What is Network Support?
A network, in terms of Information Technology, is the exchange of information or data between nodes over an intentional, designed, shared, and connected system. This connected system, known as a network, allows its users to share, store, organize, and process information, perform work and provide services to others through utilizing connected components such as servers, storage devices, firewalls, switches, routers, and personal computers to complete the required task.
These components are classic examples of legacy items found in a network, however, as technology continues to evolve in the 21st century at a rate of doubling computing capacity and processing capability every 18 months, many everyday electronic devices such as refrigerators, smart TV’s and even some coffeemakers have network connectivity options as well, using smart technology to improve functionality and usability of those devices! Essentially, a strong and efficient network will provide the same improved and enhanced capability and functionality to most processes and machines as is found in the example of modern appliances. Connectivity with purpose and value are the key tenets of a strong and functional network.
Network Support is essentially defined as the design, planning, implementation, and maintenance activities associated with the creation, configuration, and upkeep of your organization’s computer network infrastructure. Network Support also optimizes and troubleshoots the integration of hardware, software, personal devices, and other components that interact with one another in order to streamline the functionality and ease of use of the system as a whole. The goal of this type of upkeep is to assure that compatibility is maintained, and that your network can handle the bandwidth necessary to serve the needs of your organization efficiently while keeping an eye on future growth through implementing scalability into the design or augmentation of the infrastructure of the network.
Network Support also defines ways that the individuals who use the network will be served and supported throughout the use, augmentation, and maintenance of their organization’s network – troubleshooting issues that regularly arise, as well as the testing and development of enhanced features, redesigns, and increasing the productivity and functionality of the network as improvements are available or needed.
Computer Networking: The Basics
Computer Networking allows for devices and components to be connected to one another through a network such as a small Local Area Network, or a global network such as the Internet. Connectivity is the essential function of all networks large and small and enables users to communicate, serve, and support the information that is shared throughout the system. A functional and successful network will seamlessly provide connectivity between users and resources, as well as have built-in functionality and protocols that will allow for easy augmentation, maintenance, and improvement when necessary to support its users.
Two Types of Networks
Primarily, there are two types of computer networks that are used in modern networking: Wired and wireless networks.
Wired networks use physical cabling and infrastructure to transmit data between nodes. These networks integrate copper-cabling due to the low cost, durability, and availability of wiring. Copper cabling is commonly used for most businesses and homes for these reasons, as well as the lack of need for major bandwidth requirements for the relatively smaller number of users on the network.
Optical Fiber cable is typically used in order to more efficiently move data and information over greater distances to support a larger user base. However, this type of cabling is more expensive, as well as less durable due to the nature of optical fiber.
Wireless networks use radio waves to transmit data and information over the airwaves, allowing for users as well as their devices to connect to a network without a direct cable connection. These types of connections are typically used locally through Wireless LAN networks, however can also be deployed through the use of satellite, Bluetooth, cellular, and microwave transmissions. A benefit of wireless networking is that these types of networks provide a higher level of mobility, flexibility, and scalability that make the functionality of this type of connectivity more attractive to many users. Unfortunately, wireless networks are inherently less secure than their wired counterparts, however as cloud-based networks continue to modernize and evolve, security measures are being developed as a design feature of these kinds of networks, allowing for security to be a central focus of development.
- Open system: A system that is connected to a network and open for communication
- Closed system: A system that is not connected to a network and is closed to outside communication
- Computer Network: A collection of multiple devices or hosts, that are connected to migrate data and information. Computer networks also include the multiplicity of mediums and devices which assist in the integration between two or more different network devices.
- Network devices: Devices such as routers, switches, hubs, and bridges.
- Network Topology: The arrangement of different devices that are part of a network.
- OSI: Open Systems Interconnection – Specifically defines the standards of communications protocols and functionality of each.
- Protocol: A set of rules and algorithms that define the way two devices can communicate across the network. Different protocols in the OSI model include TCP, IP, UDP, DHCP, FTP, and ARP.
Unique Network Identifiers
- Host name: Each device on the network is associated with a unique name known as a hostname.
- IP Address: The Internet Protocol address, or Logical address, is the network address of the device or system across the network.
- MAC Address: The Media Access Control address is the unique physical address of each host, and is associated with its own Network Interface Card or NIC. Each MAC address is assigned to a Network Interface Card when it is manufactured.
- Port: A logical channel through which data and information can be sent or received through an application. Each application can be identified by using the Port number.
- Socket: The combination of the IP address and Port number is known as the Socket.
Related Concepts and Definitions
- DNS Server: Domain Name System – a service that translates web addresses and URLs into corresponding IP Addresses.
- ARP: Address Resolution Protocol – Converts IP Addresses into its corresponding MAC address.
