Network Management Solutions SupportAn abundance of network management tools from Cisco and third-party suppliers highlights the importance and complexity of network management. Progent's Cisco qualified network management engineers are experienced at helping businesses design management strategies based on Simple Network Management Protocol, SYSLOG services, and NetFlow protocols to create effective mechanisms for understanding network bandwidth usage and latency, viewing important router and switch performance metrics, and recognizing traffic patterns, applications, and devices utilizing network services.

Progent can help businesses to utilize a rich range of open source and proprietary monitoring and management utilities to manage a Cisco network. Utilities used by Progent's engineers include MRTG, Cacti, Nagios, PRTG, Cisco Cisco ASDM, Cisco Monitor Manager, CiscoWorks, Cisco Security Manager, OpenView, Wireshark/Ethereal, Concord E-Health, AlterPoint DeviceAuthority, Adventnet Netflow and Firewall Analyzer, Solarwinds Orion, and Necordia NetMRI.

Network management tools can enable IT administrators to understand existing network usage and effectively plan for downstream traffic increases. Network management tools can also be deployed to detect inefficient or inappropriate utilization of network services, such as streaming multimedia, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. that can use up valuable or scarce network bandwidth. A carefully designed network management strategy can also enable organizations to arrive at intelligent decisions on WAN and LAN enhancements after they appreciate how much system resources really needed at any one time.

Putting an efficient network management solution in operation beforehand is essential to avoid severe disruptions that can be caused by Denial Of Service attacks and dangerous viruses/Trojans. These events can render the network unstable and without appropriate tools it can be difficult, and sometimes virtually impossible, to identify the source of the problem.

Network Management Products from Cisco
Cisco provides an array of effective utilities that should form the basis for any management solution. Used in conjunction with the top third-party applications, Cisco's network management offerings can enhance the business value of network infrastructures for companies of any size by dealing with key areas such as resource utilization, throughput, resilience, security, repair, and scalability. Cisco's most familiar network management tools include:

Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager is a web utility that allows you to configure and monitor the software built into network devices. Adaptive Security Device Manager is installed by the network appliance, and enables you to set up, track, and manage the device.

Monitor Manager is a management and monitoring application designed to address the requirements of small and medium-sized companies. Cisco Monitor Manager continuously tracks key device processes on voice/data environments serving five to 250 workers and equipped with up to 250 VoIP phones. The application provides:

  • Real-time scanning of key appliance parameters on Cisco SMB-class network appliances, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express, Cisco Unity Express, security devices, wireless access points, and VoIP phones
  • Compatibility with the Unified Communications 500 appliance for companies with as many as 50 users
Monitor Manager monitors the system on a round-the-clock cycle and frequently touches and collects identification and performance-monitoring information from the monitored devices in the system. Cisco Monitor Manager is a Microsoft Windows-based utility and is completely invisible to system operations and does not use any agent software on target devices. Cisco Monitor Manager offers a rich set of valuable features including:
  • Voice and data network discovery and topology
  • Device and service level looks at Unified Communications implementation
  • Networkwide inventory logging and reporting
  • Highly secure and reliable operation
  • Device performance monitoring
  • IP Telephony monitoring
  • Connection status and data traffic tracking
  • Immediate alerts and notifications
  • Reports
  • Configuration archive

Network Assistant is a desktop-based network management application optimized for LANs and WLANS for expanding organizations with as many as 40 Cisco switches and routers. By utilizing Smartports technology, Cisco Network Assistant simplifies setup, deployment, and ongoing management and maintenance of Cisco networks. Cisco Network Assistant provides a centralized network view and allows network managers to employ its features among switches, routers, and access points.

Cisco Security Manager is a highly functional but easy-to-use application for managing all facets of appliance configuration and security policies for firewalls, VPNs, and IPS. The solution effectively handles even small networks consisting of no more than than ten appliances, but also expands to control large-scale networks composed of thousands of routers, switches, and firewalls. Expansion is achieved through intelligent policy-driven management techniques that can streamline administrative overhead. Highlights of Security Manager include:

  • Allows control of Cisco routers running an IOS security software image, Cisco ASA 5500 Series adaptive security appliances, Cisco PIX firewalls, Cisco IPS 4200 family inline security appliances, and Catalyst 6500 family security services modules
  • Reacts more quickly to attacks: define and assign new security policies to many hundreds of devices in a few easy steps
  • Rich graphical user interface offers exceptional ease-of-use
  • Multiple looks that offer flexible ways to control devices and security policies such as the option to administer the security environment graphically on a system topology image
  • Comprehensive video help for the novice user to speed up training period
  • Centrally specify which policies are shared and automatically inherited by additional devices to make sure company-wide policies are configured regularly, while offering optional flexibility to customize policies at the local appliance level
  • Ability to build a common firewall rule database for all Cisco firewalls with intelligent evaluation of firewall policies to determine anomalies within the rule base
  • Quickly configure site-to-site, hub-spoke, full mesh, or extranet VPN links by means of a VPN wizard
  • Compatibility with Cisco ACS for granular role based connection management to devices and administration services
  • Operation with security MARS system to compare monitored data against related firewall rules to support quicker management decisions and enhanced system availability
  • Ability to allocate particular tasks to every manager in the course of the implementation of a policy, with formal change management and logging; permits the security and systems operations staff to act in sync as a cohesive unit with efficient teamwork
How Progent Can Assist You with Network Management
Progent's Cisco-certified network management engineers can show you how to use Cisco's network management tools alongside an array of powerful open source and proprietary applications to create a comprehensive network management strategy to keep your network running smoothly, consolidate expensive resources, guard your data, recover rapidly from hardware breakdowns or malicious assaults, and allow you to scale or reassign network hardware intelligently and economically as your organization evolves.

Progent can also assist you to use network management utilities to monitor and categorize network data to implement traffic shaping, which allows you to set up Cisco routers to impose a variety of throughput constraints on certain classes of activity according to the priorities you assign. By storing and queuing excess packets above your committed rates, and by assigning priority to critical applications, traffic shaping can prevent ISP overage penalties from spinning out of control and/or eliminate lost worker productivity resulting from brute force enforcement of your network bandwidth restrictions during periods of heavy use.

Progent's CISM, CISSP, and ISSAP security specialists can show you how to develop a comprehensive security strategy that incorporates your network management solution, and Progent's remote and on-premises support specialists and Cisco CCIE-certified consultants can utilize the latest network monitoring and analysis technology to identify and remediate trouble quickly to keep your network running smoothly.

For additional details about Progent's consulting support for Cisco products, choose a subject:

If you wish to contact Progent about engineering help for Cisco technology, phone 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.

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