Computer network management typically involves the use and oversight of both hardware and software to ensure communication and data transfers between machines is steady and reliable. Different programs can be used to set up and monitor networks, and more complex systems often require elaborate software to manage them. The hardware that makes up a network, including the various computers and servers as well as network cables and other physical connections, may frequently need maintenance and repairs. Computer network management is typically established and maintained by using a network model that establishes how a system is run and guides Information Technology (IT) professionals through later issues.
Software is one of the major elements of computer network management, since programs are typically used to oversee and organize computer communications. IT managers often look at different software to see which programs are the most effective at dealing with the issues they are likely to face. They then choose and set up these programs to oversee the stability and activity on a network, often using them for both organization and security. Through computer network management, IT professionals are able to better deal with problems that may arise and to prevent many from occurring in the first place.
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Hardware is also an important aspect of computer network management, as even the best software is useless without machines on which to run it. The physical devices connected to each other as part of a network often include numerous computers, servers or other data hosts, and shared resources such as printers or scanners that can be accessed by different users. All of these devices need to be properly set up and maintained through proper computer network management, to ensure there is no downtime and that data is accessible. This can require a great deal of physical maintenance, software monitoring to look for potential problems, and the installation of upgrades on a fairly regular basis.
The creation and use of a network model often makes computer network management simpler, as it provides guidelines for an IT team. This model can be fairly simple, often providing IT professionals with an outline of major goals that need to be achieved. More complex models can include methods by which these goals can be met and general instructions regarding oversight and maintenance of the network over its lifespan. Numerous established models have been created by technology organizations, which often serve as a rough draft or base upon which to expand. These models often ensure that everyone working on a team has a single vision and goal for computer network management.