The term network services is used to describe a wide range of software and connectivity tools that are managed by a central group and distributed to the networked computers. A networked computer environment occurs when multiple computers are connected to each other or a central server. The computers are able to access shared files and utilities from a central location. There are several advantages to this type of environment, ranging from increased quality control to performance and issue management.
There are four types of network services: user management, email, printing, and system administration. In a networked environment, the desktops are known as client computers or workstations. The servers are typically stored in a special temperature-controlled room that is often physically located in a different building or space than the workstation users. Access is provided through network cables that are used to transmit data packages within the network. These cables also provide access to the Internet, typically after being routed through a central server or network switch.
User management is a range of services, from the creation of user names and passwords to the allocation of rights, privileges, and access. For example, when a new staff member joins a department, the network administrator must create a new account for this person to access the network services. Access to applications, files, services, and tools this person will require to complete his or her job must be provided by the system administrator. This is known as user management and authentication.
Email is a widely used productivity tool that requires connection to the Internet. In addition, many organizations have a policy surrounding the email software that can be used, the maximum storage capacity, and the file sizes that can be transmitted. Most organizations provide staff with a company-specific email address, which requires the creation and maintenance of an email server.
Shared printing is one of the primary network services required in any organization. Instead of individual printers at each desk, all the users can submit printing jobs to a central unit. This unit is often a multi-function printer, scanner, and photocopier. In order to provide this type of network service, many firms implement special printer management software to control the flow of documents and protect confidential documents.
From a system administration perspective, the ability to control all the workstations from a central location is the best network service. The administrator is responsible for deploying new software applications, updating the operating systems, and maintaining the same versions of software programs on all the workstations. Many firms lock the workstations, so only the system administrator can add new software or run new programs. This increases the overall quality of the network and reduces staff time spent on computer maintenance.