Archive for Uncategorized

how network monitoring works

How Network Monitoring Works | September 04th, 2019

Network monitoring is a vital IT function for the corporate world. From employee productivity to infrastructure maintenance, network monitoring can help businesses save costs in all corners of their corporate structure. While network monitoring is gaining popularity, however, many potential adopters are left wondering what exactly this technology is and how it can help them. If you’re looking for basic information on how network monitoring works, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is Network Monitoring?

In order to know how network monitoring works, it is important to know the significance of a network to an organization. Networks are the lifeblood of any modern corporation, and slowdowns and breaches are costly. Monitoring is the practice of watching the internal network as a whole, including devices, traffic and servers. This helps identify and address potential problems as they occur, preventing network issues. For nearly all businesses, this monitoring occurs with the help of software systems.

Network monitoring systems, at their most basic, are tools that help administrators monitor their networks more effectively. The specifics of the system, however, vary widely based on the company’s size and needs. The following are a few examples of how network monitoring systems vary:

  • Size and scale: Some network monitoring systems are simple, pinging hosts to check for availability. Some are even achieved using a patchwork of various software and hardware in tandem. More advanced systems, on the other hand, monitor all areas of even the most complex networks with a single comprehensive system.
  • Ease of use: Interfaces vary wildly depending on the type and sophistication of the network monitoring system. While some offer only simple alerts and command-based interfaces, others may provide a graphical user interface to improve functionality. Many modern network monitoring tools have web-based and mobile-based interfaces.
  • Automation: Basic monitoring systems rely on an administrator to see results and act on them, but many companies are turning to automated systems that handle events themselves. These systems are designed to trigger events when network data falls outside set parameters, functionally eliminating the middle man and improving response time for network errors.

One important point to network monitoring systems is that they are not necessarily security systems. While network monitoring can serve as a helpful tool to protect against network gaps and slowdowns that could lead to a breach, network monitoring systems are not intrusion detection systems or intrusion prevention systems. While these other systems detect and prevent unauthorized access, network monitoring systems let you know how well the system is running during regular operations.

What Does Network Monitoring Watch?

Choosing what to monitor with network monitoring

Choosing what to monitor with a network monitoring software is just as important as deciding to implement one in your business. You can use network monitoring to track a variety of areas in a network, but monitoring usually focuses on the following four areas:

  • Bandwidth use: Monitoring network traffic, how much bandwidth your company uses and how effectively it’s used helps ensure that everything runs smoothly. Devices or programs that hog your bandwidth may need to be replaced.
  • Application performance: Applications running on your network need to function properly, and network monitoring systems can test to be sure that they do. Network monitoring systems can test the response time and availability of network-based databases, virtual machines, cloud services and more to be certain that they are not slowing down your network.
  • Server performance: Email servers, web servers, DNS Servers and more are the crux of many functions in your business, so it’s essential to test the uptime, reliability and consistency of each server.
  • Network configuration: Network monitoring systems can supervise many kinds of devices, including cell phones, desktops and servers. Some systems include automatic discovery, which allows them to log and track devices continuously as they are added, changed or removed. These tools can also segregate devices according to their type, service, IP address or physical location, which helps keep the network map updated and helps plan for future growth.

Monitoring isn’t limited to any single type of network. Any network of any level of complexity can be monitored with a sufficient network monitoring system. Some of the most common network types include wireless or wired, corporate LAN, VPN and service provider WAN. Voice over internet protocol (VoIP), video on demand (VOD) and internet protocol TV (IPTV) are also common additions to modern networks that can add complexity to network monitoring. With monitoring, however, managers can allocate resources properly regardless of all the complexities of their network.

How Does Network Monitoring Work?

