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Using the cloud to maximize network management time and resources

Mike Hagman

As cloud management features expand, enterprises discover new ways to create efficiencies

Cloud-based network management technologies are enabling IT teams to be leaner and time-efficient than ever before as they strive to deploy, monitor, manage, and troubleshoot wired and wireless WAN connections all over the world.

Some of the most forward-thinking enterprises out there have been leveraging platforms such as Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager (NCM) for years, taking advantage of benefits such as remote management; secure management; zero-touch deployment; alerting and notifications; and Stream Protocol, which enables remote monitoring and management with minimal data usage.

Still, many enterprises are diving even deeper into their cloud management tools to further optimize network-related expenditures, cost-effectively scale up their networks, and reduce IT man-hours.

Next-Generation Out-of-Band Management

Within traditional network architecture, when a primary router at a remote location goes offline, there are only a few options for getting it up and running. Sending an IT professional on-site can be costly, time-consuming, and an unsustainable solution, especially in a mid-sized to large organization.

Many organizations have used Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) for Out-of-Band Management (OOBM), which is challenging because POTS lines are slow, expensive, and unreliable.

With one of Cradlepoint’s LTE-enabled routers or bridge adapters connected to a primary router and managed through NCM, enterprises can leverage LTE failover and advanced OOBM — eliminating the need for POTS lines.

When the primary router fails, IT professionals can troubleshoot the problem anytime and anywhere through cloud access to the primary router’s console, allowing them to identify and address router problems without stepping foot on-site. They have the same management capabilities they would have if they were sitting next to and plugged into a primary router — regardless of whether the wired line is up and running.

Remote LAN Device Management

Remotely monitoring and managing devices on the LAN — everything from access points and switches to POS systems and digital signs — is complex. Traditionally, IT specialists have had to set up complex routing rules, port forwarding, and more, plus they may have to purchase third-party software for each device.

Cradlepoint’s Remote Connect LAN Manager feature allows network administrators and IT teams to securely manage — through the cloud — LAN-connected third-party devices without additional software, setup, or configuration.

A common example is switches, which network administrators often need to manage and troubleshoot remotely. Typically, remote management requires admins to open firewall ports and add port forwarding rules to access a switch’s local UI. This process is time-consuming, complicated to set up, prone to security risks, and hard to manage.

LAN Manager feature allows an administrator to securely access the switch’s local UI remotely — as if on-site — from the cloud without opening any additional firewall ports, installing any software, or adding any configurations.

Advanced Network Visibility & Analytics

Cloud-provided visibility into and analytics of data usage by each router on your network is a significant benefit for network administrators. NCM deepens that visibility and insights by allowing enterprises to understand how their network is being used, by understanding data usage by application across the entire account, group, site, or individual clients — all through a single pane of glass, from anywhere.

The ability to understand detailed data usage, performance, network uptime, and other factors at the client, site, group, or network level opens up opportunities to lower costs by recognizing and responding to trends.

Software-Defined IoT Security

In a world where IoT devices are increasingly prevalent, distributed, and susceptible to cybercrime, IoT security is more important — and more complex and laborious — than ever before. One of the biggest challenges is that IoT data must be securely and directly connected to the cloud in order for leaders to fully benefit from the real-time data, visibility, and control that make IoT so important for enterprises.

Organizations can use Software-Defined Perimeter (SD-Perimeter) technology to create perimeter-secured and encrypted overlay networks for IoT deployments anywhere across the Internet in a matter of minutes. These highly scalable device-to-cloud networks are orchestrated, deployed, and managed in the cloud.

Cloud-Managed Router SDK

Many enterprises use software development kits (SDK) to write custom applications to run on their network routers. The ability to automate a wide variety of processes and solve unique challenges allows them to improve operational efficiencies and save a lot of man-hours and money.

In scenarios where IoT devices are essential, Router SDK is a key tool for enabling edge computing. With custom apps, companies can create automated processes that ensure data is only sent to the cloud when absolutely necessary, which helps them significantly lower their data usage and costs.

With cloud-based network management, these highly valuable custom apps can be deployed and updated all at the same time, from a central location, instead of having to send IT specialists into the field to manually update every router. When hundreds or even thousands of devices are involved, the ability to monitor and manage edge applications from the cloud is a game-changer.

Learn More About Cloud Network Management

For more information about what’s possible through cloud-based network management, explore NetCloud Manager.