Networks are often classified as Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), Personal Area Network (PAN), Virtual Private Network (VPN), Campus Area Network (CAN), Storage Area Network (SAN), depending on their scale, scope and purpose.
Usage, trust levels and access rights often differ between these types of networks. For example: LANs tend to be designed for internal use by an organization’s internal systems and employees in individual physical locations (such as a building), while WANs may connect physically separate parts of an organization to each other and may include connections to third parties.
Keeping all of these networks up and running smoothly is vital to any business—large or small. Your people in the field need to be able to access their files and programs located in the office building. Your staff in the office need to be able to quickly access email, internet, programs and files. And, whether they’re sitting in the office or in a hotel room 3,000 miles away, your entire company needs the ability to collaborate and communicate with each other.
Just as importantly, your networks need to keep the “bad guys” out and your data secure. You need to control who has access to your networks — and what type of access they have. Gaining this security is as simple as monitoring and maintaining your network hardware, software and user-access controls. It also requires employee education and training in proper security procedures (i.e. locking up laptops when traveling and never giving user names and passwords to anyone else).