The basis for technology is the network, which affects EVERYTHING.
Switches historically have only been replaced when they physically died, and firewalls have been kept around as long as the firmware can be updated. In today’s world, that mentality needs to be revisited. The amount of data being pumped through our corporate networks has increased exponentially, and the CAPACITY of the network is often the cause of the bottleneck when things get “slow.”
When you have an older 10/100 switch, the backplane (processing capacity), is sized for handling less than the maximum load if all the ports were used at their individual maximum capacity. So, even if your INTERNET connection is only 50Mbps and you have a 100Mbps switch, you still have a bottleneck at the switch, especially if you have a lot of local network traffic. This is an issue with network-based storage and backup devices. Have you ever experienced the once-daily slowdown in the office when the backups run? I bet you have.
The same goes for firewalls. The ports may have a 1Gbps maximum throughput, but the processing capacity of the firewall itself is much less. The average ISP speed (Internet) to most offices today is 50Mb+, so you need to consider your firewall’s TRUE processing capacity first so it doesn’t become the bottleneck. Often, the “advanced” services are turned off on the firewall to improve network responsiveness, which leaves the entire operation less secure! To summarize, a properly sized firewall keeps you both secure and fast!
The real lesson here is that you need to PLAN on replacing your networking gear about every five years. Often, this is an opportunity to deploy PoE (Power over Ethernet) gear, consolidate multiple older switches, and upgrade to a modern firewall with advanced security features. Don’t think just because it’s “working,” everything is operating like it should be!
We need to talk if you haven’t planned on replacing your technology as it ages out. Reach out, and let’s discuss a strategy that keeps your employees working the fastest they can on the best technology.