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Understanding Computer Networks in IT

Why Does My It Team Keep Talking About Networks? One of the most common words you’ll hear in IT speak is “network.” Your IT team […]

Why Does My It Team Keep Talking About Networks?

One of the most common words you’ll hear in IT speak is “network.” Your IT team will talk about needing to monitor, protect, and upgrade a network. But what does “network” actually refer to?

At its simplest, a network is a collection of interconnected computers that communicate with each other to share resources and information. Imagine it as a digital spiderweb, where each strand represents a connection between devices, allowing them to "talk" to one another. 

In practical terms, the network is what enables you to send emails, save and share documents, run software applications, and send something to print without needing to plug your computer into the printer. 

While you may not realize you have a network, if you have multiple devices used within your business, there is a network that connects all these devices together. Initially, your network may be built on public infrastructure where each user has a login to their device using an internet connection, and you use email to communicate. But as businesses grow, they typically require setting up an organization specific network. 

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The Benefits of Having a Network Unique to Your Business:

  1. Resource Sharing: Networks enable the sharing of resources like printers, files, and applications, reducing costs and improving productivity because these resources can be accessed by many different devices and in any location. Devices share information via the network rather than needing to connect a specific cable or wire to communicate.
  2. Communication and Collaboration: They facilitate seamless communication and collaboration through emails, instant messaging, and video conferencing. 
  3. Data Management and Accessibility: Centralized data storage on networks makes data management easier, enhances accessibility, as multiple users can access the same data simultaneously, and improves security, as different levels of access can be given to different devices or users.
  4. Security and Management: Networks allow for centralized security and management policies, making it easier to protect data and manage resources.
  5. Scalability: They provide the flexibility to scale IT resources up or down as required, supporting business growth and adaptation.

Building and maintaining your network, along with reliable network support, ensures your business can operate efficiently. This is especially important when employees may not come into an office every day and your customers are spread out. Your network is what keeps everyone connected no matter where the work is being done.

The challenge with a network is its reliance on connectivity. If your internet goes out or a server is disrupted, it can take the whole network offline for some time. This is why proactive IT support is so important. Whether it’s an in-house network administrator or an outsourced IT company, every business needs dedicated IT resources that can maintain and upkeep networks. Proactive monitoring and maintenance can reduce the chances of outages or downtime. 

While these networks are invisible to the human eye, they are the digital infrastructure that keeps businesses running. They underpin how employees communicate and customers transact.

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