Cisco Network Management Solutions ConsultingAn abundance of network management tools from Cisco and other suppliers highlights the value and complexity of maintaining networks. Progent's Cisco qualified network management engineers are expert at assisting companies design management strategies based on SNMP, SYSLOG services, and Cisco IOS NetFlow to build powerful mechanisms for network utilization and latency, viewing important router and switch performance metrics, and identifying traffic patterns, processes, and devices that use available services.

Progent can help customers to deploy a broad selection of free and proprietary monitoring and management utilities to manage a Cisco-powered environment. Utilities familiar to Progent's engineers include Cacti, Nagios, Paessler Router Traffic Grapher, Cisco Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager, Cisco Monitor Manager, Cisco Security Manager, OpenView, Concord E-Health, AlterPoint DeviceAuthority, Adventnet Netflow and Firewall Analyzer, Big Brother, and NetMRI.

Network management platforms can enable organizations to be aware of current network utilization and effectively prepare for downstream capacity expansion. Management tools can also be used to highlight inefficient or improper utilization of network services, for example streaming multimedia, peer-to-peer file exchange, etc. that can waste expensive or limited network resources. An efficiently designed network management plan can also enable organizations to arrive at intelligent decisions on wide and local area network upgrades once they understand how much system bandwidth really needed at any one time.

Putting an efficient network management platform in operation ahead of time is essential to prevent major disruptions that can result from DoS attacks and malicious viruses. These assaults can render the network unstable and in the absence of appropriate utilities it can be time consuming, and sometimes practically impossible, to discover the location of the trouble.

Network Management Tools from Cisco
Cisco provides an assortment of effective utilities that should be the basis for any management strategy. Used in combination with appropriate outside vendor products, Cisco's network management offerings can enhance the competitive value of network infrastructures for companies of all sizes by helping with key areas such as system utilization, performance, resilience, security, troubleshooting, and capacity planning. Cisco's most popular network management tools include:

Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager is a browser-based utility that lets you configure and operate the management utilities built into network appliances. Cisco ASDM is loaded by the network device, and allows you to set up, track, and control the device.

Cisco Monitor Manager is a management and monitoring application intended to meet the requirements of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Cisco Monitor Manager continuously monitors important appliance processes on voice and data environments serving 5 to 250 users and equipped with up to 250 Voice over IP phones. The application offers:

  • Real-time monitoring of important appliance processes on Cisco SMB-class routers and switches, Unified Communications Manager Express, Unity Express, security appliances, access points, and Cisco Unified IP Phones
  • Ability to manage the Cisco Unified Communications 500 communications appliance for businesses with up to 50 workers
Cisco Monitor Manager tracks the network on a round-the-clock cycle and periodically touches and collects identification and performance-tracking data 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 on managed appliances. The application provides a variety of valuable features including:
  • Voice and data network discovery and physical topology
  • Physical and service level views of Cisco Unified Communications implementation
  • System wide inventory logging and documentation
  • Advanced security and reliable communication
  • Appliance operations tracking
  • VoIP Telephony monitoring
  • Interface status and data traffic monitoring
  • Real-time alarms and notices
  • Reports
  • Configuration log

Cisco Network Assistant is a desktop-hosted management tool designed for for LANs and WLANS for expanding companies that have up to 40 Cisco switches and routers. By running Cisco's Smartports mechanism, the application simplifies setup, installation, and continuing management and support of Cisco-based networks. It provides a unified network view and permits IT administrators to deploy its functions across Cisco switches, routers, and wireless access points.

Cisco Security Manager is a highly functional but easy-to-use solution for managing all facets of device configuration and policies for Cisco firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and Intrusion Prevention Systems. The solution effectively manages even small networks with fewer than ten devices, but also scales to control large-scale networks with thousands of appliances. Scalability is enabled through intelligent policy-driven control procedures that can streamline administrative overhead. Highlights of Cisco Security Manager include:

  • Supports provisioning for Cisco router platforms configured with an IOS security software image, Cisco ASA 5500 Series adaptive security appliances, PIX firewalls, Cisco IPS 4200 inline security appliances, and Cisco Catalyst 6500 security modules
  • Respond more quickly to threats: specify and assign new security policies to many hundreds of appliances in just a few steps
  • Intuitive GUI provides superior ease-of-use
  • A variety of looks that provide versatile methods to control devices and policies including the option to administer the security network graphically on a system topology image
  • Extensive animated training for the first-time operator to speed up learning period
  • Centrally specify which policies are common and inherited by additional appliances to make sure company-wide policies are implemented regularly, while offering sufficient flexibility to customize policies at the local device level
  • Ability to build a common firewall rule database for Cisco platforms with intelligent evaluation of firewall policies to detect anomalies within the rule table
  • Quickly set up site-to-site, hub-spoke, full mesh, or extranet Virtual Private Network interfaces with a few mouse clicks
  • Compatibility with Cisco ACS for granular role based connection management to appliances and management functions
  • Operation with security MARS to correlate events against related firewall rules to support faster management decisions and enhanced network availability
  • Capability to assign specific tasks to every manager in the course of the deployment of a rule, with formal change management and logging; permits the security and network operations staff to work cooperatively as a cohesive group with efficient teamwork
How Progent's Consultants Can Help Your Business with Network Management Solutions
Progent's Cisco-Certified network management engineers can help you to utilize Cisco's network management tools in combination with a selection of effective open source and proprietary applications to develop a comprehensive network management toolkit to keep your network operating dependably, consolidate expensive resources, protect your information, recover quickly from equipment failure or deliberates assaults, and allow you to scale or repurpose system hardware effectively and affordably as your business evolves.

Progent can also show you how to use network management applications to monitor and categorize system data to implement traffic shaping, which permits you to set up routers to impose different bandwidth constraints on certain types of processes according to the importance you specify. By buffering and queuing excess packets above your contracted rates, and by giving priority to critical applications, traffic shaping can keep Internet Service Provider excess usage penalties from spinning out of control and/or eliminate lost productivity caused by brute force policing of your network traffic volume limits during periods of heavy demand.

Progent's CISM and CISSP security professionals can assist you to create an end-to-end security strategy that incorporates your network management solution, and Progent's remote and in person network specialists and Cisco CCIE and CNA qualified consultants can utilize advanced network management technology to identify and remediate trouble quickly to keep your network productive.

For additional details concerning Progent's engineering assistance for Cisco networking products, choose a topic:

To contact Progent about technical assistance for Cisco products, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.

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