What You Should Know About IP Addresses and Their Management Systems

If you don’t know very much about computers, you might find it challenging to get along in the modern world. Nearly everyone has a computer, while more and more of them have a smartphone as well. Generation Z is growing up with these things and will never know a time when they weren’t prolific.


If you barely know anything about computers, you may not know what an IP address is, much less what IP address management is all about. We’re here to help you, though. We’re going to give you a lesson in IP addresses and how best to manage yours.


What Exactly is an IP Address?

Before we talk about what an IP plan for network managers might resemble, we’ll start by explaining what an IP address is. An IP address is:


  • Something that the internet virtually assigns to your computer
  • A random number string


When your computer goes online and connects to the internet, the IP address is your location. It’s a string of random numbers, but computers are not the only entities that get them. Servers, routers, and anything else that can connect to the internet will also get one.


TCP/IP Protocol

The reason why your computer, router, server, etc. needs an IP address is so it can adhere to the TCP/IP protocol. This means Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. It is:


  • A set of standardized rules
  • The way computers and other online devices communicate with one another


A good way to think about this protocol system is if you imagine your computer or other internet-connected devices like cars that are about to get out on the highway. When you’re on the road, you must follow traffic laws.


The same goes for your computer, including how it operates when connected and how it communicates with other devices. The internet is the highway, and when you access the world wide web, you need to follow the standardized rules TCP/IP protocol provides.


IP Address Privacy Issues

Now you understand what an IP address is and why you need it. However, you should also know that some people worry about their IP address visibility.


Generally, there is nothing wrong with an entity seeing your IP address. If all you’re doing is browsing Facebook or shopping on Amazon, then it doesn’t much matter that those companies know your physical location.


Some people don’t like to feel that exposed, though. It’s true that a company like Facebook or Amazon will chronicle where you are geographically according to your IP address, which might bother you.


You can get a VPN, or virtual private network, if you don’t want entities with which you interact online to know where you are. You might want to at least consider this for privacy purposes.


Managing Your IP Address

If you are using your computer at home, you probably don’t need to worry much about IP address management. The internet assigns you an IP address randomly, and then you have it going forward.


If you operate or own a business, though, and you have a computer network for it, things get more complicated. In that scenario, you’re not just dealing with one IP address, but many. That is because you might have an entire employee network, and every one of them has a computer they’re using to do work for you.


That means you have lots of different IP addresses on your network. Why does that matter? The reason is that when you have that many IP addresses, you’re looking at significant operational and security challenges.


Keeping Track of Many Different Business IP Addresses

When you have a business and many IP addresses connected to your network, you have to worry about things like deployment ease, scalability, reliability, and performance. In the old days, system admins would often use spreadsheets to keep track of all the IP addresses on a business’s network.


However, that’s not the best option from a security standpoint. That is why many businesses now use an IP address management entity. There is software that you can use, most of it readily available for sale from vendors.


You can usually find room in your operating budget for an IP address management solution. Without one, keeping track of all those addresses rapidly gets chaotic, and you’re opening yourself up to potential hacker attacks.


Now you know why you need an IP address management system, so make sure that you find a reliable one before launching your company’s network.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.