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The Disadvantages (Costs) of Networking
Now that I have portrayed the great
value and many useful benefits of networking,
I must bring you crashing back to earth with that old nemesis of the
realistic: TANSTAAFL. For those who are not Heinlein fans, this acronym
stands for There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Even though networking really does represent a whole that is greater
than the sum of its parts, it does have some real and significant
costs and drawbacks associated with it.
Here are a few of the items that
balance against the advantages of networking.
- Network Hardware, Software and Setup Costs:
Computers don't just magically network themselves, of course. Setting
up a network requires an investment in hardware and software, as well
as funds for planning, designing and implementing the network. For a
home with a small network of two or three PCs, this is relatively inexpensive,
possibly amounting to less than a hundred dollars with today's low prices
for network hardware, and operating systems already designed for networks.
For a large company, cost can easily run into tens of thousands of dollarsor
- Hardware and Software Management and Administration
Costs: In all but the smallest of implementations, ongoing maintenance
and management of the network requires the care and attention of an
IT professional. In a smaller organization that already has a system
administrator, a network may fall within this person's job responsibilities,
but it will take time away from other tasks. In more substantial organizations,
a network administrator may need to be hired, and in large companies
an entire department may be necessary.
- Undesirable Sharing: With the good comes
the bad; while networking allows the easy sharing of useful information,
it also allows the sharing of undesirable data. One significant sharing
problem in this regard has to do with viruses, which are easily
spread over networks and the Internet. Mitigating these effects costs
more time, money and administrative effort.
- Illegal or Undesirable Behavior: Similar
to the point above, networking facilitates useful connectivity and communication,
but also brings difficulties with it. Typical problems include abuse
of company resources, distractions that reduce productivity, downloading
of illegal or illicit materials, and even software piracy. In larger
organizations, these issues must be managed through explicit policies
and monitoring, which again, further increases management costs.
- Data Security Concerns: If a network is
implemented properly, it is possible to greatly improve the security
of important data. In contrast, a poorly-secured network puts critical
data at risk, exposing it to the potential problems associated with
hackers, unauthorized access and even sabotage.
Most of these costs and potential
problems can be managed; that's a big part of the job of those who set
up and run networks. In the end, as with any other decision, whether
to network or not is a matter of weighing the advantages against the
disadvantages. Of course today, nearly everyone decides that networking
Key Concept: Networking has a few drawbacks that balance against its many positive aspects. Setting up a network has costs in hardware, software, maintenance and administration. It is also necessary to manage a network to keep it running smoothly, and to address possible misuse or abuse. Data security also becomes a much bigger concern when computers are connected together.
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Table Of Contents - Contact Us
The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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