Network monitoring uses a variety of techniques to test the availability and functionality of the network. Some of the more common general techniques used to collect data for monitoring software are listed below:

  • Ping: A ping is one of the most basic techniques that monitoring software uses to test hosts within a network. The monitoring system sends out a signal and records data such as whether the signal was received, how long it took the host to receive the signal, whether any signal data was lost and more. The data is then used to determine whether the host is active, how efficient the host is, the transmission time and packet loss experienced when communicating with the host and other information.
  • SNMP: Simple network management protocol (SNMP) monitors individual devices in a network through monitoring software. In this system, each monitored device has monitoring software installed that sends information about the device’s performance to a central SNMP manager. The manager collects this information in a database and analyzes it for errors. This is the most widely used protocol for modern network management systems.
  • Syslog: Syslog is an automated messaging system that sends messages when an event affects a network device. Technicians can set up devices to send out messages when the device encounters an error, shuts down unexpectedly, encounters a configuration failure and more. These messages often contain information that can be used for system management as well as security systems.
  • Scripts: In networks with gaps in network monitoring software functionality, scripts may be used to fill small gaps. Scripts are simple programs that collect basic information and instruct the network to perform an action within certain conditions. A common example would be a scheduled task like resetting and reconfiguring a public access computer every night. Scripts can also be used to collect data for network monitoring.

Once this data is collected, the network monitoring software sends out an alert if results don’t fall within certain thresholds. Network managers will usually set these thresholds of acceptable performance, programming the network software to send out an alert if its data indicates slow throughput, high error rates, unavailable devices or slow response times.

Collect data for monitoring software

As soon as the alert is sent out, one of two things may happen. If the system is a manual system, the network administrator will analyze the data and handle the error themselves. An increasing number of network monitoring systems, however, come equipped with some level of automation. In these cases, low-level errors may be automatically fixed by the network monitoring software, while high-level problems are brought to the attention of the network administrator.

Why Do You Need Network Monitoring?

Many corporations are skeptical of network monitoring. If your company’s network is running well, you may wonder if your business needs network monitoring at all. After all, it’s just one more thing for your network managers to keep track of. However, just because your current system works doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be.

Network monitoring is all about optimizing and maintaining your network’s health. While the main goal is to make sure that your network is running, network monitoring can be an excellent way of improving your network performance. Below are just a few examples of what network monitoring can do for your business:

  • Receive immediate alerts: While traditional systems may require an administrator to log in and manually run checks in order to see any network errors, network management systems can send out alerts as soon as an error occurs. This way, downtime is minimized and network errors are addressed as promptly as possible.
  • Target patterns: Network monitoring systems are excellent at identifying patterns of performance. For example, they can help pinpoint specific groups of equipment that are underperforming so that network administrators can determine the cause and propose an effective solution.
  • Identify weak links: Network monitoring can alert administrators to the presence of overloaded equipment or weak WAN links before they become problems, allowing administrators to adjust the network configuration as needed to decrease the burden and eliminate bottlenecks.
  • Pinpoint waste: Just like network monitoring can spot overuse of equipment, it can also help identify underused equipment that could be eliminated or used differently.
  • Minimize data loss: Error-prone networks can lose essential data for your business. From corrupted files to dropped mail sessions, these errors can severely impact your company’s productivity and efficacy. Network management can minimize this by identifying errors and their sources, allowing administrators to fix the problem.
  • Maintain compliance: Network monitoring systems compile a massive database of information that can be extremely useful for compliance purposes. Potential compliance problems can be identified quickly, and your database can provide extensive information to be used for compliance reports.

All of the factors listed above feed into a business’s profits. Companies save money by minimizing downtime and errors and avoiding compliance issues, but also gain a greater level of efficiency and productivity by ensuring that their networks are as fast and available as possible. Companies can make even better use of their hardware and software, minimizing unnecessary purchases and making the most of existing resources.

Companies save money by minimizing downtime and errors

How Do You Choose Network Monitoring Software?