- RARP: Reverse Address Resolution Protocol – Provides the IP address of a device by looking up its physical address.
Categories of Computer Networks
Computer networks are generally categorized by their size and are separated into four distinct definitions: LAN (Local Area Network), PAN (Personal Area Network), MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), and WAN (Wide Area Network). Here are the specifics of each type of network:
- LAN (Local Area Network)
- A small group of computers connected to one another in a localized area.
- Used in connecting two or more computers through a wired communications medium such as cabling.
- Built with inexpensive hardware components, so is less costly overall to build and maintain.
- Data transmission is extremely fast.
- LAN provides more robust security.
- PAN (Personal Area Network)
- A network created for an individual who typically is in close physical proximity to the network hub.
- Used for connecting the computer devices of personal users.
- Covers a 30-foot radius.
- Developed to be used with personal computing devices such as laptops, mobile phones, media players, and gaming consoles.
- MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
- A network that is spread across a larger geographic area by interconnecting smaller LAN’s to form a larger network infrastructure through telephone exchange lines
- Used by Government agencies to connect to citizens and private industries.
- Widely used protocols for Metropolitan Area Networks are ADSL, RS-232, Frame Relay, ATM, ISDN, and OC-3 protocols.
- Larger range than Local Area Networks.
- WAN (Wide Area Network)
- A network that encapsulates a larger geographical area such as a state or country.
- Much larger and more robust than the LAN.
- Not limited to a single location; spans across a large geographical area through telephone lines, fiber optic cables, or satellites.
- The internet is the largest WAN in the world.
- Widely used in Business, Education, and Government Applications.
- Defined as two or more computer network LANs or WANs connected using devices configured using a local addressing protocol.
- Interconnection between public, private, commercial, industrial, or government networks.
- Uses internet protocols.
- Uses Open System Interconnection(OSI) as a reference model.
Serving the End User: Network Support for the Individual
In a world that incorporates so many components, devices, machines, and protocols, it can be extremely easy to lose focus of the individuals who are behind these devices and 1’s and 0’s. The term used for the human element behind all of the technology, protocols and cyber-slang usage is known as The End User. The individual who physically interacts and uses the network is the most important component of Network Support. Typically, the end-users who are interacting with the network, unless specifically a part of the Network IT profession, are novices in relation to the IT Network professionals who maintain and support these systems. As part of Network Support, it is essential that professional staff not only service the network and infrastructure that it supports but also educates those who use and support these apparatus.
Cycurion IT specialists understand the need to not only support the machine, but also the importance of educating the person behind the equipment. Through educating the End User of the functionality, benefits, and parameters that govern the Network that is being supported, trust is nurtured, and confidence is gained. Many issues can arise in an integrated computer network, especially as the gulf between understanding the technology, and the Users themselves exponentially grows year after year. Keeping the end-user educated and aware is of the highest priority to our Network Support experts. We understand that serving the mission of the network is as important as providing the experience and equipment that is used for this mission.
Ideally, Network Support services will cover every aspect of operational need for the end-user and the organization that they work with. To this end, Cycurion provides a robust and detailed menu of services to support your organization’s network. We implement best practices across your platform for everything from Network Security to governance protocols to help define the usage and parameters that your network will provide for the end-user, as well as others who interact with it. We will help analyze your Network and provide you with a menu of improvements and options that will support your network from concept to implementation, as well as look to the future for scalability and advanced threat monitoring to keep your network working, evolving, and secure.
Services That Support Network Operations
Computer Network Security
Network Security has always been important since the creation of the first computer network. As the security perimeter of organizations has grown, the areas where a network may be breached, attacked, or otherwise compromised has also drastically increased. In recent years, as Network IT has evolved from physical infrastructure to cloud-based computing, keeping a computer network secure has become more important than ever before. Data can now be compromised as easily as forgetting your password, or a bad actor leveraging Phishing campaigns to implement malicious programs into the end-users network through social manipulation and engineering attacks.
Cycurion implements a robust security perimeter that will not only protect your components as well as applications from attack but will also educate and train your staff to anticipate, mitigate, and resolve possible attacks based on social engineering. Ultimately, Cycurion will implement best of breed security through applying a uniquely analytical approach to understanding the vulnerabilities of your Network. Our solutions rooted in more than a decade of working with the Federal Government lends us a deeper understanding of the basis for these attacks and the methodology that bad actors use to attack networks. Through understanding and analysis, we will anticipate your organization’s weak points and create customized solutions to reinforce your organization’s security posture.
