By using both the external cloud and internal methods, IT organizations can offer their customers the speed, price and capacity of the cloud while keeping the security the organization requires for its most critical components.

Be a Savvy Shopper

Limited research leads IT decision makers to succumb to marketing tactics, or arrive at a costly decision when there is a better one at a more affordable price right around the corner. Take ample time when choosing equipment and contracts, and always be sure to get quotes from multiple vendors to drastically cut costs from your IT budget.

Shopping around allows you to become more familiar with the market and make more sensible decisions on what a reasonable price is for the sort of coverage you are looking for. Also, be wary of deals that seem to be a steal, because you have very likely overlooked details in the fine print.

Once a potential vendor has informed you of their rate, make sure that is the best price they are willing to offer. Rates are always negotiable, and the vendor is likely to reduce their costs if they know it’s the difference between landing you as a customer or not. It never hurts to ask, even if you have to be assertive in your negotiations.

Third-party hardware maintenance providers are also excellent for finding coverage very similar to more expensive competitors while paying a fraction of the price. Compared to OEMs, third-party providers also generally operate more freely, allowing them to grant you more flexibility in a plan. Their business also usually follows fewer protocols compared to a large manufacturer, so they can tailor a plan specifically to you. It is important to research a third-party company to ensure you are not sacrificing quality, but most of the time, manufacturers use third-party providers on their own accord to handle maintenance coverages.

A used product is also an option if you are not looking to invest in brand-new equipment. Considering purchasing a secondhand device isn’t a bad suggestion if its function is less critical to your business. If a used product is significantly less expensive than its brand-new counterpart, a little research into the item to determine if it has any faults, or its projected lifespan, could prove to be cost-effective if it operates just as well as a new part.

Companies such as Worldwide Services provide millions of products that are available online and for immediate delivery. Worldwide Services offers 24/7 technical support, certified engineers for configuration support and system design and spare and repair services, all to the highest international standard. If you believe a third-party hardware maintenance company may not offer the same security in your purchases compared to a name brand, this is untrue for many smaller, reputable dealers. Worldwide Services provides a lifetime warranty, and we give value to our customers by offering information and assistance on our company blog that has industry-specific insights into the IT world you can use to optimize your career. You can also contact us directly here for any questions you may have.

Understanding the Market

Understanding the Market

Saving on network maintenance costs ultimately comes down to allocating your time and resources to the right actions. Projecting the rate of growth within your network, setting a standard for equipment and contracts years ahead, reviewing ongoing contracts’ efficiency and relevance to your business’ success, choosing the correct warranty for your equipment and exercising wise shopping practices are at the forefront of importance for how your business can reduce network equipment maintenance costs.

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What Is Network Maintenance? | September 27th, 2018

what is network maintenance

As with auto, household and facility maintenance, sometimes your network requires a little extra assistance to avoid problems. While there are some preventative maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to minimize network downtime, you may find that you need to pair your efforts with those of the experts to keep your operations running smoothly on a daily basis.

Well-maintained networks encounter fewer problems and are much easier to troubleshoot than those left without consistent upkeep. To ensure that you don’t find yourself running with faulty settings, risking damage to both software and hardware over time, you will need to clean up your network regularly. That is where network maintenance comes in, and it is often most effective through a comprehensive third-party platform, like our network maintenance plan. Worldwide Services is a third-party maintenance provider that offers a range of services including network monitoring solutions, server maintenance, and IT storage maintenance.

What Is Network Maintenance?

At its core, network maintenance constitutes all the tasks and systems in place to monitor, update and run your organization’s computer network before problems strike.

That “network” itself involves your entire portfolio of physical IT assets, like the hardware and servers, and non-physical IT assets, like the software and cloud access — also known as your IT ecosystem.

Similar to other business functions, a healthy IT ecosystem relies on proactive, daily activities and strategic foresight rather than reactive adjustments or ad-hoc, spur-of-the-moment patches. The basic tenets of maintaining your network — and the basis of a successful regular network maintenance plan — typically include the following:

  • Network cybersecurity: Implementing robust and up-to-date network defense layers, such as traffic-managing firewalls, virtual private networks, user access controls, double authentication measures, log inspections for usage documentation, real-time breach notifications and auto-generated security reports.
  • Network performance: Analyzing top network performance concerns influencing the speed and reliability of your devices, including bandwidth usage, traffic patterns, bottlenecks, frequently down or crashed servers, connection lags, delays and more.
  • Network scalability: Ensuring proper software and hardware systems fitting your current operations, number of network users, endpoint locations and businesses functions.
  • Regular hardware and software updates: Scheduling updates prorated across network components and interfaces, which in turn bolsters both a network’s overall performance and security defenses.
  • IT infrastructure compliance: Maintaining internal compliance with company practices as well as external government regulations and industry policies.
  • Preemptive network repairs: Using auto-generated reports and analytics to spot and patch usage problems across the IT ecosystem — or at the very least troubleshooting them — before they turn existential.

