Cisco Network Management Solutions Consulting and Support ServicesAn abundance of network management products from Cisco and third-party vendors underscores the importance and complexity of network management. Progent's Cisco qualified network management engineers are expert at helping companies design network management strategies based on Simple Network Management Protocol, Syslog, and Cisco NetFlow to build powerful tools for network utilization and network latency, monitoring key router and switch operational characteristics, and recognizing traffic patterns, applications, and devices that use network resources.

Progent can help customers to utilize a rich selection of free and license-based monitoring and management tools to maintain a Cisco network. Tools used by Progent's engineers include MRTG, Cacti, Nagios, Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager (ASDM), Cisco Monitor Manager, Cisco Network Assistant, Cisco Security Manager, OpenView, Concord E-Health, AlterPoint DeviceAuthority, Adventnet Netflow and Firewall Analyzer, Big Brother, Solarwinds Orion, and Necordia NetMRI.

Network management platforms can allow organizations to be aware of current system usage and effectively plan for downstream capacity increases. Management utilities can also be used to identify inefficient or inappropriate utilization of network services, such as streaming video, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. that can eat up valuable and scarce network bandwidth. A carefully planned network management strategy can also aid companies to make informed decisions on WAN and LAN enhancements once they appreciate how much network bandwidth really required at specific times.

Putting an efficient network management solution in operation beforehand is vital to avoid major problems that can follow Denial Of Service attacks and dangerous viruses. These events can render the network unusable and in the absence of proper tools it can be difficult, if not practically impossible, to find the source of the problem.

Network Management Products from Cisco
Cisco has developed a variety of powerful tools that should form the foundation for any management solution. Utilized in combination with appropriate outside vendor applications, Cisco's network management software can improve the competitive value of networks for companies of any size by improving important areas such as resource utilization, performance, resilience, protection, repair, and capacity planning. Cisco's most familiar network management tools include:

Cisco ASDM is a browser-based utility that lets you set up and monitor the management utilities built into network devices. Cisco ASDM is installed by the Cisco device, and allows you to configure, monitor, and control the device.

Monitor Manager is a management application developed to address the needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Cisco Monitor Manager continuously tracks important appliance parameters on voice and data networks used by 5 to 250 users and with up to 250 VoIP phones. Cisco Monitor Manager offers:

  • Up-to-date tracking of key appliance parameters on SMB-class routers and switches, Communications Manager Express, Cisco Unity Express, security appliances, access points, and VoIP phones
  • Compatibility with the Cisco Unified Communications 500 appliance for businesses with as many as 50 workers
Monitor Manager monitors the system on a 24x7 cycle and periodically polls and collects inventory and performance-monitoring information from the monitored appliances in the network. Cisco Monitor Manager is a Microsoft Windows-based utility and is completely transparent to system processes and does not deploy any agent software on target appliances. The application provides a rich set of valuable features such as:
  • Voice and data network discovery and topology
  • Device and process views of Unified Communications deployment
  • System wide inventory logging and documentation
  • Advanced security and reliable operation
  • Cisco device performance monitoring
  • VoIP Telephony tracking
  • Interface status and traffic monitoring
  • Real-time alerts and event notification
  • Reports
  • Configuration archive

Network Assistant is a PC-based network management tool designed for for LANs and WLANS for growing companies with as many as 40 Cisco switches and routers. By using Cisco's Smartports mechanism, Network Assistant streamlines setup, deployment, and continuing administration and support of Cisco networks. Network Assistant provides a centralized system view and permits IT managers to employ its functions across Cisco switches, routers, and wireless access points.

Security Manager is a highly functional but easy-to-use application for centrally provisioning all aspects of device set up and policies for PIX and ASA firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and Intrusion Prevention Systems. Cisco Security Manager effectively handles even small networks consisting of no more than than ten appliances, but also scales to control large-scale networks composed of thousands of Cisco routers, security appliances, and switch services modules. Scalability is achieved through intelligent policy-based control procedures that can simplify administrative overhead. Key features of Security Manager are:

  • Supports provisioning for Cisco routers configured with a Cisco IOS security image, ASA 5500 Series firewalls, Cisco PIX security appliances, Cisco IPS 4200 Series inline security appliances, and Catalyst 6500 Series security modules
  • Reacts more quickly to threats: define and apply updated policies to many hundreds of appliances in a few simple steps
  • Intuitive graphical user interface provides exceptional ease-of-use
  • A variety of looks that offer flexible ways to control appliances and security policies such as the capability to administer the security network graphically on a topology map
  • Comprehensive video training for the new operator to speed up training period
  • Centrally call out which policies are common and automatically inherited by additional appliances to make sure corporate policies are configured regularly, while offering sufficient flexibility to customize policies at the local appliance level
  • Ability to create a common rule database for Cisco firewalls with smart analysis of firewall policies to determine anomalies in the rule base
  • Quickly set up site-to-site, hub-spoke, full-mesh IPsec, or extranet VPN links with a VPN wizard
  • Integration with Cisco Access Control Server (ACS) for low-level role based access control to devices and administration functions
  • Operation with security MARS system to associate events with related security appliance rules to promote faster management decisions and increased system up time
  • Ability to allocate particular tasks to each manager in the course of the implementation of a policy, with formal change control and tracking; allows the security and network operations team to act in sync as a single unit with efficient coordination
How Progent's Consultants Can Help You with Network Management Solutions
Progent's Cisco-Certified network consultants can show you how to use Cisco's network management utilities alongside an array of powerful third-party applications to develop a complete management strategy to keep your network operating dependably, consolidate expensive resources, secure your data, recover quickly from hardware breakdowns or malicious assaults, and enable you to scale or repurpose network resources effectively and affordably as your business evolves.

Progent can also help you to utilize network management applications to monitor and categorize network data to enable traffic shaping, which permits you to program Cisco routers to impose different bandwidth restrictions on designated classes of processes based on the priorities you assign. By storing and queuing data packets above your contracted volume, and by assigning preference to critical applications, traffic shaping can prevent Internet Service Provider overage penalties from spinning out of reach and/or eliminate gaps in worker productivity resulting from indiscriminate policing of your network bandwidth restrictions during periods of heavy use.

Progent's CISA and ISSAP security consultants can assist you to create an end-to-end security plan that encompasses your network management solution, and Progent's remote and on-site network experts and Cisco CCIE and CNA qualified engineers can utilize advanced network monitoring and analysis technology to identify and remediate trouble quickly to keep your network in business.

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To get in touch with Progent about consulting support for Cisco networking, phone 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.