But companies seeking to deliver critical business information over frame relay circuits need a guarantee of network performance for those circuits. Monitoring and controlling the performance and reliability of public-network circuits depends greatly on SLAs (service-level agreements) between companies and service providers and monitoring of the agreements.

SLAs are contracts that define the service levels expected from a service provider and the penalties imposed if the service provider does not comply. These SLAs’ main purpose is to help keep conflicts between companies and service providers to a minimum by setting reasonable expectations of service.

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Many companies are fighting back the rising tide of total cost of ownership with comprehensive network management systems that can manage everything from a central location.

There are many factors to be considered when purchasing and implementing these systems, which range from management framework products, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.’s OpenView, Computer Associates International Inc.’s Unicenter and Tivoli Systems Inc.’s NetView, to sophisticated trouble-reporting systems, such as Tivoli’s TME, to router configuration programs such as Cisco Systems Inc.’s NetSys.

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Ask any company if it would be interested in increasing its network efficiency and proactively managing its network, and the answer would be yes. Ask it how much it would be willing to pay for such benefits, and the answer is not as clear.

The cost of adding RMON capabilities to a large network can exceed $100,000, and the benefits are difficult to quantify.

rmondiagramAlthough vendors now offer companies more RMON capabilities than ever, many companies don’t use them.

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If you are running a company that has got some permanent data needs then it is always better to hire a data recovery company permanently. Some people think that data recovery company is not relevant to their business but when you start depending too much on your data sources then it is better to keep in touch with a recovery company. The work of this recovery company will not be very wide but it will just maintain your data sources. Periodic checks and backup of critical data will be the main task of that company and these small precautions can save you from a big data loss. Budget is another issue that lots of people are concerned about but this kind of permanent hiring will not cost you much. You just have to pay monthly fee to this company and …

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To have great security, you need to assemble an elite group of security experts — what we call a patch patrol — to locate, test, and install software patches in any system that may have a weakness. Don’t treat this as drudge work and assign your least capable programmers to the task. They will not be able to do the job. Fund this team adequately and give them the tools they need to succeed.

net-secNow set your patch patrol in motion. They should begin by checking the vast array of independent and vendor-supported security Web sites, newsgroups, and mailing lists that have sprung up in recent years. Continuous monitoring of these sites will not only help educate your team and improve their skills, it will also provide an early warning of new and dangerous hacker exploits. Monitoring vendor Web sites

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