    Network Maintenance Mean

Who Conducts Network Maintenance?

Today, there are three primary approaches to overseeing network maintenance:

  1. Internal IT staff: In-house IT employees manage top-down network devices, security defenses, traffic monitoring, data storage and retrieval, hardware health, user controls, compliance, scalability and more on-site within your business’ premise, with peripheral assistance from original equipment manufacturers.
  2. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM): Pieces of software, as well as your network’s wider operating system, will often come with a maintenance contract delivered by the OEM. OEMs are in a prime position to deliver maintenance tenets, such as system updates, performance audits and smooth installation and integration, though they may not offer the most robust or cost-effective total preventative care. Examples of some of today’s top OEMs for software and hardware include IBM, Cisco, Dell, Arista, Juniper, Nokia, HPE and more global industry players.  
  3. Third-party maintenance (TPM): Third-party maintenance plans provide an outsourced alternative to shouldering end-to-end IT systems and equipment, alleviating several concerns around managing your entire IT infrastructure on your own while juggling industry changes or disruptions. They also tend to provide more detailed, personalized maintenance packages compared to an OEM’s.

There are innate benefits to both internally managed and outsourced IT maintenance. The scale of your organization, the capabilities of your IT staff and your budget will be major variables in determining if a traditionally in-house, outsourced or hybrid approach works best for the health of your IT infrastructure.

What Is a Network Maintenance Plan?

Network Maintenance Plan

Your typical network maintenance plan is the detailed package of services you can expect to receive to keep your systems running. This plan should cover the range of services your business will need to operate, including running necessary updates, ensuring proper installations and performing audits to detect potential errors. Often, your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will offer management service plans to try and minimize complications with their products. But there are several reasons why relying on your OEM alone may not be the best course of action for your business.

One of these reasons is that you will want your network maintenance plan to be efficient, cost-effective and strategically flexible, which the expensive, rigid OEM contract doesn’t always guarantee. Neither can you be sure that your OEM will complete every task that is necessary for all of your network needs. What a third-party maintenance (TPM) provider can do is oversee your entire system, even if you use a variety of manufacturers, and do so at a much friendlier cost.

Additionally, a TPM can create a maintenance plan that’s entirely customized to your needs and usage habits, making sure not to overdo it on non-essential services, while also covering all of your network bases. It can be helpful to become more acquainted with examples of what these typical tasks are so that you can be more aware of potential needs within your system infrastructure.

What Are Examples of Network Maintenance Tasks?

Network Maintenance Tasks

Many business operators have a basic understanding of what network preventative maintenance is all about, but there may be some confusion surrounding the specific measures you can expect your service provider to perform. Here are six of the most common tasks involved with keeping your servers and devices up to speed.

1. Troubleshooting Network Issues

If warning signs or small troubles go ignored for too long, you may run into problems that are disruptive and potentially expensive to repair. What you network maintenance provider can do is use their experience and knowledge to troubleshoot any issues your network is experiencing, and they’ll be able to recognize if there is a simple fix. If there isn’t, you can be sure to receive several suggestions on the most viable and cost-effective solutions.

2. Installing and Configuring Products

Whenever you get new equipment or have software to update, it is very likely that there will be some form of installation and configuration needed. Similarly, when inevitable shifts occur in the office or a new user is added, your network settings may need to be reconfigured to accommodate those changes. If done incorrectly, the growth of your company could be hindered and valuable time may be taken away from your employees as they try to navigate improper settings.

For these reasons and more, getting started on the right foot is crucial. Your network maintenance provider can help with that.

3. Monitoring and Improving Network Performance

Network performance can be a quiet killer of your company’s potential. If the performance of your network is not up to par with other companies, then your company will have a much harder time keeping up with your competitors in other ways.

Network performance can be difficult to judge if you have nothing to compare it to. But by bringing someone in to troubleshoot and monitor your network, you’ll be able to see the truth about how it is operating and what can be done to make your system function more efficiently.

4. Planning for Growth

As a business, you are always looking forward. If you are not maintaining your network diligently, it may not be able to handle the weight of expansion as your organization grows. It’s essential that you have a server that is capable of adding more workstations if you plan on increasing the numbers in your workforce. You’ll need to be able to add these new users without any difficulty as they enter your network.

Additionally, by creating network documentation and keeping it up to date, the growth of your business will be obtainable without the risk of slowing down due to a lagging network. Making sure scalability is structured correctly in your system will optimize performance and reduce growing pains down the line.

5. Ensuring Compliance

An essential part of maintaining your network is making sure that all of your tools are compliant with your company’s policies and legal regulations. Compliance should always be a top priority. Not only do you want to avoid putting yourself and your business at risk, but it’s also critical to protect your customers. This responsibility may seem daunting, but with the right network maintenance plan, you won’t have to worry about regulatory upkeep constantly.

