IT Documentation - The Blog

Create a professional network map

November 17, 2021

Most IT managers and administrators know what a network map is from their own experience. The purpose behind it is, of course, to provide a clear and schematic representation of the company’s own networks. This makes it possible to quickly read off the setup and structures. For this reason, it is an important information tool for every project that is planned in the network. This can be purely technical expansions or conversions of the network. But also for larger construction measures, such as a building extension or the integration of new premises, a clear network map is worth its weight in gold. But also for audits, budget planning or troubleshooting, a good network overview is one of the most important sources of information.

Manual approach to creating a network map

It is well known that IT departments very often suffer from a lack of staff and time. Nevertheless, even a tightly staffed IT team needs to think in advance about comprehensive work in and around the internal IT network before getting down to business.

Let’s assume that almost everyone with a network maintenance and support job has at least tried to draw a hand sketch of a network on a piece of paper.

“Professional” network sketches were then already done with a manually created sketch in a program like Visio. This then also slowly replaced the scribble on the sheet of paper and gave the manually created network overview a more professional look. The crooked strokes became straight lines with labels and the components were represented with clearly recognizable graphics. Even though the graphical representation took a big leap forward. Unfortunately, the data origin does not differ from the hand-painted overview. Just as elaborate and error-prone. The connected devices often spring from a list retrieved from memory, which have manifested themselves in the convolutions of the brain over time as the devices are set up. Listed then are mainly much-used and large, visible devices, such as huge network printers, workstation computers, of course the servers and switches that are located in the designated server room and important devices such as firewalls and routers.

While expensive peripherals are rarely overlooked, equipment and devices that aren’t so obviously sitting around are easily forgotten over the years. Especially devices that have been sitting in a quiet room for years without complaint and are only included in the overview plan with an “Oh yes, there was something else”.

You can guess it for sure. In most cases, a manually created network map will not provide more than a small orientation guide. If one relies on such a document then also still to hundred per cent, there is even big danger. In an emergency, something can go wrong or events can be conjured up that, in the worst case, can lead to the failure of individual segments or departments. And under certain circumstances, they can even cost the company a lot of money.

Create maps of networks professionally

Enough doom and gloom. Here’s how to do it really professionally.
It’s best to quickly forget about the manual method. Especially for networks that have always grown or expanded and rebuilt over all these years. A professional network map lives above all from mapping all devices that can be reached in the network. It should not matter what kind of devices are involved. No matter whether it is a workstation, a server or the Raspberry Pi with its Linux operating system that was used years ago, really all devices must be recorded. But since a comprehensive record alone is not enough, this data must also be kept always up-to-date. And thus a professional network map also requires automation. This runs regularly in the background and automatically takes care of fresh data sets.


Automatically generated professional network map
Automatically generated professional network map.

A guide to creating a network plan

We use Docusnap to show you how easy it is to create an up-to-date and complete network map in our short video:

 

Not just an overview of networks

A network map is not only a good helper for the IT administrator. It is also a mandatory component of any IT emergency manual. Here, too, great attention must be paid to complete coverage and timeliness. Changes that happen over time in any network must also be available in the documentation. After all, nothing would be more of a hindrance than having to fall back on an incomplete, outdated and no longer valid network map in an emergency.

Create maps of networks with Docusnap?

If you are not yet using professional documentation software, we would like to invite you to a free trial with Docusnap. Try Docusnap for 30 days and experience on your own network the great benefits and relief it can bring to your business. Visit us at our homepage. And because we want you to experience the full potential of the software, we also offer our full professional support during the free trial period, ready to assist you with any questions or problems.