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Take IP Address Management Seriously; Your Business Depends on It

Let’s start by stating the obvious: All business communications depend on IP addresses. Without an IP address, you simply can’t communicate over the network.

No IP address means no access to your email server, no access to your website, and no cell phone or VoIP access. So much for the new VoIP system installed last month.

What does that mean to you? The answer is simple. Efficient IP Address Management (IPAM) is critical to your business success. In essence: No IP, no network, no business.

In fact, studies show that even a couple of hours of downtime in one of these core services can cost thousands, or even millions of dollars in lost business revenue. Employees, customers, partners, and suppliers have to be able to connect, and so it is critical that IP Addresses are readily available and properly managed.

In today’s marketplace “back to basics” is the core message with every business trying to do more with less. IT departments are looking for a consolidated view of the entire network to enhance operational efficiency, a smaller footprint within the IP network, and higher IT productivity through workflow delegation.

When it comes to IPAM, DNS and DHCP, these are definitely cornerstones for business continuity, but today’s main challenge is managing the fast-growing number of IP addresses.

And, while you may have the basics in DNS and DHCP, it is clear that IPAM is more than a marriage of these two core network services. In doing more with less, organizations are now looking to attribute non-traditional data such as employee numbers, GL codes, project codes, or department codes to their IP addresses.

As VoIP, IPv6, Virtualization, and new IP-enabled devices like IP security cameras become increasingly common networks will only get harder to manage. Businesses have outgrown “band-aid” solutions and now require automated IPAM as an unintended consequence of network growth.

And, as networks grow, the risks associated with not knowing who is using a particular IP address, or the fact that there are more IP addresses connected to your network than your network discovery tools report, grow with them.

In reality, managing IP addresses using spreadsheets makes about as much sense as developing business documents using a typewriter. It may have been smart business at one time, but that time has passed.

So what is the alternative?

The IPAM Solution

Today’s IPAM solutions not only eliminate the time-consuming management of IP addresses via spreadsheets, but also enable businesses to keep network-centric data and IP information synchronized at all times. Some even include important features such as high availability and failover capabilities as well as central management of Microsoft DNS and DHCP servers while simultaneously making it easy to model domains for the purpose of planning, tracking, and managing IP addresses and associated data.

When you also consider that some of these solutions also include such features as IP reconciliation, workflow delegation, and forced naming policies it becomes clear how IPAM can enable any enterprise to minimize its core network services footprint, reduce its operational costs and maximize its business continuity.

So, when you consider that your business runs on IP addresses, the message is clear. Take IP Address Management seriously; your business depends on it.

By Branko Miskov, Director of Product Management at BlueCat Networks

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