6. Establishing Reliable Network Security

Unfortunately, anyone can be susceptible to network breaches, especially without the right precautions in place. Considering the vast amount of data on your server, you don’t want to leave it unguarded. Fortunately, your network maintenance service can help secure necessary firewalls, VPNs and intrusion prevention tactics, while also setting up user validation systems that use a dependable authorization, authentication and accounting (AAA) method.

The security of your network is one of the most important elements to maintain, and consistent upkeep will help your company remain safe against potential threats. If a breach still occurs, a properly maintained network will have procedures in place for logging the event and automated responses to streamline the process of moving forward.

Bonus: Creating a Plan That Works for You

These are six common responsibilities, but there are many other tasks that a network maintenance plan can entail. Depending on your company’s needs, you may find advantages in other services, such as having your accounts managed, backups scheduled or faulty equipment replaced. Talking with your provider about your options will help you create the custom plan to keep your network and all of your devices functioning on their best behavior.

Which Hardware Devices Are Serviced Most Often Through Network Maintenance?

Network Maintenance Hardware

It’s good to be familiar with typical network maintenance tasks, but it may also be beneficial to understand the variety of firmware involved in helping your network run smoothly. Aside from regular workstations, your network is powered by an arsenal of other devices, including a cable modem termination system, servers, switches and routers. Here is a closer look at each of these and how maintenance keeps them at their best.


A cable modem termination system, or CMTS, is a device that allows for the exchange of digital signals. It takes incoming traffic on a single channel and routes them to an ISP. A CMTS can serve different cable modem population sizes, and the cable modems associated with it do not change in quality dependent on distance.

Network security is helped with a CMTS, as they are capable of some basic filtering for protecting against attacks and unauthorized users. It is one of the reasons that it’s essential to perform updates and maintenance on devices like your CMTS, which prevent the decay of the systems that keep bugs and security threats at bay.

2. Servers

Having a reliable and working server is an integral part of having a secure, robust and profitable business. It allows you to manage network resources and stay consistent as a company. Technically, any capable computer, device or program can be a server, as long as it is a dedicated central repository that helps provide resources, such as the access to hardware, disc space or other necessary files and information, to any other computer on that network.

While any computer could work as your server, the functions that the server performs are going to differ from those of other workstations within the system. Most dedicated servers have unique features and configurations to boost their performance. A server might also be connected to separate power supplies, networks and even other servers. Because of any added high-performance RAM, faster processor, several high-capacity hard drives and the critical tasks the server performs, server maintenance on these computers tends to be much more intensive than that of your average workstation.

3. Switches

A switch receives incoming data and redirects it to the destination on the local area network. Essentially, a switch creates an electronic tunnel between a source and its destination where no other traffic can enter. Because of this, there can be communication with no collisions. However, if something goes wrong with the switches, your communication will likely be disrupted. Your network needs to be able to share information, and the proper maintenance can help you ensure that such connections remain strong.

4. Routers

While a switch creates a tunnel, a router connects networks. Routers are similar to switches, but they can also forward packets of information between different networks and are not limited to node-to-node communication on the same network as a switch is.

With routers, as with any of these devices, the software they run and the firmware itself are both susceptible to damages without the right regular upkeep. As part of your network maintenance plan, there should be a component to check over hardware for warning signs, like clogged fans or overheating. And just as with other computers in your network, making sure they have the latest updates to their code can help you avoid unwanted situations.

What Are the Different Approaches for Maintaining a Network?

There are two main philosophies behind maintaining your organization’s network — with only one fitting a true preventative-plan definition:

  1. Interrupt-driven: In an interruption-driven model, network testing and troubleshooting occur after a problem is detected. This method calls for reduced daily IT oversight, yet courts higher risks of system downtimes, errors and costly fixes as well as an “all-hands-on-deck” mentality to fix whatever errors strike that may put other business functions on the back burner.
  2. Structured: In a structured network-maintenance environment, system updates and activities are done consistently, on a day-by-day basis. A structured network philosophy aims to minimize service disruptions by spotting potential issues or anomalies before they spread across system environments.

What Is a Network Maintenance Schedule?

A network maintenance plan institutionalizes a structured approach to managing your organization’s entire IT ecosystem. It promotes coordination and proactively oversees your servers, storage, software and hardware devices and programs, especially those from different OEMs or working across multiple interfaces.

When successfully implemented, a routine network maintenance plan keeps all major components of your network running in its safest, most updated conditions while simultaneously identifying errors or potential problems before they grow into business disruptions.

What’s Involved in Regular Preventative Maintenance for Your Network?

While there are many activities fitting the umbrella definition of network maintenance planning, overseeing the health and safety of your servers, routers, devices and software involves a few key domains.

Consider these preventative maintenance tenets below. Which does your organization currently spearhead directly, and which do you leave to your OEMs or a TPM?

