Why Managed Switches are Ideal for Midsize Business NetworksRita Mailheau
As customers prepare projects for the holidays and the new year looms just over the horizon, midsize companies are starting to ponder what infrastructure investments will yield the most growth in 2017.
Smaller businesses may be as well since the journey from small to medium is full of long range thinking and planning.
A rapidly growing company infrastructure looks quite similar to what you’d find in any established Data Center. Plans for expansion allow a company to grow on schedule, without making sacrifices to the customer experience.
One device in particular, can yield a hefty return on the money. I’m talking about managed ethernet switches.
Let’s spend some time covering what makes them unique and why they’re so effective for network infrastructures.
Types of Switches
To understand what’s different about a managed switch, you’ll first need to understand the capabilities and features of each type of ethernet switch.
Unmanaged switches are typically plug and play with no advanced configuration required. They don’t need a management interface or any particular way to enable/disable other interfaces.
This greatly simplifies deployment but the trade off is a complete lack of security features.
These switches have their place in the grand scheme of things, but a growing enterprise will need to consider carefully how they can be safely incorporated.
Smart switches are a hybrid of sorts. They offer limited feature sets while still not providing the full range of benefits found in managed switches.
For companies taking the long view toward growth, this is not a place to cut corners. Backtracking further down the road can be a major headache.
Managed switches allow for far greater security and offer significantly advanced access control features.
These switches allow software to perform to its fullest potential by capturing the full range of application capabilities.
I’d make the case that it’s a better practice to get things right the first time around. Let’s take a closer look at why managed switches are a better investment.
Advanced Managed Switch Outcomes
Managed switches offer built-in opportunities for expansion. Realistically, the ability to scale should always be considered.
The ability for your customer to grow revenue is relative to the ability of their technology to support critical business activities.
When designing a network of any size — from small home-based business network to a large server farm — designers and installers should look at features like port count, interface speed, and replication.
Here’s a more granular view of the unique ways managed switches get the job done.
Dual internet protocol compatibility
First, managed switches are designed to span the move from old IPv4 Internet protocol to the new IPv6. The current number of IP addresses on IPv4 are dwindling, and on the verge of depletion.
Managed switches have dual stack technology and will work with either protocol, thus future-proofing your infrastructure.
Geo-specific privacy requirements
Privacy is a growing concern for companies. In fact, many are now adding a Chief Privacy Officer to their boardroom to handle the intricacies of geo-specific privacy laws.
Information is money in the 21st century. Managed switches address this particular challenge by offering private Q-In-Q VLAN capabilities.
Network Security Features
Public facing externals like websites and wireless networks require separate access from internal structures. Network silos simplify essential security by limiting exposure and enhancing the ability of administrators to respond to threats.
But managed switches take this principle even further. Let’s examine how.
DHCP snooping layer 2 protection
IP Source Guard works in tandem with Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) to restrict untrusted Layer-2 traffic based on DHCP snooping, a listening capability inherent in managed ethernet switches.
This process tracks physical location of hosts. It also ensures that hosts use only the IP addresses assigned to them.
This means that it will also listen in on IGMP “conversations” between hosts and routers. This allows the switch to literally map out which links need to multicast streams.
This feature helps prevent IP spoofing attacks where hosts steal the IP address of another host.
Managed switches also feature “storm control” which can help insulate networks against Distributed Denial of Service attacks. These attacks are notorious for screening other hacker activities.
For the midsize company, a sturdy authentication process provides access limits for specific data within the enterprise. For example, Finance and Human Resource groups usually need to protect sensitive information.
Managed switches supports IEEE 802.1X authentication and advanced packet encryption to help fulfill those needs.
Real World Scenarios
Mid size businesses need multilayer redundancies in their network. The same is true for ISM (Industrial, Science and Medical) companies where the loss of critical data and critical performance could have catastrophic results.
Similarly, growing enterprises simply can’t afford to learn the hard way. Too many people depend on the efficiency and resiliency of the information and services these companies provide via online platforms.
The redundancies available in managed switches and their exceptionally robust feature sets clearly prove that they’re the only responsible choice for small and mid-size businesses to make when upgrading network infrastructure.
We also have a short video that helps further explain how our managed switch software works to make network administrator lives easier.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our support staff. They’ll be happy to provide more information and can customize equipment orders to perfectly match your specific installation needs.