As the nervous system of your business, it’s critical that your network is secure, efficient, and healthy. From employee collaboration to file sharing and customer service, most interactions and activities today are digital or digital-dependent, which puts your network at the center of everything.

A poorly managed network can lead to major problems such as downtime, successful cyberattacks, and unplanned for IT costs. When it’s well-managed, however, your business can avoid common IT troubles and thrive. Here are five reasons your business needs solid network management.

Manage traffic sources to maximize network resources

How much of your network resources are being used up on non-essential apps and sites? With network management, you can count on a team of experts to manage traffic sources and ensure resources aren’t being wasted. Managed IT can monitor IP traffic flow across your network and ensure your employees can rely on network availability and high performance at all times.

Increase IT efficiencies

Instead of hiring more in-house staff to manage your network as your IT needs grow, managed services give your business access to IT specialists. This allows your business to access all the IT services only a large enterprise would be able to afford, without having to shoulder the costs of hiring more IT employees.

Reduces the risk of a data breach

Keeping your network secure is a 24/7 task. This is why so many businesses are turning to outside IT providers to ensure a high level of security. The reality is, when downtime and lost business are factored in, the cost of a data breach can be in the millions. The latest IBM report on data breaches found the average total cost to be $3.86 million.

Routine network monitoring and testing can help to prevent a cyberattack, and reduce overall costs in the event of a successful data breach. For organizations that conduct regular vulnerability testing, those costs were, on average, $173,000 lower. Red team testing, or ethical hacking, brought down average costs by $243,000.

Keeps network healthy through the hardware lifecycle

Another key benefit of network management is the health of your hardware. If your in-house IT staff isn’t able to keep up with maintenance, you won’t get the most out of your hardware. Not only will this increase your IT budget, but failed routers, switches, and other devices can lead to problems with your network.

With network management, someone is on top of all of your hardware. They can ensure all devices are working efficiently and make a plan for replacing new hardware when a device or connection reaches the end of its lifecycle.

Ensures complete monitoring to protect from an outage or security breach

Routine monitoring is essential for businesses of all sizes. The reality is, every network can be targeted by cyber hackers, and as much as 43 percent of cyberattacks involve small businesses. Your managed IT provider will constantly monitor your network to detect security threats, outages, or other risks. As a result, your business can count on a smooth-running network at all times.

Network management is made even easier with Cisco Meraki. This powerful suite of products and solutions provides advanced malware protection, automatic intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering tools, and anti-virus and anti-phishing capabilities. It includes mobile device management, wireless WAN, and smart cameras. It’s also easy to gain clarity over how your network is performing. Meraki uses a central network management hub that allows network administrators to manage the entire Meraki portfolio from one intuitive interface.

Give your business a competitive edge with top-level network management and smart products and solutions.