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IPAM: Your Guide to IP Address Management

IPAM, IP addresses, IP address, IPAM Tool, Compliance Standards

With more and more devices being used in the workplace, assigning IP addresses has become a serious challenge. We look at how IPAM can help.

Do you know how many devices are in your company? Some say that the average employee has more than two devices they use for work. They may have a desktop computer, phone, and a laptop that needs to be connected.

All these devices can create an IT nightmare. Each device needs to be connected to your network and has an IP address to be able to communicate with other devices.

You need to make sure that you have enough IP addresses available on your network to handle those devices, which is where IPAM can help.

Read on to find out what IPAM is and how you can use it to manage your company’s devices.

How Do IP Addresses Work?

You don’t think about what happens when you connect to the internet. You usually just think about the information that you need and get on with it.

What happens is that you are given an IP address or an internet protocol address. This is like a phone number that’s used to send information between devices connected to a network.

On most home networks, your devices all share the same IP internet as your router. That system has worked because you usually don’t have that many devices online.

Now, everything from your refrigerator to your thermostat is connected. That’s created the need to manage how those IP addresses are used and distributed along your network.  

Static and Dynamic IP Addresses

You’ll come across two types of addresses, static and dynamic. A static IP address is a permanent address that you assign to yourself by alternating the network settings on your device.

That’s a bit complicated to do, which is why most people don’t use this option to assign IP addresses.

The alternative to that is to use a dynamic IP address. Your routers and servers use the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP. This is a program or service that runs in the background.

When you restart your computer or go into a coffee shop where you saved the router settings, you’re automatically logged into the network and assigned an IP address. With a DHCP setup, you lease IP addresses that have a set expiration date and time.

What is IPAM?

All of that leads to IPAM. IPAM means Internet Protocol Access Management. IPAM lets you or a network administrator manage, track, organize or audit your IP address space.

IPAM systems are usually databases that have a list of all of your IP addresses. You’ll be able to see which IP address is used and unused, the type of device, and the hostname.

IPAM tools are integrated with the DHCP services on your router or server. You can see how your network resources are being used in a given moment.

Do You Really Need IPAM?

For the most part, businesses have relied on spreadsheets to keep track of IP addresses. That’s usually fine if you only have a couple of devices that use static IP addresses.

Since most devices are connected using DHCP, you need to find a way to be able to update data, which you can’t really do with a spreadsheet. IPAM tracks and updates your IP addresses seamlessly.

IPAM is important for home and business networks for a number of reasons. Here are just a few reasons why IPAM needs to be a part of your network.

Security

You know that your networks and devices are at risk more than ever. When you do a security audit, you’ll want to know if there are any suspicious devices using your networks.

You can do that using IPAM. You can also detect devices that are abusing your network or breaking your IT policies.

Meet Compliance Standards

Some businesses and industries are subject to strict regulations regarding the use and safeguarding of data. Government contractors and financial businesses are under heavy scrutiny to ensure that sensitive data is kept safe.

Using IPAM is another layer that a network administrator can use to protect data and comply with these regulations.

Better Tech Support

For small to medium-sized enterprises, you may have your hands full with devices. You have voice-over IP phones, dozens of employees and all their devices to manage.

When there’s a tech issue, you are the first to hear about it. You have to be sure that you can troubleshoot issues quickly. You can start the troubleshooting process by using the IPAM dashboard.

You can easily spot where the breakdown in your network is. It’s almost impossible to do that with a spreadsheet that’s not current.

How to Find an IPAM Tool

Are you convinced that IPAM needs to be part of your network? How can you find a tool for your network? Here are a few guidelines.

You’ll find free and paid tools. Don’t be put off by the free tools because they’re free. There are high-quality IPAM tools that are free.

At the very least, an IPAM tool should tell you how many IP addresses are remaining, the number of subnets, the size of the subnets, and how they are being used.

You also need to know which routers are assigned to what IP addresses, whether the IP addresses are static or dynamic, and the hardware and hostname of each IP address assigned by DHCP.

Some tools will have additional features, such as alerts if there is unusual activity or a conflict on your network.

IPAM Can Make Your Life Easier

With so many devices connected to the internet, it’s a wonder that they can communicate with each other. IP addresses are assigned to each and every device online, allowing them to communicate with each other.

You need to find a way to manage and keep track of these devices. You can track them by using IPAM. IPAM tools also help you keep your networks safe and secure.

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