Cycurion leverages its deep understanding and trend-based analytical posture to augment and inform your organization by implementing strategic consulting and advice for your operation. We implement advanced Strategic Consulting in network support, in order to provide a sound and accurate assessment of your IT network’s capabilities, weaknesses, maturity, and operational adequacies. Cycurion has a team of seasoned professionals who will work with your Network support professionals to create or strengthen your network and as well as advise your organization in best-practice methodology in implementation, training, and maintenance requirements to keep your network operations running smoothly.
Cycurion professionals utilize best practices derived from our extensive experience working with the Federal Government, to provide your organization with a precise and outlined understanding of your network’s capabilities, and the data and information on how to streamline your network for optimal effectiveness.
Engineering & Architecture
Our system engineering and architecture assessment teams expertly review your network architecture, processes, and technologies to evaluate the effectiveness and current capabilities of your network structure. Through this analysis, Cycurion will create an informed and specific protocol where our highly knowledgeable staff of Network Analysts will implement best-practice organizational techniques, required maintenance services, and a streamlining action plan in order to best fit and support your business need. Cycurion also offers network engineering and design, as well as performance measurement and management tools such as Configuration management System, regression testing, security, and testing Proof of concept and simulation implementation.
Network engineering and design
Cycurion understands the complexities and challenges in developing an efficient, adequate, and scalable network design that will adhere to your business need, as well as serve your organization and clientele at the highest levels. As part of our full spectrum Network and Engineering services, our expert analysts will provide a deeply researched methodology to help troubleshoot network challenges in your current system, as well as design and implement upgraded and evolved technology to reinforce or replace legacy equipment. Cycurion’s analysts will also implement support services for all functionality including project management for network design, analysis and tuning of your current network, designing and developing a new network, network configuration, rapid network deployment, and Moves adds and changes to your network.
Governance is a necessary set of rules and systems by which your organization directs Network Support efforts across your network. Governance defines a chain of command when making decisions that affect your network, assigning responsibility, and a specific chain of decision making. Cycurion will help create or redefine your network support Governance protocols, specifying accountability, and providing specific directives that will ensure direct guidance and methodology for operation-specific tasks, and who ultimately is responsible for actionable resolution. Aligning with NIST guidelines, Cycurion will establish a framework of accountability and a guide map for successfully aligning your Network Support needs to the business objectives you wish to accomplish while mitigating loss of efficiency and supporting the health of your network.
The challenge of providing seamless, integrated workflow and data for your organization is an extremely complicated undertaking. Often, individual departments have independently developed their own business applications and server configurations. Legacy systems cling to life and become difficult and expensive to maintain. Silos of data are not compatible, difficult to access, and often contain redundant and inconsistent values. Users sometimes must log into multiple systems separately to perform their jobs.
To resolve these problems requires strategic and tactical technology integration plans that address your overall enterprise architecture. Cycurion technology Integration professionals will work with you to assess your current enterprise architecture and application environment. We will document our initial observations and recommendations, and based on these initial findings, the Cycurion team will create a comprehensive Technology Integration Plan that will identify a strategic direction for your organization.
Cycurion provides a deeply analytical methodology when advising our clients on best-practice Network support solutions for their operation. Our Network Support Operations ideology stems from the need for your organization’s IT network to operate efficiently, productively, and with as few imperfections as possible. We leverage a deep understanding and research-based approach to providing the tools necessary to meet traffic requirements, supporting the end-user with seamless integration of tools, and continued maintenance of your network to assure usability and compliance with your business need.
Cycurion will leverage our in-depth understanding and research-based methodology in order to assist your organization reach operational maturity by leveraging our proven experience in the Federal Government. Managed Services enables your organization to function with fewer operational burdens, to improve service levels, and to focus on higher-level business activities needed to build a sustainable advantage.
Our Managed Services will manage part or all of your technical infrastructure as well as compliance operations. Let us assess your current situation and recommended methods, practices, and revisions that will keep your operations running smoothly.
Cycurion offers managed services for Voice and Data models including Network Analysis and Tuning, and Performance Analysis, and improvement recommendations for voice and data networks.
Why is it advantageous to outsource our network support to a company like Cycurion?
Hiring a professional Network Support Company such as Cycurion will lower the total cost of ownership for both direct and indirect costs associated with the creation of a powerful, secure, functional, adaptable, agile, and scalable network configuration.
Cycurion will not only give you the tools and guidance to implement your network support successfully, but will also provide fully trained and experienced staff to help maintain, streamline, and rollout your network to the end-users, assuring that your Network will continue to run smoothly, regardless of the details.
Cycurion provides 24/7/365 Network Support coverage whenever you need it no matter what. As our Network Support services are truly round the clock, all day in and day out, there is no definition of the business hours when we are available to repair or support your Network. Cycurion stands ready to provide these services whenever called upon.