If you’re ready to implement network monitoring in your business, consider these points when looking into network monitoring software:

  • What data it collects: Any network monitoring software should be compatible with your network and collect information from various elements within your network. Make sure that any software you choose will monitor the type of data that matters to your business and is compatible with the network types, servers and devices your business uses.
  • How it presents data: Any monitoring software must also process and present the data it collects in a way that can be used. User-friendly formats are essential to make the most of network monitoring. Look for monitoring software that offers configurable alert systems and presents relevant statistics in a way that your network administrators can easily understand and use.
  • How much support it offers: If you can’t effectively configure your network monitoring solution, you won’t experience the benefits of network monitoring. When possible, look for network monitoring software and services that offer excellent support services and, ideally, configuration and set up services.

Wherever you get your monitoring tools, it’s best to thoroughly check how well they will work with your operating systems and network.

What Are Some Network Monitoring Best Practices?

When it comes to implementing network monitoring, keep these essential best practices in mind:

  • Know your network: Be certain your network map is up to date. While some network monitoring software automatically tracks network changes, it is still essential for your team to track it themselves to ensure that all areas are covered. This map should include the types of networks that need monitoring, the servers and hardware involved, any remote devices and other factors. This awareness makes it easier to find an appropriate network monitoring solution and helps identify gaps and potential upgrade needs.
  • Establish baselines: You can’t accurately determine what is abnormal in your network without knowing what is normal. Check on your network regularly to determine your network’s baselines and reassess your alert thresholds.
  • Create alert plans: Network monitoring becomes a moot point when alerts don’t reach the right people. When setting up your network monitoring system, firmly establish who is in charge of different aspects of the network and set up systems to ensure that alerts go to the correct people. Additionally, create organizational policies pertaining to alerts — for example, if an alert occurs after hours, who handles it?
  • Reassess regularly: Companies and networks change constantly, and your network monitoring should change with it. Every time a major change occurs in staffing, network configuration, company policy or company structure, reassess your network, network monitoring system and all associated issues to verify that everything is covered.

This can be quite a lot to consider for companies that are new to network monitoring solutions. If your business needs assistance choosing and implementing a network monitoring solution, Worldwide Services can help.

Why Work With an Expert?

When you’re implementing a network monitoring solution for the first time, the task can be daunting. However, working with an expert can streamline the process — they can help you determine what your needs are, what to look for and how to get started. The best companies can even provide continuous support throughout your partnership.

If you’re looking for a network expert, Worldwide Services is here. Our certified engineers are available to help you with your configuration support and system design needs, and we offer 24/7 remote technical support programs for our clients. We even provide extensive spare and repair services for our international clients. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in the telecom industry and can ensure that your business benefits from the best the industry has to offer.

Contact Worldwide Services today to learn more about our products and services and how they can help you get up and running with network monitoring.

Contact Worldwide services for network monitoring solutions

read more

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.

read more

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.

read more

Why Your Network Needs Maintenance | August 10th, 2017

Networks need maintenance because they are the lifeblood of your services and operations, and running with a malfunction or improper settings can lead to downtime and damaged equipment.

The more work you do to protect and maintain your servers, routers, switches, cabinets, racks, cables and other equipment, the greater your likelihood of mitigating or minimizing downtime. You’ll be happy to learn that maintenance best practices are also efficiency best practices because you’re continually monitoring your network for the chance to improve it.

Server maintenance includes a variety of preventative steps that vary based on your specific server, but will typically need to include reviews for security risks, testing of backup protocols, reviews of backup power supplies, tests of internal monitoring operations, routing and IP control reviews, and a physical check of the hardware to look for damage, dust or debris.

Many of these utilities will come with your server’s hardware package, but it’s smart to also look for external tools to help ensure everything is running properly.

Are There Tips to Minimizing Server Downtime?

Right now, you’re probably wondering how to minimize network downtime and reduce the overall risk of network outages. We’ve put together some of the biggest tips and techniques to help you do just that, covering hardware, software and installation space.

Run Your Web Tier as an Isolated Process

To have the most stable server and protect its overall performance, we recommend web tiers always be run as an isolated process. This will reduce the likelihood of a crash because a web tier failure won’t harm ISAPI DLLs — or vice versa when things go wrong with another tier.

