Benefits of a Network Environment
(1) Reduced Costs
It wasn’t long ago that each machine required it’s own additional peripherals (printers, modems, etc.). With a network environment you can afford to purchase a higher quality single unit and share it among the other computers in the network. Another benefit of networking comes from proxy servers, which allow networks to provide low-cost Internet access to all computers through a single entry point.
(2) Data Integrity
Important data can easily become corrupt when transferred between groups of individuals. Consider the scenario called “Sneaker Net” where data is transferred via floppy disks. With multiple copies on different disks it is impossible to determine the integrity of such data. Network environments allow for you to implement centralized data management, which places data on a server that is capable of granting multiple access to it. The server then takes on the responsibility of ensuring data integrity. Centralized management also plays a key role in ensuring that critical data gets backed-up.
Network operating systems allow for strict control over the level of access granted. Permissions on systems range from large groups to specific individuals. Network operating systems also provide monitoring software which can notify administrators when unsuccessful attempts are made and can even be set to “lock-out” questionable accounts. Firewalls can also provide added security to networks which have machines that are accessible over the Internet. Combined with virus protection software, firewalls offer the best defense against unauthorized intrusion and computer virus attacks from the Internet.
Even with centralized management in place and the best security restrictions, mistakes will happen and systems fail. With a regimented schedule for back-up, your data can be stored and retrieved later in the event that a catastrophe occurs. With the addition of off-site storage your critical data will be protected in the event of fire or any other disaster that might level your building.