IT Untangled: What's Network Support and Why Does My Business Need It?
You have probably heard the phrase “the network” a lot of times. And the phrase that usually follows it is “network support.” But what is the network, and why does it need support? It can be super overwhelming because there are so many kinds of support – software support, server support, hardware support – and they all sound the same. We get it.
Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. has been helping small to mid-size business all over Southern California achieve better support for their business while also helping them understand the “WHY” for 30 years now.
You have questions and we’d love to help you get to the right answer. Let’s look at what the network does and why keeping it in tip-top shape matters for your company.
What is a Computer Network?
Let’s start with the basics, what is a network? A network is when two or more computer systems are linked together. There are several kinds of computer networks, the most popular for business are:
- Local-area networks (LANs) – Computers in the same building or geographically close together.
- Wide-area networks (WANs) – Computers that aren’t in the same building or area, but are still connected by telephones, internet, or radio waves.
How My Business Uses Networks
You likely use your company’s network daily. From the moment you log in to your computer to the moment your log off, you are utilizing the network. Every time you access a shared folder or drive, that’s the network.
Even while receiving or sending emails, that is your network hard at work. Accessing the Internet, connecting to WiFi, printing wirelessly, and using your VoIP phone - you guessed it, all network-based functions. Basically, when you are accessing anything on your work computer or phone - you are using the network.
Why Do I Need Network Support After It’s Been Setup?
Your company has server(s) that contain data and software, like email or customer files. Your workstation is how you access the data and services on the server(s). You might initially think: if my servers and workstations already have supported, why do I need network support too?
Network support covers the connection between your computer and the resources on those servers. This of it like having medical insurance and dental insurance. Both insurance for doctors, but each one does a different thing.
Network support ensures that the connection between your workstation and your resources (server, email, Internet, etc.) are at an optimal level. This support covers all your network devices.
Devices include your network switches, routers, firewalls, wireless access points and Internet connections. Plus, VPN, VoIP phones, and connections for remote users. This list varies depending on your company’s needs.
Supporting these devices varies. It could be configuring new devices. Or maintaining devices by installing the latest firmware. Other times it's testing hardware functionality. This also includes troubleshooting any issues that may arise from day-to-day usage. Example: why doesn't my email work, but everyone else's does?
Let’s be honest: while network support, computer support, server support, etc. are technically different things, many of us – including IT people – use the phrases interchangeably. What most of us really mean is: IT support.
We want IT taken care of so the business can grow. If you’re not sure if your IT needs are covered from all angles, talk to your in-house or outsourced IT team. Really, truly, ask any question you can think of. A good IT support team will work with you to not only understand, but ensure you have the best support possible.
IT can be complicated. We're here to help "untangle" it for you.
IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand.
Related: IT Untangled: What Is Hybrid IT?