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Today’s Network Is More

Demanding Than Ever Learn How to Futureproof It and Stay In Control

Upgrading your network can seem like a daunting task when you need to consider new demands like cloud computing, tablets, smartphones, and around-the-clock usage. In this issue of Meet the Expert, Brian Conway, HP Networking Development Specialist for PC Connection, shares his insights about some of the challenges that surround today’s networking needs.

Q: Over the past several years, how have the demands on the network evolved and what new things are affecting today’s networks?

A: Today CIOs are interested in how an upgrade to their network will affect their business—how it will save them money, how it will save them time, and how it will increase their bottom line. There is a lot more going over the network now, like video. We used to tolerate a lag of a second or two when sending an email. Now there can’t be any lag at all because the receiver will instantly notice it.

Q: Many organizations are focused on cloud computing. What additional demand does cloud computing put on a network?

A: The cloud has its own set of security risks because end-users are not physically sitting in the location where their data is stored. They have to trust that their data is going to the right place and that they will be able to access it at any time. With cloud computing, organizations need fail-safes like backup and disaster recovery systems installed on their network. Networks have to be faster because data has to travel over an

Internet connection and be available at all times. Organizations will need to have people working around the clock at mission-critical times to be sure nothing goes wrong.

Q: Consumers have embraced the cloud. Do you feel that IT has been playing “catch up” in this area?

A: Absolutely. The demand is there, and the technology is there, but the question is, “Who is going to manage it?” Cloud computing is something that is new to everyone; with it we have much more storage and new ways to access data from anywhere. But it is diffi cult for an IT person because they have to fi nd a way to manage it, make it work, and provide instant access.

Q: Ultimately the job of a network, and of the IT supporting that network, is to ensure a high quality of service for everyone—this is a big challenge. What other challenges do IT administrators face today?

A: Technology keeps getting faster and newer—quicker than it ever was before. The lifecycles of programs, products, and hardware can be obsolete within 6 months of introduction. Most of the time, IT administrators don’t know how to install this new technology yet because the programmers haven’t fi nished designing it before it has come out. That is one of the struggles. Another struggle is that today everything is done over the Web. This means that IT administrators need 24 x 7 management. They need to have line-of-sight to just about everything on their network at all times. Otherwise, there will be a bottleneck and they aren’t going to know where it is. This could affect someone’s workfl ow, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line.

Q: What are some of the top obstacles that IT departments face when trying to be proactive about their network?

A: There are a couple of things that are very important. One is line-of-sight— being able to see everything on your network. An IT person may say, “I don’t really know what’s in my network. And I don’t really know exactly how fast it is.” This is where problems start to

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