What makes a good network map, and why you should care

Do you have a network map? Chances are that if you work in networking, you do. Or did you know what a network map was before reading this article? The term is used very often and hardly anyone knows what it means. This article is intended to give an explanation of what a network map is, and why you should have one.

First of all, what is a network map? A network map is a visual representation of your current and planned topology – the layout of your network. In addition to that, it also contains information on how the things are connected together.

For example, if you have two routers sitting next to each other in your data room and they are connected together with a fiber cable, you would draw arrows from one router to the other on your network map.

On the other hand, if your servers are located in three different cities across the country and those locations have their own local area networks (LAN), then you’d include an Ethernet switch next to each location. That’s basically what a network map is about.

alphacis good network map

Furthermore, it also includes information on which assets are located on each switch port, VLAN, or subnet. Let’s say you have a new device you are adding to the network, or needing to setup an additional switch. Looking at the network map, you should know exactly what IP address and where it should be plugged in.

It’s always a good idea to take things another step further. Let’s assume you have several resources on your network, such as a file server, a couple of virtual machines, and an application running on Azure cloud. All of these things should be documented with arrows on a network map, showing where applications are locally, the IP addresses of virtual machines, and how the cloud applications are accessed, and its IP address as well.

This gives you a better understanding of what is going on with your business and provides the lay of the land, so to speak.

When it comes to managing your firewall, knowing the device IP’s will help in setting up security rules and policies. Sometimes it is efficient to use several network maps for different levels of abstraction. For example, let’s say that customer XYZ’s company has a sales office located in New York. The sales office has a router with several VLANs and 2 Terminal Servers (File Server).

The network map of the sales office would show their detailed diagram along with a description of the VPN or type of routing done to connect the two offices together.

If you don’t think its useful to you as the business owner, it will certainly be useful for your IT guy or a Managed Services Provider. This would save hours of their time trying to dig through your network closet, tracing and pinging wires, checking firewall rules and running network scans. If you are currently with a managed services provider, they should have provided a network map for you. If you don’t have this very important document, you can contact AlphaCIS; we will map the entire network for you, give you a diagram and make any suggestions we see fit for your business. No obligation on your part to use our services, if nothing else you just got a very important resource for your business that you can use in the future.

If your business needs Marketing, Cybersecurity Companies, Business services, Branding & Creative work, Website & Apps, checkout Designrush.com

They will help link you with the proper Agency that specialized in just the service you need.  Check them out and see how they can help your business grow, cut down on expenses and get a higher ROI on your marketing dollars.