24/7 Network Monitoring and Defense

Organizations today manage an increasingly complex array of devices, platforms and endpoints. With the exponential rise of mobile, cloud and related virtual environments as well as proliferating work from home or BYOD (bring your own device) policies, both traditional and wireless infrastructure must be helmed under a synthesized system able to register and control user access around the clock, then alert you when it detects strange activity.

Such robust network monitoring also includes defenses such as:

Device Maintenance

To properly maintain your physical devices, organizations must first have an accurate gauge of what and where those devices are, then track their health and activities.

Preventative maintenance plans create the most comprehensive overview of current devices. They also account for the traffic on those devices, plus offer packet delivery oversight to identify how data is being requested, transferred and stored across network devices.

Other device maintenance activities in a regular maintenance plan include:

  • A thorough network map, including a complete picture of routers, switchers, servers and other physical devices.
  • Interface monitoring and alerts.
  • Baseline network device threshold calculations.
  • Scheduled device updates, or configurations, plus a notification procedure ensuring users are aware of upcoming device updates as well as an approval system for the contents of those updates. 

Storage Maintenance

Properly maintaining your servers and storage files is one of the most overlooked aspects of IT ecosystem management. Practitioners struggle to make post-warranty or similar legacy equipment work for current storage needs, all while managing the pressure to purchase the latest glistening storage technology on the market at prices that may or may not be prudent.

As a core tenet in a revamped maintenance plan, storage systems can be reviewed for functionality, scale and feasibility, including strategizing:

  • Appropriate OEM hardware renewals.
  • Up-to-date, accurate storage data and information.
  • Next-generation on and off-premise file and server storage ideas.
  • Cost analysis of worthy investments in storage systems and total infrastructure.

Performance Management

Network performance management best practices include deploying systems to track the connections, speeds and usage habits of devices within your network, then mapping better interfaces and usage policies to bolster overall performance improvements.

Using performance data across server speeds, data latency, device performance and more, organizations can also wield its preventative maintenance plan for quality of service (QoS) updates to reconfigure interfaces for maximum productivity. The results are longer lifespans for your equipment, plus speedier pieces of software and bolstered internet connections for best-possible employee outputs. 

Why Do I Need Network Maintenance?

Network maintenance plans transform the bulk of IT domains into measured, methodical activities. It creates a scheduled template of daily undertakings that holistically improve the way your organization uses and manages core technology — technology that, when disrupted, has the potential to grind operations to a halt.

Risk-mitigation aside, implementing internal and outsourced network maintenance is essential when your enterprise finds itself experiencing any of the following situations:

1. You Have a Burgeoning Computer Infrastructure

There are many reasons organizations seek to expand its portfolios of software applications and physical IT hardware, including:

  • You’re experiencing an increased need for data, from storing customer information after sales transactions to tracking market analytics insights.
  • You’re migrating to the cloud or merging with another type of cloud-based enterprise system.
  • You’re launching a new mobile platform or mobile app.
  • You’re expanding or modernizing your servers and storage equipment to increase network performance.
  • You’re configuring disparate OEM applications under one umbrella management system.

Network maintenance plans simplify the installation and configurations by harmonizing any new pieces of equipment or software with legacy IT, as well as synchronizing multiple OEM platforms under managed contracts. 

2. You Lack a Robust Data Recovery or Retrieval Plan

According to one study, only 36 percent of companies have a formal cybersecurity policy. The average data-loss incident costs businesses over $5,000 per breach, yet only a third run annual cybersecurity audits and assessments.

From malware and ransomware attacks to accidental data deletion by a well-meaning employee, these incidents are costly, cumbersome to fix and potentially paralyzing to your business. Maintenance plans provide a detailed schedule of data back-ups and storage solutions. Plus, third-party consultants and maintenance partners provide expertise regarding how often to back-up enterprise data, which data is critical and which can be archived, plus the best on-premise and remote back-up locations.

3. You Want to Better Understand Your Network Usage and Performance

True visibility across your network’s actual performance can court significant cost-savings for your enterprise. A maintenance plan with performance reports displays traffic patterns and internet usage, as well as how much of your bandwidth you’re siphoning.

With this objective data in tow, you can tailor your IT ecosystem accordingly, setting up smarter usage and access controls, picking better-fitting bandwidth contracts and setting yourself for uninhabited scalability when the time comes without impeding operations in a saturated network.  

4. You Need More Robust Cybersecurity Practices

Data backups and retrievals are only one variable in the cybersecurity equation. As more and more devices enter the typical workplace, organizations have an increased number of targets for hacks, malware, ransomware, social engineering schemes, AI manipulations, OS security holes, out-of-date software and more modern workplace cybersecurity threats.

