Advantages and disadvantages of networks

Advantages

  • Sharing devices such as printers saves money.
  • Site (software) licences are likely to be cheaper than buying several standalone licences.
  • Files can easily be shared between users.
  • Network users can communicate by email and instant messenger.
  • Security is good - users cannot see other users' files unlike on stand-alone machines.
  • Data is easy to backup as all the data is stored on the file server.

Disadvantages

  • Purchasing the network cabling and file servers can be expensive.
  • Managing a large network is complicated, requires training and a network manager usually needs to be employed.
  • If the file server breaks down the files on the file server become inaccessible. Email might still work if it is on a separate server. The computers can still be used but are isolated.
  • Viruses can spread to other computers throughout a computer network.
  • There is a danger of hacking, particularly with wide area networks. Security procedures are needed to prevent such abuse, eg a firewall.