Starting with a Strong Foundation

I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges, the knowledge I have gained and the success I have had in my career in 20+ years working in network infrastructure and communications. I am very excited the enter the next phase of my career as I accept my newest appointment, Director, Communications & Collaboration for Compugen. Like any transition, it has had its challenges, but 6 months into the role, I’m pleased with the progress the team is making.

With new roles come new challenges, so when I was approached by our fabulous marketing team to write a blog my immediate thought was, “A blog, are you kidding me … I am not a blogger!” However, nor am I the type of person to turn down a challenge, so in my 1st blog, it seemed fitting to speak to a bit of wisdom that helped guide me to this point of my career; whether you’re working on your career, a project, or growing a business, it is imperative to create a strong foundation of knowledge as early as possible.

So, how does this relate to you?

One of the most relevant challenges I see faced by organizations relates to the overall understanding of their existing infrastructure: What products do I have in place? Where are these products located? Do I have support on my critical devices? Having this information about your environment at your fingertips truly is foundational. IT Resource Managers often struggle to find information quickly – or, worse, at all. Assurance that you have the right coverage, on the right devices is essential to keeping your environment up and running, and therefore meeting the demands of stakeholders and customers.

The network is an area of particular importance when it comes to ensuring seamless coverage. Without easy access to data, it becomes difficult to proactively manage devices – or receive timely service when issues arise. In a world of “always on”, this can have devastating business impact. With a guiding principle of simplicity, and a goal to address these concerns, we created a simple solution that wraps around Cisco’s Smart Net to provide all the data a manager might require, while providing insight that allows for constant and effective coverage.

Visibility allows for control. Cisco has determined that their smart-enabled clients have reduced their downtime by an average of 75%; providing excellent responsiveness to customers and decreasing the time spent on preventable issues.

Once, it was viable to manage your Cisco environment via Excel spreadsheets, now it is simply no longer an option. Networks are the backbone of our businesses and are only becoming larger and more complex; a reality that becomes clear when preventable issues become major outages, or coverage falls off critical devices just when it is needed most.

We were incredibly proud when Cisco cited our work on this solution as they recognized Compugen as Cisco’s Canada Services Partner of the Year earlier this year. They understand that businesses need the strong knowledge foundation that a solution like this provides.

Listening to the common network challenges our clients experience was the driver behind creating our solution. Below I have highlighted some key insights we learned along the way. If you’re responsible for making sure your network is covered, current and supported, and are moving from reactive to proactive monitoring, I hope these insights will help you build your foundation of knowledge for your business.

#1 – Uncover where your coverage is
With multiple products and contracts being the new norm, it’s difficult and sometimes overwhelming to track support status on every device–unless you have a comprehensive dashboard to refer to. Without this, you’re likely to be left wondering, where exactly is my coverage? If you’re accessing records individually, it’s only a matter of time before a gap will occur. Instead of hoping you’ve covered all your bases during a critical period (like moving offices, or an expansion) it’s possible to get ahead of these risks. Look for a cloud-based portal to help you see at a glance exactly which devices are and aren’t supported.

#2 – Differentiate between too much service, and not enough
It’s not uncommon for organizations to have hardware that’s covered on more than one contract, while you need to be covered appropriately, redundancy like this only incurs an unnecessary additional cost. Set your organization up for success with coverage that’s no more, and no less than what you need.

#3 – Custom control and authorization
Detailed control and management of network entitlement is an important security consideration. When entitlement issues can be addressed rapidly, with a web-based portal, compliance issues can be resolved, and new policies implemented immediately – limiting any issues for the business.

#4 – Get the right data, to the right person, at the right time
After receiving a volume of security alerts, how can you readily distinguish which ones are and aren’t relevant to your business? It helps if you can pull all your product information into a single dashboard, and receive access to real-time security alerts. When a severe security issue arises, you’ll want a solution that allows you to pull device information and uncover insights that will help you respond effectively.

#5 – Improve life-cycle planning
With so many devices, it might feel impossible to anticipate when each one is reaching the end of its lifespan. Look for a solution that provides visibility into end-of-life/ support dates, allowing you to quickly assess and determine which products should be refreshed.

How has your organization set up your own strong foundation of network knowledge? Let us know in the comments. Have a question? Let’s chat.

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