Keep Everything Chilly

One of the best ways to reduce network outages is to monitor your server and network locations with regular physical checks. This equipment all becomes very delicate when things get warm, so you need a very cold environment. This is especially true for small and mid-sized business servers because they typically have minimal extra space.

Physical space is important beyond overall temperature. Your server racks need significant room around them to create airflow so they benefit from the air. Typical best practices include high ceilings, strong HVAC systems, a lack of clutter, clean cables and power backups for cooling systems as well as servers.

Try Active-Active Architecture

Today, your vendor will likely recommend active-active or active-passive clustering to minimize your downtime. Look for someone who pushes active-active deployments.

In recent memory, active-passive clustering was a viable solution because of older deployments, needs and demands. However, the architecture won’t keep up today for most businesses. Active-active clustering environments can respond to increased demand and have a more significant ability to manage and keep data and communications.

This architecture provides more reliable uptime for core systems and can lower your overall risk for damage or downtime.

Audit It Yourself

It is very easy to generate system audits on your server and equipment to make sure things are running properly. However, any professional who knows how to reduce network outages will tell you that, sometimes, those automated reports miss the big picture.

Have your team perform process audits so they’re looking at the equipment and how it’s being utilized. You might just find something that saves time operationally and reduces the load on your servers, helping them last longer with improved uptime.

Employ Managed Switches

Redundancy is a clarion call for all server farms and company systems — it’s the most reliable method for minimizing network downtime. Creating redundancy and implementing required protocols is at the heart of this, but it needs the right technology to be useful: managed switches.

Managed switches generate network visibility with the link-loss-learn capability to make it easier for your team to avoid or recover from link faults and failures. By immediately repairing and routing around issues, you’re less likely to experience downtime.

Stay Vigilant

Our final suggestion on how to reduce network outages and how to maintain a network efficiently is to consistently monitor your network — both with people and automated systems.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to stop an outage. It’ll happen due to natural disasters, a plug that gets pulled out when someone trips over it or when a hacker decides to make you their target. Vigilance is the right path to keep everything secure.

Vigilance also helps you determine when parts of your network need to be replaced or repaired. Pairing that with a comprehensive coverage and repair platform that isn’t limited by OEMs or parts makers will ensure that your network stays up longer and bounces back faster if something ever goes wrong. Be proactive and preventative with a robust maintenance package.

read more

Third-Party vs. OEM Network Maintenance | March 09th, 2017

Efficiency is everything in the IT world. From cost to labor to functionality, efficiency is the focus of businesses around the globe. As businesses adjust to the digital age, they expect efficiency among their IT professionals as well, which is one of the reasons — despite the skyrocketing workloads of IT professionals — IT departmental budgets only grew by $2,000 last year.

With such tight budgets, finding new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency is more important than ever. For many businesses, network support is one of the best places to start. Network maintenance and support costs take up to 70 percent of the average company’s IT budget, which is considerable given the costs of labor and equipment involved in IT. Most companies can reduce excess costs to their IT budget by finding a better source for their network upkeep.

Concerning network support, there are two options available to businesses today: support from your manufacturer or support from a third-party maintenance provider. It’s important to understand the differences between the two and what they mean for your business’ bottom line.

What Are the Differences Between Third-Party and OEM Network Maintenance?

Better known as OEMs, Original Equipment Manufacturers are the network equipment brands with which you’re familiar. From Cisco to Juniper to Alcatel-Lucent, OEMs often offer both equipment and support services for their users. One of these support services is network maintenance.

OEM-sourced network maintenance often appears to be the best option for IT professionals, and is marketed as such by the OEMs themselves. The most notable benefit for businesses using OEM support is the ability of the provider to ship spare parts from warehouses when IT equipment fails. Third-party providers often lack this option. With such detailed service and a deep understanding of the equipment, OEMs offer a viable support option for many businesses. It’s logical to think that OEM network maintenance providers must be the best maintenance resources for businesses, but they’re neither the best nor the only choices available.