New workplace norms add additional security complexity to the fold. For example, the growing prevalence of telecommuting presses organizations to set up safe network entry portals and connections for remote employees. Those same employees need off-premise access to the same data files, applications and software they use in the office, at the same speeds and functionality, without threatening the safety of the whole.

benefits of a network maintenance plans

Benefits of Network Maintenance Plans

Compared to those that are interrupt-driven, organizations with a network maintenance plan leverage distinct advantages, including:

1. Reduced System Downtimes

Fully implemented maintenance plans ensure go-to protocols when unanticipated incidents strike across your devices or software. With an action plan in your back pocket, you can react quickly and acutely, identifying the source of the issue and providing precise, informed remedies.

Network downtimes are therefore minimized, as are the costs associated with escalated issues that went undetected until reaching an expensive breaking point. From employees to clients, everyone will appreciate the faster approach to solving network errors or glitches, as well as the reduced headaches during patching.

2. Increased Data Retrieval, Usage and Connectivity

Network maintenance plans with dedicated performance and data storage activities improve the speeds and safety of how your devices exchange data. This is pivotal in an age when enterprise data has never been more vital to operations — or more expensive to reinstate when lost or stolen.

Maintenance plans accomplish this by mapping and overseeing current network logs, files and folder permissions. They also review hardware space for performance lags or backlogs, improving the speeds at which data may be retrieved and updated. The result is an optimized network with more secure data access portals that don’t leave employees or customers waiting after requesting, inputting or sharing sensitive information.

3. Greater IT Infrastructure Visibility and Communication

Yet another advantage of implementing a network maintenance plan is the greater visibility and understanding of your complete network layout.

These layouts, or network topologies, are extensive. Topologies encompass the top-down anatomy of your network’s hardware and software devices, plus the connection types keeping them in sync. There are multiple layers to network topologies, each of which is objectively defined, mapped and improved via a TPM maintenance plan, namely:

  • Network inventory: The complete diagram of devices maintained by your organization able to connect to the interfaces of each other, as well as your software products and versions, software vendors, OEMs, licensing information and individualized tag assess numbers.
  • Physical topology layer: All the ways your hardware and devices are physically connected with one another.
  • Wireless topology layer: All the ways your hardware and devices wirelessly connect and sync with one another.
  • IP addresses: The complete list of IP addresses used on your network, as well as typical access and traffic amounts, plus which interface they are configured on.
  • Configuration history: Documenting the installation and update schedules of your software, hardware, operating systems and interfaces as well as archiving previous working versions.

4. More Digital Productivity

The methodical, scheduled philosophy behind network maintenance plans ensures employee applications don’t suddenly go dark during a reconfiguration. Teams are better kept in-the-loop on scheduled updates, understand the rationale behind those updates and experience shorter system downtimes and delays hindering their work.

Plus, since network plans fix performance bugs and streamline data access and storage systems, those same employees can perform digital tasks and activities quicker and easier. Their outputs increase, allowing them to work smarter without working harder.

5. Bolstered Security

Strongly maintained networks regularly examine their security features, make frequent updates to workplace software and applications, patch security holes and reconfigure antivirus software to remain in peak condition. You have peace of mind that, across all devices, programs and protocols, your data is safe and network fortified. When incidents do occur, safeguards are already in place to minimize damage and keep essential files and systems from being compromised.

Work with a network maintenance provider

Work With an Expert Maintenance Provider

Worldwide Services maintains top certifications in third-party managed network maintenance, including the advanced ISO 9001:2008 and TL 9000 certificates — a title fewer than 500 companies globally can claim.

Your network’s security and performance rests in the right hands with our leading maintenance plans and packages. Request a quote today to stop questioning if your network operates at its true potential. 

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2 Ways You Can Save Money with Third Party Maintenance | August 09th, 2018

2 Ways You Can Save Money With 3rd Party Maintenance
Can third-party maintenance services really save you money? Accenture, a leading worldwide business consulting firm, reported numerous saving opportunities, as a result of utilizing third party maintenance services for their network maintenance needs.

Companies can experience significant savings if they are willing to consider third-party maintenance options to optimize their IT cost structure, and the added benefit of possibly improving their global coverage.

Let’s highlight two ways your IT department can enjoy the same benefits from third-party maintenance (TPM) providers:

  • Extended coverage on products no longer supported by OEMs
  • Reduced IT maintenance and network costs without compromising quality

Continue reading to learn how you can start saving 50% to 80% simply by making the shift from your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to TPM service providers.

Why shift from OEM services to TPM providers?

OEM’s are seen as the best option for IT maintenance services primarily because they are the manufacturers of these products and devices. OEM’s also have highly skilled and knowledgeable service engineers who are experts in troubleshooting hardware and network problems. So why are businesses making the shift from OEM’s to third-party maintenance services?

The demand for maximum value on hardware investment

It all began with the era called “end of support life (EOSL).” When these OEM’s ended their services and discontinued providing parts for certain product models as a strategy to compel their customers to upgrade, IT organizations looked for a more economical option. They sought a solution that could help them extend the life of their hardware investment — TPM providers.

