When the network is slow, who’s to blamed? That’s the way most end users think.

Behind this question there is probably a management or sizing challenge that every company is subject to. Is your internet link slow? Was there a distributed denial of service attack? Could the bottleneck the router that does not support a given traffic profile? Or maybe bandwidth distribution policies do not meet the network’s critical needs?

The fact is that the more it grows, the company needs more resources to ensure its operation. And the efficiency of IT services is at the heart of this challenge.

To connect point A with point B within your company, or allow a user to access an information repository or even a specific software, you need to build an efficient network architecture. And for this, it is key to size the number and technical specifications of the hardware necessary to achieve good performance of the resources and information security.

 

This is a common challenge for SMEs.

 

Why?

Small and medium-sized businesses rarely have IT professionals on their payroll and often hire general consultants to carry out the maintenance of IT resources for the operation.

What many companies do not know is that equipment like firewalls, switches, routers etc. are essential to ensure the proper functioning of users’ productivity resources.

Therefore, the investment in this type of technology faces obstacles.

When a company is demanding new features to operate – new workstations, IP devices, connections to the cloud, external datacenters etc. – sometimes the generalist does not have the knowledge about the technology or the needs of the company to know how to size the resources for the proper functioning of the environment.

 

How to choose the right hardware for managing your network?

 

Faced with the challenge of correctly identifying the devices needed to manage the performance of your network, it is important to evaluate the following factors.

 

The number of users

 

Often, the fundamental information for properly dimensioning the hardware required for network operation is the number of users or the number of IP devices. However, this information is not always enough.

For example, people that will use network resources have different profiles; use specific applications; need different speed or connection rate. In other words, the number of users is not comparable information if you consider the workloads of a marketer, a developer or salesperson.

Suppose your technician sizes the number of users in X, without considering that at the end of the month, the finances team will need to double resources to make the payroll run.

Can other teams stop their activities because of the payroll process? Or will the delay in the payroll be well received by the employees?

 

The technical specifications

 

Other relevant information for sizing the resources of your network will be the technical information of the products (datasheet).

It is worth noting the differences between traffic volume, transfer rates and connection speed, for example.

But it should be noted that each manufacturer uses different tests to determine the metrics achieved by their products.

Therefore, to confirm the information presented in the technical specifications, it is worthwhile to carry out the free tests and even evolve to carry out a Proof of Concept (POC) of the product.

 

Activities in the network

 

It is important to consider what activities are regularly performed with the support of your network resources.

For example, consider that your business needs to apply SSL traffic inspections to identify and control the use of web or cloud applications. The use of encryption generates high computational costs and companies must correctly dimension this layer of protection in order not to strangle their networks. That is, sizing the number of users only is not feasible.

Maybe one consider as alternative to not inspect SSL traffic. But is not checking encrypted traffic a suitable option in the face of current threat challenges?

 

The prospect of change

 

Every business wants to grow. Therefore, it is essential to assess what your business goals are and consider investments in solutions that are easily scalable.

Forecast the expected growth of the company in the coming years (number of employees, service contracts, subsidiaries etc.).

And compare this study to TCO (total cost of ownership) and ROI (return on investment). So, in addition to investing in adequate resources to make your network perform well, you can predict wether your investment is also cost-effective.

 

What do you need to size the network correctly, after all?

 

There is no cake recipe, as each company has very peculiar needs. But in general, to size correctly, one can not dismiss the following factors:

 

  • Number of concurrent users;
  • Activity peak times;
  • Number of packets per second;
  • E-mails per second;
  • Profile of packet size;
  • Acceptable network throughput; and
  • Number of SSL transactions per second.

 

It is worth emphasizing that the more information you can get in the mapping, the more accurate the result of your analysis will be.

 

Sizing mistakes can be expensive

 

Investment in security is fundamental, but if done without proper assessment of all contingencies, it can cause great damage to a company. Imagine investing in technologies that do not deliver what you promise to your network?

 

So what about testing security hardware to you real needs? Access now the free demonstration of BLOCKBIT UTM!