OEM Network Maintenance services often come at reasonable prices immediately after you’ve first bought and set up your equipment. Some OEMs offer free support and setup services in the first few months after your purchase as a show of goodwill. After a few years, you may notice a sharp rise in your support bills. This isn’t a clerical error, and it’s likely part of your service contract. OEM support services do this intentionally.

The reasons for this price increase include the following:

  • Support Service Training: OEMs train their support staff to service any equipment currently in use. This means expanding their training with each new product line. The more equipment currently in use, the lengthier the training. This also means support staff takes longer to get from the interview to the phone line. By increasing the cost of supporting older models, OEMs encourage their users to update their systems. This makes it easier to phase out older models and omit them from their training programs. This is called the equipment’s End of Life, or EOL.
  • Bolster Sales of New Models: Increasing the pricing schedule of older models encourages their users to upgrade. This in itself is an attractive prospect for OEMs, as it increases the sale of new products and product lines. It’s also sensible from a business standpoint, as your current customer pool is your best source of new business. While good for the OEM, it’s inconvenient for users, incurring considerable costs either way.

Businesses using an OEM’s hardware and support service face a frustrating choice every time their OEM deems their hardware as outdated. They can either deal with increased service charges or switch their hardware out for the newer models. While the upgrade may seem the cheaper option in the long haul, hardware upgrades are extremely expensive in both the long and short term. Not only is there the immediate cost of the new hardware, but also the considerable labor needed to install the equipment and migrate data — plus the costs of potential data loss and corruption involved in the migration process.

Third-Party Network Maintenance is the alternative option to OEM network maintenance. While OEMs both manufacture and provide support for their hardware, third-party maintenance providers work primarily in support and resale services.

The lack of investment in hardware manufacturing is an important factor in distinguishing third-party service providers from OEM support services. The focus on affordable resale and maintenance services rather than hardware design and manufacturing means the incentive for these businesses is to provide the best service for the widest range of products, maintaining a wide range of OEMs and older product models. This is especially valuable, considering OEMs’ reluctance to service their older products.

What Are the Advantages of Third-Party Network Maintenance?

Third-party support providers are usually the most efficient maintenance service option for businesses of all types. A focus on service means your company benefits in many ways, including the following:

  • Cost Savings: Businesses of all sizes are constantly on the hunt for new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. Switching from an OEM to a third-party network maintenance solution is one of the best ways to do that — but exactly how much do you save with third-party network maintenance? NetGuard alone offers savings from 50 percent to as much as 90 percent.

Third-party support services do this by customizing and streamlining your maintenance service plans. OEM support providers offer inflexible pricing schedules with hidden fees and seemingly random increases in price. This often results in a higher monthly bill for your company, no matter how minimal your service needs. On the other hand, third-party support providers offer transparent pricing schedules with more service options, reducing your bill while increasing the quality of your service.

  • Increased Efficiency and Flexibility: Most data centers use equipment from several OEMs. Usually, this is a result of cost, an OEM switch or simple IT staff preference. Whatever the reason, such a collage of equipment can pose an expensive problem when it comes to support. Using equipment from multiple manufacturers means you may end up talking to several OEM representatives every time there’s a problem you can’t pinpoint. Not only can this be frustrating for your IT staff, but it can also extend the length of your downtime. It’s also expensive for your business, resulting in massive support bills and lost business connections.

The solution for businesses in this position is a cross-vendor support service that offers basic support for a wide variety of OEMs. While some OEMs offer these kinds of support services, they run at a much higher rate than normal. For third-party providers, however, this kind of service is standard. Independent support companies are often certified at the same level as OEM support staff, and can troubleshoot a wider range of brands and equipment models. This way, you can deal with all of your network problems through a single point of contact.

