Cisco Network Management Solutions ConsultingAn abundance of network management products from Cisco and other vendors highlights the value and complexity of maintaining networks. Progent's Cisco-certified network management consultants are expert at helping companies design management strategies based on Simple Network Management Protocol, Syslog, and Cisco Netflow protocols to create powerful mechanisms for understanding network bandwidth usage and network latency, viewing key router and switch performance metrics, and identifying traffic patterns, applications, and appliances that use available resources.

Progent can assist businesses to utilize a rich range of free and license-based management solutions to maintain Cisco infrastructure. Tools familiar to Progent's engineers include MRTG, Cacti, Nagios, PRTG, Cisco Cisco ASDM, Cisco Monitor Manager, Cisco Network Assistant, CiscoWorks, Cisco Security Manager, OpenView, AlterPoint DeviceAuthority, Adventnet Netflow, Big Brother, Solarwinds Orion, and NetMRI.

Network management platforms can enable IT administrators to understand current network utilization and intelligently prepare for future capacity expansion. Network management tools can also be used to identify inefficient or inappropriate uses of network services, such as streaming video, peer-to-peer sharing, etc. that can eat up expensive and scarce network bandwidth. An efficiently crafted network management strategy can also enable businesses to make informed decisions on network improvements once they recognize how much system bandwidth actually required at specific times.

Having an effective network management system in place ahead of time is critical to prevent severe disruptions that can result from DoS attacks and dangerous viruses. Such assaults can leave the network unusable and in the absence of appropriate tools it can be time consuming, and in some cases practically impossible, to find the location of the trouble.

Network Management Tools from Cisco
Cisco has created an array of effective utilities that should form the basis for any management solution. Used in combination with the top outside vendor products, Cisco's network management offerings can improve the business value of network infrastructures for companies of all sizes by dealing with key areas such as system utilization, throughput, availability, protection, repair, and capacity planning. Cisco's most popular network management tools include:

Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager is a browser-based utility that lets you set up and monitor the management utilities on network devices. Adaptive Security Device Manager is loaded by the adaptive security appliance, and allows you to configure, monitor, and control the device.

Cisco Monitor Manager is a management and monitoring solution designed to handle the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Monitor Manager actively scans key device processes on voice/data environments serving 5 to 250 users and equipped with up to 250 IP phones. The application offers:

  • Real-time monitoring of important device parameters on SMB-class routers, switches, and voice gateways, Communications Manager Express, Unity Express, security devices, wireless access points, and VoIP phones
  • Ability to manage the Unified Communications 500 Series for businesses with as many as 50 workers
Cisco Monitor Manager tracks the network on a 24x7 cycle and frequently polls and gathers inventory and operations-tracking information from the managed devices in the system. Monitor Manager is a Windows-based utility and is entirely invisible to system operations and does not deploy any agent on target appliances. The application offers a variety of valuable features including:
  • Voice and data network discovery and physical topology
  • Device and service level views of Cisco Unified Communications implementation
  • Networkwide inventory collection and documentation
  • Highly secure and reliable operation
  • Appliance operations tracking
  • IP Telephony tracking
  • Interface status and data traffic tracking
  • Immediate alarms and notices
  • Reports
  • Configuration archive

Network Assistant is a PC-hosted network management tool optimized for LANs and WLANS for expanding companies that have up to 40 Cisco switches and routers. By utilizing Smartports, the application streamlines setup, deployment, and ongoing administration and maintenance of Cisco-based networks. It provides a centralized network view and allows network administrators to employ its functions across switches, routers, and access points.

Security Manager is a highly functional but simple to operate solution for centrally provisioning all aspects of device configuration and policies for Cisco firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and Intrusion Prevention Systems. Security Manager effectively handles even small networks with no more than than ten appliances, but also scales to manage large-scale systems composed of thousands of devices. Scalability is achieved through smart policy-driven management techniques that can simplify administration. Highlights of Cisco Security Manager include:

  • Supports provisioning for Cisco router platforms configured with a Cisco IOS security image, Cisco ASA 5500 Series security appliances, Cisco PIX firewalls, IPS 4200 family sensors, and Cisco Catalyst 6500 security modules
  • Respond more quickly to threats: define and apply updated policies to thousands of appliances in a few easy steps
  • Intuitive GUI provides superior ease-of-use
  • Multiple views that offer versatile methods to manage appliances and policies including the ability to administer the security network visually on a topology image
  • Comprehensive video training for the first-time operator to reduce learning period
  • Centrally specify which policies are common and automatically inherited by new devices to make sure company-wide policies are configured regularly, at the same time offering sufficient versatility to modify policies at the local appliance level
  • Ability to build a single firewall rule database for Cisco platforms with intelligent evaluation of firewall policies to determine conflicts within the rule base
  • Quickly configure site-to-site, hub-and-spoke, full-mesh IPsec, or extranet VPN links by means of a few mouse clicks
  • Integration with Cisco ACS for low-level role based access control to devices and management functions
  • Operation with security MARS to associate monitored data against related security appliance rules to enable faster management decisions and enhanced system up time
  • Capability to assign specific jobs to every administrator during the implementation of a policy, with structured change control and logging; permits the security and network operations team to act cooperatively as a cohesive unit with efficient teamwork
How Progent's Cisco Certified Experts Can Help You with Network Management Solutions
Progent's Cisco-Certified network management engineers can assist you to use Cisco's network management tools in combination with a selection of effective third-party programs to create a comprehensive management toolkit to keep your infrastructure functioning dependably, consolidate expensive resources, guard your information, recover rapidly from equipment breakdowns or deliberates attacks, and enable you to expand or reassign system hardware intelligently and affordably as your company grows.

Progent can also help you to utilize network management utilities to monitor and categorize system data to implement traffic shaping, which allows you to set up routers to impose a variety of throughput constraints on certain classes of processes according to the priorities you specify. By buffering and sorting excess packets above your contracted volume, and by giving preference to the most important applications, traffic shaping can keep Internet Service Provider overage penalties from spinning out of reach and/or avoid gaps in productivity caused by brute force policing of your network traffic volume restrictions during periods of heavy use.

Progent's CISM and CISSP security specialists can show you how to develop an end-to-end security strategy that incorporates your network management solution, and Progent's remote and in person support specialists and Cisco CCIE and CNA qualified consultants can use advanced network monitoring and analysis tools to isolate and fix problems quickly to keep your network in business.

To learn more details concerning Progent's consulting assistance for Cisco technology, select a subject:

In order to ask Progent about professional support for Cisco products, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.

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