Network Topologies for Large Businesses
When designing a network's architecture, best practices focus on the need to build scaleability into network topology. Topology provides a map of the network, including network connection devices like switches and routers. Principles of scaleability have as their foundation an understanding that as technology advances and your business grows, your network must adapt to these changes and continue to perform in a manner that meets your business's needs.
An important goal in building a network infrastructure is to design it with expansion in mind. As your business grows, a poorly designed network can present difficulties as the number of computers and demands for bandwidth increase. Planning for expansion should also include the possibility of incorporating future technologies into your network. Closely monitor technology trends to determine new technologies that are likely to become standard network products, such as the trend of allowing users to “bring your own device,” or BYOD, and use it on the corporate network.
Interoperability in a business network is defined as the ability of a variety of network devices to effectively communicate with each other in a manner that creates a homogeneous environment. A key component in achieving this objective is purchasing network devices that are built to accepted industry communication standards. Standards Development Organizations, or SDOs, like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, adopt these standards. However, the adoption process follows the lead of manufacturers in their development of product lines, which sometimes results in competing proposed standards -- for example, the technology associated with high-density DVD technology eventually adopted “Blu-ray” as the standard.
As businesses move towards a structure that includes the utilization of electronic records, data security has become a key concern. This concern has been elevated by legislation that imposes stiff fines on a business where personal identifiable information, or PII, is leaked as a direct consequence of the business not implementing effective security measures.
Network security segmentation is commonly achieved in large business networks through the utilization of virtual local area networks, or VLANs, which provide separate logical networks operating on the same physical infrastructure. Encryption technologies like AES are becoming a standard means for data storage protection and data transmission, and multifactor authentication techniques utilizing biometrics like iris scans and facial recognition are being implemented in high-security environments.
With the widespread adoption by businesses of server virtualization tools provided by companies like Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, businesses are beginning to consider a virtualized approach that moves their network infrastructure to the “cloud.” Placing network services in the cloud provides some clear advantages, including improved network reliability and availability in the event of a disaster by utilizing a cloud provider that includes redundancy in its service model.
While there are obvious security concerns relating to data access and storage in an environment a business doesn’t own, security safeguards that include advanced authentication and encryption techniques, providing network access through virtual private networks, or VPNs, have reduced potential risks to a point where many businesses use a cost vs. benefit approach to decide whether to move IT services to the cloud.