Guide

Computer networking

Networking administration, support and maintenance

For your network to benefit your business, you must run it effectively. You must also carefully plan how you will maintain and develop it. Here are some best practices for your network administration, support and maintenance.

Appointing a network administrator

For a small network, it is worth appointing a network administrator and supporting that person with additional training. Ideally, the administrator would have some technical knowledge, but you can bring in expertise where necessary - although this can be costly. Choose someone who is methodical and good at keeping records and monitoring tasks.

The administrator's basic responsibilities include:

  • security, including password monitoring
  • disaster recovery planning

As the network grows the network administrator will need further training. At this point, you will need their expertise to also cover the installation, configuration and maintenance of PCs, networking equipment and network operating systems.

It is a good idea to define exactly what type of emergency support and after-sales services your technology providers should supply, as they can be an important point of contact for any queries or problems you may have. If they cannot provide these services, consider another supplier who can.

Find out how to choose an IT supplier for your business.

Network maintenance and compatibility

You also need to maintain your network. You'll need to monitor software compatibility. This doesn't necessarily mean automatically getting the latest release available. Compatibility needs to extend across the network, so you should carefully plan and budget for an upgrade strategy.

Make rules for file naming to ensure that changes take place to the right files at the right time. Multiple file copies will be created as employees download central files to work on whilst off-site and upload them later. Naming rules prevent overwriting of any changes made to the original files.