TPM’s response to EOSL: The power to say “NO”

While OEM’s are putting an end to the service of outdated products, TPM providers breathed hope into these devices. They extended the coverage on products no longer supported by the OEM. Thus, rather than saying “YES” to the demand of OEM providers for them to purchase a new product model, businesses were able to say “NO.”

With this, third-party maintenance providers gave the power to decide, back to these companies. As a result, they are able to:

  • Keep their current hardware infrastructure
  • Maximize the value of their hardware investment
  • Save on IT maintenance costs

NetGuard Maintenance Plan, the third party maintenance service offered by Worldwide Supply, is the top alternative to OEM’s network maintenance today. Learn more about the difference between OEM and TPM.

TPM and the disenchantment with the OEM’s service (CISCO)

Another reason for the shift from OEM to TPM is the level of service provided by these OEM’s. For decades, many thought of OEM’s as the best maintenance provider for their piece of hardware. It’s the brand name they carry, so they must be the best. Highly unknown is that many of these OEM’s are actually outsourcing their service delivery to other service providers.

CISCO, the number one provider of network equipment and flexible networking solutions, outsources their CISCO network service, CISCO maintenance, and CISCO router troubleshooting services.

Yes! This may come as a surprise, but the Level 1 and Level 2 support are often performed by CISCO partners and not CISCO themselves. The only time it is handled by an OEM is when the service has been escalated to a Level 3 request.

Why is this?

OEM’s reward their partners for the minimal use of OEM engineering resources. Therefore, these partners do their best to handle your service request at their level without escalating it to CISCO, even when it is clearly needed. This escalation process serves as a barrier, and, as a result, you end up waiting for hours before your concern is properly dealt with.

That is, however, never the case with TPMs. There are no artificial access barriers and all of the service requests are treated as a priority and are handled without undue delay.

Now it makes sense, right?

OEM providers are seeking help from third-party maintenance service providers to lower their operational costs at your expense. So why continue to pay more when you can directly hire the services of a TPM provider?

Now is the perfect time to make the shift. Start your savings today, especially with the following numerous benefits Worldwide Supply has to offer:

  • Equipment substitutions with a 24-hour support line
  • Impressive response time with 4-hour onsite service
  • Single portal service for all your maintenance agreements and plans
  • Vast troubleshooting capabilities support with over 100 past and present product lines, including 400 global service and sparing centers in 79 countries

Deciding to outsource to a third party maintenance service provider for the first time can seem like a big endeavor. However, the savings can be substantial and possibly include other benefits such as flexible SLAs and inventory management services.

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How Third-Party Maintenance Providers Help Your Business Make Better Decisions | July 05th, 2018

As a business owner, you know what an increasingly important role technology plays in your company’s success. Businesses of all sizes rely on network technologies to accomplish their most important functions. The day when a business could afford to ignore the Internet, smartphones or social media is far behind us.

You also keep a close eye on the bottom line, and you are more than aware of how expensive upgrading and maintaining your technology can be. You would like to spend more of your company’s budget on your network technology services, but that isn’t always possible.

For many businesses, big or small, the question they face increasingly is choosing between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or third-party maintenance (TPM) providers to maintain and service their networks. It’s an important question because how you make this decision will affect your upgrade schedule, your regular maintenance schedule, your ability to solve network problems quickly and efficiently and your company’s bottom line.

OEMs Versus TPMs

At first glance, choosing an OEM seems like a straightforward choice. If money is not a concern, then an OEM’s support team offers detailed knowledge and maintenance experience for the network solution you have chosen from them. An OEM will also offer you advice on when to upgrade your network.

Another apparent advantage to choosing an OEM is that they look to be reasonably priced when you first work with them. This reasonably priced model often lasts for the first few months of your contract with an OEM.

However, these apparent advantages can often vanish before you utilize the benefits.

OEMs’ support contracts tend to rise in price after those first few months. During those initial months, you may not even use the service. You’re more likely to need it as your equipment ages, and when prices are higher.

While OEMs would like for you to use their products for all your networking needs, the reality is most companies work with more than one OEM. You might contract with one company for your network security, another for your routers and switches and a third for your LAN equipment. That’s a lot of potentially high-priced maintenance contracts to keep on the books.

Then there’s the question of upgrading your technology. OEMs manufacture hardware, and it’s in their best interests for you to continue upgrading that hardware on their schedule. But most companies don’t need to upgrade as often as OEMs suggest. And not every piece of equipment needs to be upgraded at the same time. Top IT analyst firms, like Gartner and Forrester, have driven this point home recently in their research.

This is why TPMs are playing an increasingly important role in companies’ business decisions.

