Network Design and Implementation
We have been designing and deploying networks since 1995. This experience allows SOS to implement solutions proven by years of success and practical, hands on work. The key to building a reliable and efficient network is PLANNING! Planning for a network means that a series of criteria should be defined that will determine the topology, number of nodes, cabling type, performance requirements, along with other components. By taking the time to plan for the future, rather than just administering current needs, a network can significantly improve the productivity of an enterprise.
- LAN/WAN Design
Business networks range from simple "plug it into the switch" networks to complicated segmented systems connecting remote offices and campuses via multiple broadband circuits. Assessing current and future needs is important in order to choose the correct hardware fitted to the task. For most solutions SOS recommends a layered approach. Cisco routers at the WAN connection, SonicWall at the "perimeter" and Hewlett Packard ProCurve for the internal switching. Some might question the selection of multiple vendors for the product solution. We balance that concern with benefit of having best of breed for the task at hand. Cisco is the unquestionable leader in routing with a staggering 95% market share. SonicWall firewalls, or Unified Thread Management devices, (keep it simple... firewalls) are very easy to manage, amazingly reliable and very, very good at protecting and monitoring network activity. Hewlett Packard ProCurve networking gear is enterprise grade equipment. Lifetime warranty, robust, scalable and easily manageable, HP networking gear is a premium choice but worth the expense in constructing a reliable network.
Before embarking upon a network overhaul or an in-house network design, run it by professionals who have learned by experience what solutions work well.
A Virtual LAN is a technology that allows a network to be efficiently segmented in order to isolate traffic and/or otherwise organize network nodes or groups of nodes for easier management and enhanced security. Small networks rarely require VLAN technology. However, in environments where large amounts of traffic traverse the network a VLAN can improve network performance. As the name suggests, Virtual LANs allow computers to be on different networks without being in different physical locations. HP ProCurve networking products are excellent choices for implementing VLAN technology.
- Virtual Private Networking
When remote locations need data connectivity to the home office or another location, the most common method of accomplishing this today is by use of Virtual Private Network or VPN. This technology uses data encryption over any Internet connection to connect computers together in a very cost effective way. From telecommuting to tying large networks together, VPN technology allows for data to flow beyond the local network. SonicWall makes implementing VPN easy and reliably. SOS has implemented VPN's for many sizes of businesses. Contact us if remote connectivity is a requirement for your network project.
- Wireless Networking
Many businesses decide to deploy wireless on their own. "How hard can it be?" many believe and purchase a wireless router from the local office superstore. Often, they come to SOS for assistance because:
- It doesn't work right
- poor range (dead spots)
- poor security
- no tangible security reporting or management
- poor expandability
Sometimes in a small office an off-the-shelf Linksys, or similar, wireless device will fit the bill, even if many advanced features are lacking. However, usually the low priced products are insufficient for business needs. Much, much more than wired networks, wireless networks require great security and great reporting to notify managers of access attempts. SOS usually recommends SonicWall brand SonicPoint wireless access points for wireless installations due to their robust nature and excellent reporting and management capabilities.
- Network Management and Auditing
Network management allows the appropriate personnel to remotely view various network devices, such as computers, printers, switches, servers, UPS sources, and firewalls, for errors, intrusions, failures, thresholds and general maintenance. Not all businesses need extensive management depending upon the size of the infrastructure. Having network devices be able to report events to a centralized repository only improves the ability of a company to manage it's IT resources. HP ProCurve Manager is an example of an easy to use application for collecting network information and is bundled with HP ProCurve networking gear.
- Microsoft Active Directory Design
SOS has been deploying Microsoft based networks since the company inception. Microsoft Active Directory is the foundation of the Microsoft server system. Active Directory allows for easy management of users, computers, and other Windows manageable devices on the network. A properly designed Windows Server system using Active Directory provides for a resilient and efficient network. Contact SOS for more information on how Active Directory technology via Windows Server can benefit your business.
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention
Intrusion detection systems are usually focused at the "perimeter" of the network where Internet or other WAN connections link to the internal network. Next to wireless security, perimeter security is often unmonitored. Intrusion detection encompasses a very broad category of software and equipment. Often, one of the most important components to prevent intrusion is to have good monitoring of systems. SonicWall firewalls interface with SonicWall Global Management System (GMS) to collect many kinds of data, from intrusion attempts to Internet usage by network users, as well as device monitoring for fault or failure. GMS is a very powerful tool for managing and monitoring Internet activity and complements the firewall devices well.
SOS specializes in network design. Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, Virtual Private Networking and Firewalls, SOS has the proven solutions and expertise.
- Backup systems
Saving one of the most important for last, backup systems are frequently given little more than lip service in many businesses. Backup is frequently ignored until it is too little too late. SOS attacks backup problems by multiple avenues. A high quality tape backup system is critical for being able to take data offsite in case of catastrophic failure by fire, flood, theft or other natural disaster. The problem with tape systems is the manual intervention required in switching tapes on a daily or weekly basis. Many businesses fail to assign that responsibility to personnel or fail to audit the process. Also, businesses frequently fail to test backup systems for accuracy or even operation. As a secondary means of ensuring backup, SOS recommends disc-to-disc backup in coordination with tape systems. "D2D", as it is called, is much faster than tape and usually has a higher success rate. Finally, SOS implements system imaging software, such as Acronis, to create perfect copies of key systems which are then available for restoration in case of failure.
By using a blended approach, vital data is much less susceptible to loss.