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Why Network Documentation Management is Key for Scaling You Business Network

Posted by MHO Networks on Oct 8, 2019 1:36:00 PM

Network Documentation ManagementBusinesses know the importance of keeping up with vital documents. In the current digital age, this is primarily handled by some form of document management solution. These include some way to input documents, collate them, tag them for easy referencing, store them, and retrieve them when necessary. The same basic system is needed for your company’s network documentation management. 

What is Network Documentation Management? 

Network documentation management maintains the records about your company’s computer network. IT personnel or network administrators use this data to troubleshoot and repair network issues as they arise. A complete set of records allows IT professionals to quickly see how your network is built, and how it works, so timely repairs can be made. 

This network documentation will also include notations of when and where upgrades, component replacements or additions, and repairs have been made. This information, properly dated and recorded, is vital to know when new issues or problems arise, or new IT personnel are tasked with oversight. A well-documented record of how everything in the network relates together is an essential tool for making timely repairs. 

The goal of effective and accurate network documentation management is to keep your company network at peak operating efficiency with the least possible amount of downtime. 

Why is Network Documentation Management Important?

The ability to lay hands quickly on a variety of network records is vital for a number of reasons. With network documentation management, your overall goals are to:

  • Make information readily available to resolve issues quickly. Every minute your network is down costs you in productivity and profit. The faster problems can be solved, the better. 
  • Minimize user downtime. Network drawings can help facilitate communication. A well-drawn schematic to show your network layout can make the difference between a repair or upgrade that takes minutes, or hours trying to explore and understand written descriptions. 
  • Understand the schematics of your company’s network. Knowing the layout of your network and how each part relates to the others is important, especially when making repairs or adding new components. 

What Should Your Network Documentation Management Include?

What is included in your company’s network documentation depends largely on the size of your network. For example, a small network with one switch and a firewall with a single access point needs very little documentation, and perhaps only one diagram. But the larger your network becomes, communication between teams becomes key and documentation is required for ease of handover between employees, contractors or external parties. 

Auvik, a company that provides document management solutions, suggests including the following information in your network documentation. The data is categorized as critical, useful, and nice to have, relating to an item’s importance to your network documentation management. 

Importance

Document

Type

Notes

Critical

Layer 1 or Layer 1 / 2

Diagram

Should show key infrastructure

Critical

Layer 3

Diagram

Should show key infrastructure

Critical

Circuit numbers

Table

Sometimes this is done within a trouble ticketing system

Critical

IP Address allocation

Table

This could be a tool rather than a spreadsheet to allow easy sharing

Useful

Rack layout

Diagram

Particularly for data centre

Useful

WiFi layout

Diagram

Depending on how important the WiFi is

Useful

Cable plan

Diagram

Particularly useful if the drops are not numbered the same as the desk locations

Useful

Routing protocol

Diagram

Becomes critical if you run a routing protocol of any complexity

Useful

Security view

Diagram

This is more useful for explaining your security than for troubleshooting

Useful

Cloud services

Diagram

Becomes critical if you run a cloud of any complexity

Useful

Patching table

Table

Particularly useful during implementation

Useful

Asset tracking

Table

Particularly infrastructure assets and support contracts

Useful

Password vault

Table

Should be encrypted

Nice to have

Detailed design document

Document

Becomes critical in larger environments with lots of support staff

Nice to have

Support document

Document

Depends on support organization

Nice to have

Routing and spanning tree snapshots

Document

Useful for troubleshooting

Maintaining your company’s network at peak efficiency is vital to your success and profitability. Is it time to review your network’s capabilities with an eye on making improvements? MHO can provide effective solutions for all sizes of business networks. Give us a call today or drop a message through our website to ask about our networking services for businesses. 

Topics: Network, IT Manager, Business Tools, Network Efficiency, Network Access, Documentation Management

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