  • Extended Equipment Lifespan: Most OEMs will advise you to replace your equipment before its EOL date. This is usually five to ten years after the release of the model. Once the EOL date has passed, the OEM will cut off their support for that hardware. However, the average functional lifespan of network hardware is often more than double what your OEM tells you, ranging from 18 to 33 years. Unfortunately, the lack of support from OEMs results in more than 85 percent of users prematurely tossing their old systems. To solve this dilemma, third-party providers offer support for older hardware up to 10 years after their EOL dates, effectively extending their lifespans and reducing replacement costs for their users.
  • Customizable Plans: Of all the problems with OEM service providers, the lack of flexibility is the most frustrating for businesses. OEM support services usually come at a single flat rate that covers all the OEMs’ basic support functions, most of which only apply to certain business types. As your equipment ages, this rate increases, as do any fees incurred for “special” support services. For most businesses, this means you end up paying extra for the services you need, while still paying a flat rate for services you never use. Third-party support service providers offer an alternative solution: customizable service plans. Instead of paying a flat rate for a fixed package of services, you can choose the specific services you know you’ll use. You pay for what you need — no more, no less.
  • Better Service: An incredible 81 percent of OEM users reported some level of dissatisfaction with their providers. Among the complaints filed was the claim that providers misrepresented the value of the services they provided. While OEM support providers often boast about the value of their services, their value is actually relatively low. Despite how much you’ll pay for an OEM service provider, the services covered in their flat rate are superficial, and any detailed troubleshooting or diagnostic services stay locked behind a steep paywall. When you choose a third-party service, you can expect professional-level support at a reasonable price.

These benefits have convinced many businesses to switch from OEM to third-party network maintenance. However, many companies still enjoy the benefits offered by OEM support services, particularly their ability to ship spare parts for failing equipment.

Instead of dedicating themselves to one option or the other, many companies choose a balance between the two types of network maintenance providers. These businesses usually seek basic support from a third-party provider, turning to an OEM when they have more specific needs.

A high-quality, third-party support service can help you to further minimize your OEM service needs. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Worldwide Services’ NetGuard Maintenance is what you need.

What Makes NetGuard Better than OEM Services?

When it comes to third-party providers, quality varies. Higher-end companies often mirror OEMs in their pricing schedules, while low-end providers offer a cheap option in both price and quality. It’s often tough to find a company that strikes a balance between quality and cost. NetGuard offers the best option in each category, offering functionality beyond that of most third-party support providers while keeping costs low.

Some of the most notable benefits of NetGuard over either OEM or other third-party service providers include:

  • Single Portal Service: Juggling multiple passwords for all the OEMs your company uses can be confusing. This is especially true if your company uses more than four OEMs. Netguard offers a simple solution — a single web portal that allows you access to all your maintenance agreements and plans, as well as past and future orders.
  • Vast Troubleshooting Capabilities: NetGuard supports over 200 past and present product lines from a wide range of manufacturers. From Cisco to Ciena to Oracle, our field-tested technicians know it all. With over 30 years combined experience in troubleshooting and managing major OEM brands, our team can handle anything.
  • Equipment Substitutions: Equipment fails, and when it does, so does your system. It can take days for replacement equipment to arrive, and every day you wait is another day your profits plummet. Be prepared for every situation with NetGuard’s Cloud-Sparing™ program. This program protects your critical systems from outages, arming you with ready-to-install spares. We’ll store this Worldwide Supply owned equipment on-site so you can deploy it immediately with the help of our 24-hour support line.
  • Impressive Response Time: Worldwide Services has service centers and warehouses around the world. Why? So we can see each one of our markets in person. As part of our service guarantee, we offer four-hour on-site service from our top-notch engineers and technical staff.

With all these incredible benefits, it’s no wonder Worldwide Services sports a customer satisfaction rating of 99.9 percent!

Learn More about NetGuard

Globally recognized as the premier networking equipment provider and partnered with over 14,000 businesses, Worldwide Services is a company that prides itself on its exceptional customer service. Regardless of the location or circumstance, we support each one of our customers with quality consulting and technical support services.

All our services keep up with the highest industry standards. We do it because, at Worldwide Services, we strive to offer our clients the best quality in the industry.

read more

Leading Technology Brands Supported