Cisco Network Management Solutions EngineersAn abundance of network management products from Cisco and third-party suppliers highlights the value and difficulty of maintaining networks. Progent's Cisco-certified network management engineers are expert at assisting businesses design network management strategies based on SNMP, Syslog, and Cisco Netflow protocols to build powerful mechanisms for network utilization and network latency, monitoring important router and switch performance metrics, and identifying traffic patterns, applications, and appliances utilizing network resources.

Progent can assist customers to utilize a rich range of open source and license-based management products to maintain Cisco infrastructure. Tools used by Progent's consultants include MRTG, Cacti, Nagios, PRTG, Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager (ASDM), Cisco Network Assistant, CiscoWorks, Cisco Security Manager, OpenView, Wireshark/Ethereal, AlterPoint DeviceAuthority, Advent and Firewall Analyzer, Big Brother, and NetMRI.

Network management platforms can help IT administrators to understand existing system usage and intelligently prepare for downstream traffic increases. Management utilities can also be used to identify inefficient or improper utilization of system resources, such as streaming video, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. that can eat up expensive or limited network bandwidth. A well planned network management solution can also help businesses to make informed choices on WAN and LAN enhancements once they recognize the amount of system resources actually needed at any one time.

Having an efficient network management system in place beforehand is vital to prevent major disruptions that can be due to Denial Of Service attacks and malicious viruses. These assaults can leave the network unusable and without proper utilities it can be difficult, if not practically impossible, to discover the location of the trouble.

Network Management Tools from Cisco
Cisco has developed a selection of effective utilities that should form the basis for any network management solution. Used in combination with appropriate third-party tools, Cisco's network management offerings can improve the business value of networks for companies of all sizes by improving key areas such as resource utilization, throughput, availability, security, troubleshooting, and capacity planning. Cisco's most popular network management products include:

Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager is a browser-based utility that lets you configure and operate the software on security appliances. Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager is installed by the network appliance, and allows you to configure, track, and control the unit.

Cisco Monitor Manager is a management application intended for the requirements of small and medium-sized organizations. Monitor Manager continuously scans important device processes on voice/data networks used by five to 250 users and with up to 250 Cisco Unified IP phones. Monitor Manager offers:

  • Real-time tracking of important appliance processes on SMB-class routers and switches, Unified Communications Manager Express, Cisco Unity Express, security appliances, access points, and VoIP phones
  • Compatibility with the Cisco Unified Communications 500 communications appliance for businesses with as many as 50 users
Cisco Monitor Manager scans the system on a 24x7 cycle and frequently polls and collects identification and performance-tracking information from the managed appliances in the network. Cisco Monitor Manager is a Microsoft Windows-based utility and is completely nondisruptive to system operations and does not deploy any agent on target appliances. Cisco Monitor Manager offers a rich set of useful features including:
  • Voice and data network discovery and topology
  • Physical and service level views of Cisco Unified Communications deployment
  • Networkwide inventory logging and documentation
  • Advanced security and reliable communication
  • Cisco device operations monitoring
  • Cisco Unified IP Telephony tracking
  • Connection status and traffic tracking
  • Immediate alarms and notices
  • Reports
  • Setup archive

Network Assistant is a PC-based management application designed for for wired and wireless LANs (WLANs) for expanding businesses that have as many as 40 switches and routers. By using Smartports, the application streamlines setup, deployment, and ongoing administration and maintenance of Cisco-powered environments. The application provides a centralized network view and permits network managers to deploy its functions among Cisco switches, routers, and access points.

Cisco Security Manager is a powerful but simple to operate solution for managing all aspects of appliance set up and security policies for PIX and ASA firewalls, virtual private networks, and Intrusion Prevention Systems. Security Manager efficiently manages even small environments with fewer than ten devices, but also expands to manage enterprise systems composed of thousands of devices. Expansion is enabled through intelligent policy-driven management techniques that can streamline administrative overhead. Highlights of Cisco Security Manager include:

  • Supports control of Cisco routers configured with a Cisco IOS security image, Cisco ASA 5500 Series adaptive security appliances, Cisco PIX security appliances, Cisco IPS 4200 inline security appliances, and Catalyst 6500 security services modules
  • Respond faster. more rapidly to threats: define and assign new security policies to many hundreds of appliances in a few simple steps
  • Rich GUI provides superior ease-of-use
  • Multiple views that provide flexible ways to control devices and security policies such as the ability to manage the security network graphically on a system topology map
  • Extensive video help for the novice operator to reduce learning period
  • Globally call out which policies are common and inherited by additional devices to ensure corporate policies are configured regularly, at the same time offering sufficient flexibility to customize policies at the local device level
  • Capability to build a common firewall rule table for Cisco platforms with smart analysis of firewall policies to detect conflicts in the rule base
  • Easily configure site-to-site, hub-and-spoke, full mesh, or extranet Virtual Private Network interfaces with a VPN wizard
  • Integration with Cisco ACS for granular role based connection control to devices and management functions
  • Operation with Cisco security MARS to associate monitored data with related firewall rules to support faster decision making and enhanced network availability
  • Capability to assign particular tasks to every administrator during the deployment of a policy, with formal change control and tracking; permits the security and systems operations team to act in sync as a cohesive group with effective coordination
How Progent's Consultants Can Help You with Network Management Solutions
Progent's Cisco-qualified network engineers can show you how to utilize Cisco's network management tools in combination with a selection of powerful open source and proprietary applications to create a complete management toolkit to keep your infrastructure running dependably, consolidate valuable resources, secure your information, recover rapidly from hardware failure or deliberates attacks, and enable you to expand or repurpose network resources effectively and affordably as your company evolves.

Progent can also show you how to use network management applications to monitor and classify system data to enable traffic shaping, which permits you to configure routers to impose a variety of bandwidth constraints on certain classes of processes based on the importance you specify. By storing and queuing excess packets above your committed rates, and by assigning preference to business-critical processes, traffic shaping can prevent service provider excess usage charges from spiraling out of reach and/or eliminate gaps in productivity caused by indiscriminate enforcement of your network traffic volume restrictions during periods of heavy use.

Progent's CISA and ISSAP security consultants can show you how to create an end-to-end security strategy that encompasses your network management processes, and Progent's remote and in person support experts and Cisco CCIE and CNA qualified consultants can use advanced network monitoring and analysis technology to isolate and remediate problems rapidly to keep your network productive.

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To ask Progent about engineering assistance for Cisco networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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