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Network administrators are in the trenches of our computer networks day in and day out. Due to the nature of these complex networks and the ever-evolving tech world, admins come up against many challenges during their work.

One of the most current pressing challenges? A lack of computer networking equipment.

Recently, Gartner published a new report stating that supply chain issues have driven network equipment lead times to 200 days or more. And in some cases, these lead times are reaching up to 400 days — more than a calendar year. Unfortunately, these long lead times are derailing critical network upgrade projects. As a result, net admins are dealing with a severe dip in productivity.

Other obstacles to network admin productivity

A lack of critical network equipment isn’t the only hurdle network admins must jump. Other issues, including security and network performance, continue to challenge network admins.

Security

Cybersecurity is an escalating concern as technology advances. And according to the Allianz Risk Barometer, the threat of cyber incidents worries companies even more than supply chain disruptions and natural disasters.

Net admins understand this fear firsthand. The tech landscape is expanding, and full teams are now working from home, leading criminals to target less secure home networks. The push to go full cloud is resulting in dangerous security holes. And IoT is driving a huge increase in devices to manage.

Network performance

With all of the work-from-home activity, as well as hundreds of new devices connecting each second, network performance becomes a challenge too. Traffic is increasing, and it’s coming from multiple places at once.

Network admins must get creative in how they securely manage new traffic without sacrificing performance. And as we mentioned earlier, they may need to do so without access to additional networking equipment.

What’s the one thing these challenges have in common? At least some of the resulting productivity pains can be improved with a small amount of preparation. For example, performing a network audit could help you uncover and mitigate harmful security flaws. And calculating downtime could help you prepare for future supply chain issues. Here are three TechRepublic Premium resources that can help.

Checklist: Network documentation

This checklist outlines its mission clearly: “How can a firm properly administer and maintain its network systems if the organization’s technology staff isn’t even aware of all the gear under its purview?”

Without understanding what network assets you have, how can you properly secure them? How can you know which equipment will need an upgrade in the coming year so you can get a jump on those lead times?

You can’t.

That’s why we developed this network documentation checklist to help you perform a solid audit of your network equipment. It will help you track everything from manufacturers and models to firmware updates and IP addresses.

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Systems downtime expense calculator

Computer system failure — whether due to security mishaps or a lack of network equipment for upgrades — leads to costly downtime. Even if business doesn’t stop completely, a system failure can severely reduce productivity. The best way to be prepared for any downtime incident is to estimate costs early.

This systems downtime expense calculator can help you do just that. It will assist you in evaluating the costs of each downtime incident based on the reliance of your business on certain key systems.

This calculator includes an Assumptions tab, which highlights the amount of productivity you stand to lose by job category. It also includes tallies for intangible costs, such as lost sales and the cost of recovering a failed system.

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Checklist: PC and Mac migrations

Even if you manage to get your hands on new computer or network equipment, the migration process can be a challenge. Even one overlooked step in the migration process can lead to security risks or equipment failures that impede productivity.

Many questions must be addressed during the process. Does the user need a laptop or desktop? Do cloud accounts need to be configured? Who’s responsible for migrating local data?

The best way to ensure any PC or Mac migration is completed quickly and securely is by employing a checklist. This PC and Mac migration checklist will help you cover all the bases.

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