More and more businesses are moving to the cloud. Many core business services – from communications and collaboration tools to back office functions and e-commerce – are now hosted in distant server centres run by third-party operators.

Many of the applications your own business probably relies on, like Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Teams or Zoom, are cloud services. As more organisations transition to remote or hybrid work models, more and more services will be transferred to the cloud.

In the modern business landscape, cloud simply makes sense. For many business services, cloud negates the need to buy, house and maintain on-premise equipment, creating tangible cost savings. Cloud-based communications are an obvious example.

But perhaps the most obvious benefit of moving to the cloud is the “work anywhere” culture it promotes. Cloud services tend to be accessible wherever employees have an internet connection, and on any device. That makes them perfect for the new world of remote, mobile and hybrid work.

With all your services moving to the cloud, it makes sense to employ a cloud-based network management solution, too. As more and more of your network is focused on facilitating smooth and efficient cloud access, it stands to reason that cloud-based network management is the best tool for the job.

In this article we’ll look at what cloud based network management is, how it works and what benefits it has for your business.

What is cloud-based network management?

Network management is the process of administering, managing and operating a data network.

It is increasingly essential to modern, digital-first businesses, regardless of size or sector. We all rely on our digital infrastructure, and especially connectivity, more than ever. Network management makes sure your network is working optimally for the good of your business. It can pinpoint issues before they become problems.

That used to be the role of an on-premise network management system, but increasingly businesses are switching to cloud-based services.

According to the Cloud Managed Networking Market Growth 2021 report, the global cloud-managed networking market is projected to reach $14.61 billion (£10.7 billion) in 2021, up from $3.32 billion (£2.4 billion) in 2019.

How does cloud-based network management work?

To put it simply, cloud-based network management allows you to operate and maintain your business network entirely through resources hosted in the cloud. It is usually offered as a service rather than a product.

Data is continually collected from network devices, like routers, switches and wireless controllers. It’s also gathered from what are called network endpoints, which simply means the computers, smartphones, sensors and other equipment your business uses every day.

When it has this data, your network management system can automatically make configuration changes that optimise the network, send reports to your IT team and troubleshoot issues. In a word, it ensures all parts of your network, and the network as a whole, are in healthy working order.

Any good network management service can do this, but cloud-based services allow IT staff to access all your network information from anywhere, and make any necessary changes, using a web browser or mobile app.

And there are other benefits to cloud-based solutions, too. We’ll take a closer look at those in the next section.

The benefits of cloud-based network management

Why choose a cloud-based platform over an on-premise equivalent? Here are four further benefits of cloud

Ease of use

When your network management system sits in the cloud, you can configure new and replacement network devices using Zero Touch Deployment. When you plug in a device it automatically downloads configuration settings from the cloud, and is operational in seconds, with no on-site expertise required.

Your IT staff can manage the network using the app or web browser wherever they are. Monitoring and management tasks can be carried out through the platform for any device, site, or network anywhere in the world. Scaling up your network is simplicity itself.

Pay less for more

With cloud-based network management, you get a powerful service with no upfront hardware costs and an as-a-service-based payment model. That means you pay a predictable monthly fee, with no add-ons and surprises. Maintenance and support is usually included as part of your monthly payment. Upgrading your system also becomes the responsibility of the service provider, ridding you of a time-consuming task.

Get visible

Cloud-based network management gives you deep visibility, providing end-to-end control over every access point, switch and site on your cloud-managed network. It all happens via an intuitive customisable interface that is designed to minimise the time it takes to carry out tasks, while enabling an at-a-glance understanding of your network status. It all frees up your time for more productive work.

Automate

Cloud services update themselves, automatically. And automation is a key benefit in other ways, too. You can automate alerts based on bespoke parameters, so your IT team always knows about potential network problems before they impact your business. Reporting can also be automated, providing real-time analytics and insights that drive business value.

Get informed with The Definite Guide to Managed IT Services

Downsides to cloud-based network management

Security and access is a concern with any cloud tool, and more so with one that gives direct entry to your data network.

The answer is to make sure your service supports different levels of admin privileges so you can determine who has access to your network and to what extent. Multi-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption are also important.

The only other potential downside to cloud is around connectivity. If your connectivity drops out, so does your service. Similarly, if your provider has an outage, it could potentially affect your business.

With that in mind, look for strict service level agreements (SLAs), and ideally network uptime guarantees of 99.9% or more. If your provider also offers standalone operational backup for your network devices, so much the better.

What sectors will benefit from cloud-based network management?

If you have a data network, you’ll benefit from cloud-based network management. Here’s how it affects different types of business.

SMBs

With easy network deployment and management, and central control, small and medium-sized businesses can fully embrace digital transformation. Simple cloud management lets you deploy more cloud services, and experiment with new technology like the Internet of Things, without having to invest in new IT expertise.

Retail

Cloud-based network management also gives you a new level of control over staff and guest Wi-Fi, making it ideal for retail businesses. Tailor your customer Wi-Fi experience using real time traffic analytics, and drive sales. At the same time, digital signage and Point of Sale (PoS) devices require the kind of stable, robust network that cloud management delivers.

Hospitality

Give your guests secure and easily accessible Wi-Fi and use real time data to better understand customer behaviour. Use a customisable captive portal to enable multi-channel marketing.

Education

Easily create and support a network that covers multiple campuses and supports data intensive applications like digital whiteboards and surveillance cameras. Use web content filtering and application control to ensure your network is only used for legitimate purposes.

Get informed with The Definite Guide to Managed IT Services

Nuclias Cloud from Mooncomputers

As we’ve seen, cloud-based network management has huge benefits for businesses of all sizes and in a wide range of sectors.

That’s why Mooncomputers has partnered with D-Link to bring you Nuclias Cloud, a complete cloud-managed networking solution for SMBs, accessible through web browser or management app. It lets small businesses with limited resources create and manage flexible and reliable Wi-Fi networks, minimising network downtime while maximising efficiency and productivity.

Benefits of Nuclias Cloud

  • End-to-end – a complete WLAN infrastructure solution that can be deployed and managed with minimal in-house expertise
  • Cloud management – unlimited scalability, zero touch deployment and admin access from anywhere
  • Real-time analytics and automated reporting produce insights that drive business value
  • Peace of mind – with a 99.9% SLA, end-to-end encryption and comprehensive automation, you can worry about your business, not your network
  • Ease-of-use – an intuitive, customisable interface saves you time while giving an at-a-glance understanding of your network status

Mooncomputers makes transitioning to cloud-based network management easy. We’ve got long experience in cloud and network management, and over 20 dedicated engineers whose role is to design tailored services to meet our customers’ needs. We can implement Nuclias Cloud in your business and configure it to your precise requirements. We’ll support the service with our knowledgeable, 24/7 service team.

Cloud-based network management is simple, cost-effective and gives even small businesses the tools they need to optimise wired and wireless networks, creating more effective and customer-focused businesses.

If you’d like to know more about how Mooncomputers could help your organisation, please get in touch.