  • TPMs typically don’t make their own hardware. They are all about service. As a result, they can offer a much better price on a maintenance service plan.
  • Because you likely use products from various OEMs, using OEMs for service requires multiple contracts. A good TPM will be able to provide third-party network management and maintenance for all your hardware at a much lower price than you would pay for a separate contract with each OEM.
  • Companies once avoided TPMs because they were worried that they only had access to low-quality replacement parts. But that is not the case anymore. TPMs now have access to many of the same replacement parts that OEMs do. In fact, some OEMs use TPMs to get their replacement parts because they are less hindered by bureaucracy and other delays.

How to Make Better Business Decisions With TPMs

The growing importance of third-party maintenance providers means that businesses can make better and smarter decisions about the technologies they use. Previously, companies were only able to use solutions offered by OEMs. This meant they had no choice but to pay maintenance fees for all of the components of their network and upgrade them on the OEMs’ schedule. This business model did not give companies choice.

The emergence of TPMs means that companies now have a freedom that did not exist in the past.

  • Companies are no longer tied to OEMs for maintenance or upgrades.
  • Companies can now move at their own speed and make decisions that better reflect their needs.
  • Companies that work with TPMs, whether they hire them to support their entire network or select parts of it, report considerable cost savings.

Advantages of Third-Party Network Maintenance

Research shows that there are at least two conditions that should prompt you to explore using TPMs instead of OEMs.

  • Upgrading regularly is not a major concern. If you’re using technology that is two or three releases behind the most current one but is providing the services that you need, then using a TPM for maintenance makes a lot of sense.
  • Your software needs are all set for several years. If you know you’re not going to need new software for five to 10 years, then why commit yourself to an expensive OEM maintenance contract? Once again this is a situation where working with a TPM makes a lot of sense.

When you decide to use third-party maintenance providers for your business, you are giving your business several key advantages.

  • Save money: All businesses want to be successful and offer their customers and clients memorable service and products. At the same time, you need to keep an eye on your bottom line. Using a TPM is one way that you can do this. When TPMs customize and streamline your maintenance plans, you can reduce costs by 50 percent or more in many cases.
  • Be more efficient and flexible: Companies tend to use equipment from several different OEMs. This happens because of cost factors or because your IT staff prefers using a particular vendor for a particular need. Regardless, this can be expensive and can potentially cause problems. If some part of your network experiences problems, but you’re not sure from where the problem originates, you can spend a lot of time talking with a variety of OEM customer service people while you try to pinpoint the exact issue. Working with the TPM eliminates these issues because TPMs can service all the components of your network.
  • Innovate strategically: In the past when a business worked only with an OEM and a piece of hardware reached its end-of-life (EOL), the OEM encouraged you to replace that piece and many other pieces of the network to stay “current.” TPMs changed all that. When you work with a TPM, you can innovate strategically and selectively. It enables you to replace one piece of your network when it is needed and leave other pieces that are functioning well alone. TPMs enable you to innovate on your schedule and save money at the same time.
  • Keep your equipment in service for longer: If you already know you don’t need to upgrade regularly and you’re all set for your software needs for several years, why agree to an upgrade schedule determined by an outside provider? If your equipment is working well and services all your needs, there is no reason that you cannot keep using it for an extended lifespan. TPMs aren’t interested in selling you new hardware, only in keeping the hardware you have in good operating condition.
  • Find a maintenance plan that fits your business: OEMs lack flexibility. They charge a flat rate for specific services. If your problem falls outside the boundaries of those services, you will pay extra. Or, on the flipside of the coin, you end up paying for services that you never really need. Also, what you pay for maintenance service increases as your equipment ages. TPMs offer customization and let you create a plan that focuses on the exact services that you need.
  • Create an OEM-TPM network hybrid model: Sometimes you want to work with an OEM. Their upgrade schedule and maintenance service plan works best for a specific piece of technology. But other components of your network, like VoIP or firewalls, don’t need to be upgraded as often and don’t require an OEM maintenance service plan. What you need in this situation is a hybrid model. Hybrid models are a major development made possible by TPMs.
  • Freedom: The OEM business model requires them to constantly sell you new versions of hardware or software to remain profitable. This works for them, but it doesn’t always work for you. When you work with a TPM, the decision-making power remains in your hands. You decide when an upgrade is needed. You decide when a component of your network needs to be scheduled for maintenance.

How to Select the Right TPM Service Provider for Your Business Needs

Working with a third-party maintenance company is an integral part of determining how to make better IT decisions for your business. But you want to make sure you choose the right TPM. Not all TPMs are equal, so you’ll want to invest time in finding the perfect partner for your business.

