Network Software vs. Network Hardware
Software-defined networking solutions work to separate software and hardware, which in turn makes modifications and maintenance much more manageable.
Types of Network Software
There are many types of network software, but what is common between them is that they alleviate the workload of hardware by managing connections between multiple devices and systems.
September 13, 2021
Types of Network Software
Network software helps you troubleshoot, set up processes and keep track of hardware so your business can grow and thrive.
Network Software vs. Network Hardware
Network software is a crucial part of any business-grade IT infrastructure. Some network hardware may include software designed to manage a network, but these solutions often come up short in the enterprise space. While viable for infrequent use, these solutions are often difficult to modify and are often limited in features and scalability. Software-defined networking solutions work to separate software and hardware, which in turn makes modifications and maintenance much more manageable.
Specific tasks can benefit from many different types of software-based network management, and understanding your network infrastructure is key to determining which software is best for your business. By using network software, you can also reduce standard hardware costs without sacrificing features or adding complexity to daily use.
Types of Network Software
There are many types of network software, which comes in many variations with specific features and associated costs. What is common between all network software is that it alleviates the workload of hardware by managing connections between multiple devices and systems. End-user hardware such as laptops, tablets, and desktops can benefit from network software without ever knowing said software is present. Whether you use a single solution or rely on multiple solutions to manage a more extensive network, the addition of software will positively impact your organization’s daily operations. Read below for a list of essential types of network software and their associated features and possible applications:
Asset Management Software
Like most other forms of network software, asset management software is centralized, meaning it operates from a single location such as a server room or hub and is not tied to a specific piece of hardware. The primary use of asset management software is to monitor and track metrics from network devices in real-time. Using asset management software, you can gain greater visibility of your overall infrastructure and maximize network efficiency. This allows administrators to reduce operating costs while improving performance. Asset management is vital to day-to-day operations, and when successfully implemented, it can vastly improve both employee and client experiences within your network.
Data Archiving Software
Regular data backups should be standard for any modern business. With the increasing complexity of enterprise-grade networks, there are more ways than ever for data to be lost. As networks grow in size, so does the amount of data that needs to be backed up. Over time, the size of these data stores can become increasingly large or expensive to manage.
This is where data archiving software comes into play. Businesses often have older data that does not need to be accessed frequently but still needs to be recorded for regulatory compliance or long-term storage. Data archiving software helps manage such information and is optimized to reduce costs and protect data that will rarely be accessed. Archives will typically use a different format than standard backups, so it is best to ensure data does not need to be accessed before moving to long-term storage.
Deployment & Migration Software
One of the most challenging parts of managing a network is upgrading, replacing, or moving network assets. Deployment and migration software works to alleviate the stress and hassle of tasks such as changing operating systems. These particular programs provide an interface that allows for the easy monitoring and deployment of various network applications or movement of data between hardware and databases. When moving data between regular backups and archives, this software ensures compatibility and dramatically reduces the chance of data loss or interruptions in service. Deployment and migration software is not always sold as a package but often works well together, and both are commonly operated and managed by a third party.
Network Management Software
Network management software applications are available from numerous industry-leading brands. The primary purpose of any management software is to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot network performance across the entire range of infrastructure devices. The main difference between network management and monitoring software is that the former is designed to interact and manipulate resources to modify network performance. Software specifically designed to monitor a network may have some light troubleshooting options, but it is typically used in combination with other solutions.
Patch Management Software
When a network consists of many devices and computers, tasks such as updates or new installations can quickly become expensive and time-consuming. Patch management software works to better manage computers by keeping systems up to date through the installation of patches. Compared to individually updating machines, patching uses software to apply updates to numerous machines on a network. Rather than an IT employee going device to device and installing updates, each machine can download a patch that can run automatically and be managed by centralized software.
Printer & Fax Software
As the size of an office grows, so does the number of printers and fax machines present within the network. Features such as Wi-Fi printing or direct-wired connections can quickly become less viable with each device added to a network. Fax and printer network software manages multiple devices and provides an easy-to-use interface for numerous tasks and maintenance.
By utilizing print software, you can quickly deploy device updates or set up IP printing across an entire network. In some cases, this software can even provide the ability to print or fax documents between multiple physical locations with ease. Printer and fax network software is essential to larger organizations such as schools or multi-floor offices with many users.
Security Surveillance Software
While most other forms of network software focus on linking devices such as computers, printers, and data storage, security surveillance software works to monitor and connect various security solutions. Specific software can easily link cameras across locations and provide browser-based access to live and recorded footage to users with adequate credentials. More precise security software can work to reduce attack surfaces and better hide your assets from malicious parties. This is accomplished by utilizing outbound-only connections to major cloud services and providers. This form of network architecture greatly reduces the number of vulnerable components within a network and significantly improves protection.
Storage Networking Software
As networks grow, so does the amount of data that is stored within them. Sooner rather than later, data will need to be held in multiple locations across a wide range of devices. Storage networking software enables businesses to use a standard interface to manage and network various databases with users or clients. This way, anyone with approved access can easily see or retrieve information across a network of any size. Storage networking software can also manage access between various departments or groups and add an extra level of security to your business. This network software, like many others, can be sold as a managed service via a third-party provider.
Technology is rapidly growing within the professional space. As an organization expands, so does the number of devices and users present on a network. Standard tasks such as data backups or printer selection can quickly become a hassle as infrastructure increases in size. Often some software is needed to manage and utilize equipment and services within a network. Various types of network software are available that can accomplish tasks ranging from the deployment of updates to security camera access.
Whether you choose to start with one application or use multiple together, implementing the proper network software is essential to maintaining daily business operations. More often than not, most users will never see or interact with network software but will almost always heavily benefit from its features and services. Remember that in order to purchase software successfully, you must first understand the scope and arrangement of your network and devices. That way, you can easily see the effects of the many available software solutions and how they can impact your business.
Not sure what network software you need? Ask one of our experts!