THE RIGHTS, EXPECTATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE NETWORK MANAGER
The network manager (and his team) is responsible for maintaining the
network. In order to carry out this task the network manager often has an
elevated level of access privileges. The network manager should be able to
expect these access rights as standard and would naturally expect a degree of
autonomy from the company managers. Balancing these, are a set of
responsibilities and duties that must be performed in order to maintain the
position given. These rights, expectations and responsibilities will now be
examined in more detail.
Network managers have a large and far reaching set of rights and privileges
in order to help them administer to the network that which must be administered.
A network manager may not necessarily directly exorcise those rights but will
likely delegate certain roles to his team of
administrators and technicians.
Ultimately it must be recognised of all the administrators and technicians that
they do not operate under their own authority and direction but under the
authority and direction of the network manager and is the network manager alone
who will answer for everything that they do, say or fail to do.
As will be made apparent in the section entitled "Responsibilities"
the network manager is answerable for the network and activities carried out
thereon. As such, the network manager must have the right to set out policies of
acceptable use, grant and revoke rights of access to different areas of the
SUMMARY OF RIGHTS
- To create acceptable use policies and to have users follow them.
- To know the nature and quantity of all software installed across the
- To set boundaries and restrictions, to enforce said limits and to have
them recognised by the users.
- A network manager would be severely handicapped in the execution of the
role without the ability to initiate disciplinary proceedings against users
who continuously and flagrantly flout the network regulations and usage
policy. It is vital therefore that the network manager has the full
understanding and support of the management structure and the empowerment to
act in the best interests of the network.
- Right to expect to be consulted by management regularly (and sadly often
no hope of it what-so-ever).
The network manager that has not spent any significant time in the area of
user support before taking up the role, as manager of the entire network, is
likely to hold a number of seemingly logical but ultimately unreasonable
The network manager not used to dealing with users might expect that said
users would act in a manor that the network manager might consider to be
and sensible. This includes but is not limited to:
- Users logging off correctly
- Users knowing what they are doing or at the very least being sufficiently
competent to be able to use a PC
- Users following good passwords policies such as:
- Not emailing ones own password to anyone else
- Not leaving a machines unattended while logged on
- Not letting another "borrow" ones login ID
- Not using passwords that any fool can guess within sixty seconds
The network manager might expect the users to treat equipment with respect
and to take system security seriously. This same manager might also expect
curtsey and commonsense from the users.
What the network manager will actually get is a shocking
disappointment. An experienced network manager will quickly realise that along with all the rights
and responsibilities that the role entails - one should expect to organise
regular and frequent user training sessions, if only for the sake of personal
A good network manager will realise that users can not be expected to behave
in a manor suited to today's networked work-place unless the user is trained in
the relevant policies and regulations of the
work-place. The network manager who
realises this must therefore expect training to be an ongoing and continuous
expectation of the day-to-day running of the network.
The reason why network managers have such far-reaching rights is tied in part
to the depth of responsibility that they have. The network manager is personally
responsible for the network. This includes the content of users personal space
and the software installed on every individual node on the network (PCs in the
The network manager has a responsibility to the user to ensure that resources
(network connectivity, world wide web access etc) are constantly available and
to ensure that all reasonable action has been taken to protect the user, the
users data and the users privacy. This is made all the harder because of the
The network manager is required to provide freedom from undesirable events
such as malicious and accidental misuse from other users or
Under the Data Protection Act 1984, the company has a responsibility to
manage and control the data it holds about individuals. The company must ensure
that the data is accurate, secure and relevant. These tasks
fall to the network
Under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, the network manager gained the added
responsibility of ensuring that the network was not used and as far as is possible
could not be used for unauthorised access to computer material, unauthorised
access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further
unauthorised modification of computer material. With access to the World Wide
Web being seen as a must on modern networks it falls again to
the network manager to clean up after the users.
Given network managers are held to be legally responsible for the content of
the network a breach of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 could lead
to the network manager being prosecuted. It is unsurprising then that network
managers take such a dim view of users "only downloading" MP3s /
Napster / Kaza / Cracks / Copies / games and all the other paraphernalia that
those who know just a little too much feel they should be allowed to make use
The network manager's role can be broken down into four separate sections
Full unrestricted access including:
- Access to user accounts
- Access all user files
- Power to create, suspend and reset accounts
Given the personal implications of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act
1988 and the regular inspections that larger networks tend to have network
managers are unsurprisingly keen to ensure that computers on the network have
only the designated software installed.
- New Licenses must be purchased as the network grows
- New software must be accounted for in new budgets.
- Virus Scan definitions must be kept up to date.
- Keeping up to date with security patches.
Other management jobs
- Authority to implement and enforce network policies
- Password policies
- Acceptable use
- Restrictions of access to unauthorised personnel
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Clearly then, the network manager is in a position of substantial power yet
the responsibilities that go with that power are equally great. The network
manager must not only ensure that the network is functionally sound but that the
users and the usage are equally compliant. The network manager must balance the
requirements of law, the demands of the users, the direction of management and
the dictates of an often very limited budget.
See Also: Network User
and An introductory guide to networks
This write-up is based on UK law only and does not necessarily reflect the
laws of other countries although it is considered that they will be
This write-up was originally part of a much larger work by the author,
written for an undergraduate assessment.
Thanks Brontosaurus for the patches head-up
- www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/Ukpga_19880048_en_1.htm (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988)
- www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900018_en_1.htm (Computer Misuse
- www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1984/1984035.htm (Data Protection Act 1984)