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A day in the life of an IT Pro: Dear network …

The Network went through a lot of changes in 2015. As we welcome 2016, the continued evolution of BYOD, IoT and cloud will continue to bring challenges to us network administrators.

I recently spoke to members of the SolarWinds thwack community and asked them what they would say to their networks with advice for the year ahead. Putting pen to paper, I’ve collected some my favourite examples from what other NetAdmins had to say about future network challenges and best practices.

The communal advice provides food for thought as we start to prepare our own networks, and ourselves, for 2016…

Dear Network,

As 2015 comes to a close, I wanted to open up and be honest about the challenges we’ve faced together, and what we need to be prepared for in the future. We’ve been through uptimes and downtimes, IoTs, SDNs and a whole host of other challenges and the next couple of years are going to test us.

Firstly, can I just say, you’ve done a great job this year. I know that sometimes you make a lot of people unhappy, or even angry, when you don’t live up to their expectations. But you know (as do I), that in some cases, such as when there is an overload of streaming the World Cup, there is only so much you can do. Not to mention having devices arbitrarily unplugged by unknown entities, being moved here there and everywhere, never knowing the load your shoulders will have to bear. It's funny how no one mentions you for the 99.99 per cent of the time you're flawless, huh? Talk about a thankless task.

2015 has been a year of change. FitBits, tablets and applications galore has meant that BYO-anything has well and truly arrived. Employees just expect to be able to connect their personal devices as a given. I’ve found it hard to manage meeting their needs while managing your safety as BYOD has grown beyond just mobile phones to countless endpoints.

It’s a dangerous world out there, Network. I’m sorry for weighing you down with firewalls, proxies, alerting, vulnerability scanners, and various other tools that poke and prod at you day and night – but it’s all for your own good. While I know we block your ability to stream YouTube, television, and… well just about anything fun – please understand it’s because we want to protect you.

There are a lot of dangers out there, we are not without innovative solutions to these problems to help make both our lives easier. With new and improved network management software, we can simplify the defence systems management. A holistic view of you means I can easily see who is on the network, automatically alerting me to any of your health issues from a central control panel. Not only that, we can easily equip you with new and customised software within a few hours, rather than days or weeks.

Network, this year I want you to grow and expand into places you have never been before. I just want you to be safe when you do this so all of our packets come home to us (and no-one-else).

Get ready for a busy 2016, Network.


Your Network Administrator

Kent Row, IT admin and superhero, SolarWinds

Image source: Shutterstock/hywards