Executive Survival Guide: The Tech Chasm – Network

business_executive_network_components_of_I.T._infrastructureRecently, we discussed the evolving nature of IT¬†within the enterprise, and the widening “Tech Chasm” this creates between business executives and achieving the company mission.

Due to the fact that IT now affects virtually every aspect of a given organization, it has become imperative for executives to take into account current and upcoming technologies when developing strategies for their firms.

Fortunately, executives do not need to completely understand every detail of their organizations’ IT in order to make intelligent business decisions. But instead, obtain base-level knowledge that can guide their strategies. Specifically, they need to focus on their firms’ networks, security and expertise.

This post will briefly cover the first of these areas.

The IT network

While at first glance, it may appear that no two organizations’ networks are alike. In fact, local area networks (LAN) basically have the same fundamental components. Much like how human bodies are 99.9 percent the same, it is only by layering specific applications (like one’s personality in relationship to the body) that an individual network distinguishes itself.

On the most basic level, there are six components which are present in virtually every network: cabling, router, switch, firewall, server and end-points.

Cabling refers simply to the physical cables that connect the various devices and hardware that operate on a given network. Examples of critical cables include power, coaxial, Ethernet, patch, optic and others.

The enterprise router is very similar to the personal routers most people have in their homes. These devices are more powerful, and more important, when used to transmit signals to a business’s network.

The switch is essential for directing signals sent from one device on the network to another. Without a high-quality switch solution, networks cannot function properly.

The firewall is vital for security. It creates a barrier around the network to prevent malware and viruses from damaging operations or stealing sensitive data.

The server fulfills a variety of key roles which may or may not include hosting databases, web functions, mail, applications and more. Server virtualization is a maturing technology that decouples the one application to one server relationship.

Lastly, end-points include any and all devices that are used by employees to access the network (desktop, laptop, printers, VoIP phones, wireless devices, etc.). They must be able to communicate and collaborate with one another and the network as a whole to maximize productivity.

By simply scratching the surface of these various areas, business executives can gain a sufficient understanding of their companies’ IT infrastructure, allowing them to bridge the chasm, and get back to the mission.

 

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