5 Excellent Benefits of Using a Network Topology Tool

In the digital era, modern businesses rely on technology and connectivity in such a way that even a minor network issue can halt productivity and incur significant costs. If one of the customers of your managed services provider (MSP) experiences a network issue as described, they will be left frustrated and may potentially even consider taking their business elsewhere.

A network topology tool can help MSPs safeguard the continuity of their customers’ networks to prevent such scenarios from happening. This network topology tutorial will outline the basics of networking and topology, in addition to demonstrating how MSPs can benefit from using a network topology tool.

The importance of network visibility

To explain the importance of network visibility, it’s important to begin by summarizing what network topology is. Network topology is the visual arrangement of the various elements of a communication network, such as in a network diagram. Network diagrams illustrate the components of a computer or telecommunications network, including firewalls, devices, and routers. They also show how network components relate to and interact with each other. Network topology diagrams play a key role in establishing clear network visibility.

There are several reasons why comprehensive and clear network visibility is important. As cybercrime has increased over time, network blindspots have become a source of major concern for businesses. Network blind spots are areas of unknown vulnerabilities that can potentially serve as a direct route for cybercriminals to infiltrate your network. Network visibility keeps you informed of what’s happening in your network, helping you spot weaknesses and forming an essential part of your data security strategy.

Network visibility is especially important for MSPs, because they are likely to be managing the networks of a number of customers simultaneously. Network diagrams are a useful way of keeping track of all the networks you are responsible for managing, because they can give you at-a-glance insight. They provide your IT team with a visual representation of the network, helping them locate and identify issues quickly.

Benefits of using a network topology tool

Other than the crucial ability to offer a simple, visual way of pinpointing possible problems, network diagrams can provide a range of other benefits to your organization:

PLANNING NETWORK UPDATES

Whenever you need to make a change on a network, you can refer back to your network diagram. This is very useful in a number of scenarios, such as when you need to add more devices to your network, when you are trying to determine where you have port space availability, and when you are trying to figure out how a device will connect to the internet. Anytime you need to make a modification, however small, referring back to your network diagram can give you critical insight and help inform your decisions.

TRACKING PCI COMPLIANCE

If you collect credit card information from customers, it is crucial that you have proper firewalls and access control measures established to help keep this sensitive data secure. It is also important that you follow the requirements for physical security. With the right network topology tool, you can create network diagrams that help you prove and maintain compliance by meeting criteria outlined in PCI compliance standards.

CREATING NETWORK DOCUMENTATION

Network diagrams are a crucial piece of documentation that every department should have access to. This documentation helps ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the current state of the network and any upcoming alterations. Network documentation can assist with network troubleshooting, responding to audits, and conducting informed and comprehensive security reviews.

ONBOARDING

It is essential for everyone in your team to understand how the network functions and how all the components connect to each other. Network diagrams help you bring new IT engineers up to speed quickly and easily by providing them a visual overview of the network. With access to comprehensive network documentation, onboarding new members of the IT department becomes much simpler and gives them a clear point of reference as they’re learning the ropes.

PROVIDE REMOTE ASSISTANCE

If you need to provide assistance from a distance, up-to-date network diagrams can help your IT team provide remote support in the event of network issues. Network diagrams can also be used as a floorplan, allowing you to map out where physical equipment is located so your technicians can find it quickly in the event of a problem. This ensures that your incident response teams understand how customer offices are set up without needing to be physically present.

Network topology maps with SolarWinds N-central

N-able® N-central® is a highly versatile all-in-one remote monitoring and management solution that features powerful network mapping software. N-central offers a range of capabilities designed to help MSPs gain visibility into their network and their customers’ networks from a single dashboard.

The network topology mapping capabilities provided by N-central make it possible to automatically detect new devices and any changes made to network topology. The tool also schedules regular network scans to help ensure your map is an accurate visual representation of the network at all times. Moreover, being able to see how your network is laid out and connected helps your technicians rapidly identify where network issues are located, which results in easier troubleshooting, quicker resolution, and reduced downtime. The improved network visibility provided by this solution also makes onboarding easier, eliminating the need to make a trip to a customer site and saving you the effort of manually taking inventory of devices.

Beyond network topology mapping, N-central is a user-friendly and dynamic solution that provides a range of other capabilities designed to make MSP life easier. These include:

If you would like to try network topology mapping with N-central, a 30-day free trial is available.