Stressed Technician

What is a managed router?

As networking and technology grows and evolves, our devices become more and more complex. Many people and enterprises alike are seeking to improve performance and reduce costs with a managed router and other managed network services.

But what is a managed router, and what does it offer over traditional infrastructure management? What are the benefits of a managed router and other network services?

A router connects networks together, whereas a switch connects several devices to a network which is managed by a router. An access point is what provides Wi-Fi, and is typically connected to a router or switch. A lot of times you will see devices that combine all three into a single unit. In larger enterprise environments or complex home/business networks it is common to have each seperated to achieve maximum performance and reduce management complexity.

A managed router is a router that is owned and managed by a third party who provides support and replacements.

What is a managed router service?

A managed router service enables a home or business to outsource the management of a router to a managed service provider. The provider typically handles support, replacements, configuration, monitoring for performance issues, and provisioning. This is meant to give you a professional experience without any of the work or hassle.

What is the difference between a switch, router, and access point?

Routers and switches are similar but serve completely different purposes. Routers connect multiple networks together, typically your internet connections (WAN), and your local network (LAN).

Switches connect devices like printers, computers, phones, and other devices together. However, you can do some really cool things with switches such as connect a modem to a router that is in a different room by use of a vLAN.

Access points provide wireless connectivity to devices, similar to a switch. They are almost exactly the same, but access points connect devices wirelessly while switches are wired.

What are the benefits of a managed router, access point, or switch to a business?

  • Little to no upfront cost. With managed devices, there are little to no upfront expenses for installation and configuration, and when the device stops working, the provider will ship a new one that is preconfigured to work in place of the old one. This can be a big barrier to having a reliable and performant network since the right network gear can be costly when purchased outright.
  • Predictable cost. Typically a managed service is a monthly price for all the equipment, support, configuration, troubleshooting, replacements, and setup.
  • No I.T. skills required. Since all of the planning and management is outsourced, there isn't any complex planning process that needs to be done before acquiring the hardware. The provider will assess the needs of the client and show them different options with costs. No more guessing games to find the right hardware!
  • Improved security. Security is a major concern for everybody. It's important, especially today. The network is the first layer of opportunity to stop lateral movement of attackers. In addition to stopping lateral movement, it is also the prime opportunity to get an alert or notification that your network is under attack. This lets you and the provider know and prepare necessary action to protect your data and business.
  • More resources. A managed network allows in-house I.T. to focus on other work, and not waste valuable time managing the network instead of taking care of more important tasks.
  • Higher uptime. With a managed service provider (MSP), there is less chance of having network downtime or outages while I.T. would normally be investigating or repairing devices. Downtime costs a lot of money, and can sometimes even cripple a business! Having that level of assurance can be game-changing for most if not all businesses.
  • Proactive not reactive. Managed service providers take a proactive approach to managing network devices, keeping an eye on things every day to make sure operation is butter smooth. This is important because it means that business won't have unexpected downtime or performance degradation from lack of maintenance.
  • Experience and expertise on tap. Hiring people is difficult, hiring good people? Much more difficult. Especially if the business doesn't have much networking experience. Having experienced, diverse, and qualified personnel at your beck-and-call 24 hours a day can be nearly priceless.
  • Compliant and secure. Security breaches are fatal to businesses. Most often attackers will come back again and again if not dealt with. Having the assurance with peace of mind being compliant with PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, SOX, CCPA, FISMA, FFIEC, CIP, AICPA, NIST, NERC, and FIPS (just to name a few) can be the difference of being in business and impending disaster.
  • Auditing and SEIM. Audit trails and security event incident management (SEIM) make tracking down how a breach happened and to answer the where, why, what, and when to ensure all information is discovered to take the appropriate action. This is a standard expectation that should be provided by any MSP.
  • Managed risk. Risk is a part of every business. Many factors contribute to this, from topology, bandwidth, outages, technology, government regulations, compliance, economic conditions, and market fluctuation. Managed network service providers are there to reduce risk substantially by keeping up to date on industry experience, knowledge, compliance, and resources. Technology changes every day at a rapid pace - Let the experts keep on top of it so the business can focus less resources on networking and more on what makes them successful.