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Healthcare Network Management Key to Visibility, Control

Healthcare network management is needed for organizations to gain much needed visibility and control over their Wi-Fi and the devices connecting to it.

healthcare network management

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are adding more connected medical devices to their Wi-Fi networks, making it more difficult to manage and monitor traffic. Healthcare network management tools are needed to ensure that all connections are transmitting necessary data when and where it is meant to be transmitted.

The managed Wi-Fi market is expected to grow as it becomes more important for organizations to benefit from having more control over the entire lifecycle of their WLAN solution, according to a Research and Markets report.

The market is expected to grow from $3 billion to $6 billion at a CAGR of 14.8 percent through 2022, with healthcare one of the main verticals to experience growth.

“Managed Wi-Fi solutions and services are instrumental in managing the user access and the entire life cycle of WLAN, from designing, engineering, and installing wireless systems to the entire network management, including infrastructure management,” said report authors. “Enterprises are roping in MSPs to manage their widespread and complex Wi-Fi networks, to fulfill the connectivity demand of employees, guests, and commercial users for providing instant, secure, and reliable internet connectivity.”

A management solution can detect abnormal behavior from devices connecting to the network. For example, the management solution can identify that an infusion pump is trying to send a web request out to the internet instead of just communicating with the management server.

Devices communicating abnormally can cause security problems for the network. Without a management solution, administrators may never detect small and potentially dangerous malfunctions.

Cloud-managed Wi-Fi is one of the ways organizations can have more control over their network from conception and design to monitoring and maintaining secure connections. Organizations with larger networks and more connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices can use a cloud-based management solution to combine processes that are traditionally more complicated.

The public cloud is especially beneficial to network management tools because it provides a single point of management in the cloud for provisioning, troubleshooting, configuration, and firmware management. These services can be managed remotely through a streamlined interface that allows IT staff to spend less time monitoring the network because of increased network visibility.

Cloud-based network management tools can also save organizations money because there is no upfront cost for deployment, which is normally found with traditional on-premises solutions. IT administrators also don’t need to manually perform updates. This can save organizations money on additional staff needed to manage the network management solution.

Entities can redistribute current staff where more expertise is needed by using cloud-based tools. Institutions with large campuses or multiple locations can manage their networks from one location and won’t require additional IT staff to monitor or physically expand the existing network.

Cloud-managed WLANs are also much easier to scale as an organization grows. Additional controllers can be added or taken away as needed. If an organization adopts more cloud technology in the future for storage or applications, the tools can be easily added and managed through the cloud as well.

While the public cloud has many benefits, organizations need to be prepared for network outages. If there is a network outage, the network management solution may not be totally reachable, which can leave the network vulnerable to attack and make it difficult for IT administrators to detect abnormal behavior.

Visibility and control are the two most desired things when it comes to network management. Many healthcare organizations looking for wireless network upgrades are seeking visibility as a way to control the devices connecting to the network.

Network management solutions are key to providing IT administrators the control necessary to support the number of devices accessing the network, and to prioritizing the traffic so mission-critical data gets through.

Network management tools are critical to giving IT administrators the visibility and control they need to protect the network and make sure it’s functioning efficiently.

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