  • It’s in the contractual details. When you negotiate a contract with a TPM to provide maintenance support, make sure that the agreement explicitly defines the responsibilities of the TPM. It should also include details about what costs are incurred if a problem escalates, whether the TPM needs an on-site office and what happens if the TPM can’t solve the problem.
  • Knowledge of a variety of hardware and software. Businesses didn’t work with TPMs because of the misconception that they were limited in their ability to deal with diverse sets of hardware and devices. This is just not true. However, before signing a contract with a TPM, ensure they have the skills and knowledge to work with the various components of your network. Remember, working with a TPM makes sense because they don’t make hardware. Instead, they’re all about service and maintenance. Make sure your TPM can deliver in that area.
  • How fast do they answer support calls? When you’re all about service, you should also be all about speed. One reason businesses move away from OEM maintenance service plans is the lag time between the original phone call and when the service takes place. Talk to other businesses currently using TPMs you are considering and ask about their response time.
  • Are they logistically capable? If you need to replace a component of your network, can your TPM do it with minimal downtime for your business? A good TPM works with large volumes, has strategically placed forward stocking locations (FSL) and has the necessary licenses to deliver replacement parts.
  • Do they give good advice? A good TPM not only provides third-party maintenance services but also acts as a kind of consultant for you on important matters related to your network. They can help you determine when it’s time to replace a network component, how much longer a part will function correctly and whether your maintenance schedule needs any changes or revisions. If you’re going to buy a new piece of hardware, they can help you choose the best option. A good TPM will have the knowledge and experience to help you with all of these decisions.

When choosing a third-party support provider, you shouldn’t gamble. A little research goes a long way and will help you find the partner that enables you to make the best decisions for your business.

Work With Worldwide Services for All Your Networking and Service Needs

Worldwide Services has the technical expertise and the broad experience to help you make better business decisions.

The over 14,000 businesses with which we partner recognize us as a premier networking equipment provider. We pride ourselves on providing superb customer service regardless of where our customers are located in the world.

Every aspect of what we do conforms to the highest industry standards. We have been certified to TL 9000 standards, and our IT quality management systems are the most comprehensive in the industry. At Worldwide Services, we care deeply about quality and providing our clients with the best customer service.

Contact us today for a consultation or a quote. We look forward to working with you.

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What Is Spares Management? | November 30th, 2017

Worldwide Services offers a robust spares optimization and management system designed to keep your operations running smoothly. It’s an easy and affordable way for you to have the right equipment at the right time to avoid downtime.

But what is spares management, exactly?

A spares management process is a system between a company and a spare parts supplier to provide a direct way to inventory and ship spares before you need them. From computer and server parts to bolts, fasteners and even swipe cards, spares optimization and management is an effortless way for you to never to have to wait days for a part after something breaks or is lost.

For us, it’s about knowing what you have and what you need, plus understanding what you should have on-hand versus what to order as needed due to cost, use, geography or other restrictions.

Benefits of a Spares Management Plan

Spares management systems combine a look at your hardware with a software support tool that can help you share information on your operations and what you need. By working together, we can generate a list of common spare parts you may need plus create an understanding of what tends to fail together, from server blades and racks to microwave systems and certain antennas.

Here are some benefits of spare parts management and what a plan can do for your operations:

  • Allows you to keep spare inventory levels low, reducing carrying and storage costs but providing access to spare parts when needed.
  • Better service to your customers. The longer your operations are up and running, the better you’re able to deliver the services and support your customers demand.
  • Enhanced part visibility so your supply chain can show where the need is and where the parts are headed.
  • Improved equipment uptime as you limit how long equipment is down and don’t have to wait to generate revenue or find a funding source to repair a part when it breaks.
  • Quicker repairs and replacements for defective parts, plus assistance with larger failures.

An in-house system can help you achieve many of these benefits, but it will ultimately fall short because it is limited to your knowledge of your equipment. A third-party service can assist you with knowledge about industry-wide trends — such as knowing that servers of a certain type tend to have a specific failure after three years and you need to have a specific replacement part before your model turns three.

Outside partners also have access to a much wider inventory than your team does because they’re serving a wide array of customers. So you get the benefit of an extensive warehouse with the latest and greatest parts — often at cheaper rates than an OEM provides — but you only need to purchase once you have an actual need.

So, by turning to a third-party spares optimization and management service partner, you can run a tighter ship. However, there’s really only one choice if you want to run the tightest and most affordable ship.

Worldwide Services Spares Management System

Beyond the benefits stated above, Worldwide Services can offer you a few advantages designed to keep your network secure and limit any budgetary impact due to part failures or excessive repair downtime.

How do we do it?

We have a spare parts management system to assist with the acquisition, storage, sending and use of spare parts, while freeing up capital to limit unnecessary purchases. Our customers consistently see a cost savings benefit of between 40 and 60 percent on total capital and operating expenditures.

Our solution supports multiple vendors with same or next-day replacement parts, with a presence in more than 79 countries. Our supply chain can ensure you have parts that are commonly replaced always on-hand and can get custom solutions and specialty parts to you as quickly as possible.

Turn to us for a spares management process that allows you to spend money only when you need to and always have the parts you demand, without wasting revenue or increasing downtime when something breaks. Plus, we’re here to help with a wide range of network supplies from leading OEMs of the past and present decades as well as expert managed services. Request a Spares Management quote today to keep your operations running at top performance.

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