What is Network Time Protocol (NTP)? A definition & 5 Reasons Why Your Computer Network Needs It

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The importance of Network Time Protocol (NTP) is often underestimated, yet critical systems rely on it every day to function properly. Discover the 5 reasons why your computer network needs NTP.

What is Network Time Protocol (NTP)? A definition…

Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a system used to synchronise time on computer clocks across a network of computers.

Why is NTP important?

Without NTP a number of time critical systems would experience uncoordinated time. It’s no exaggeration to say that the results of unsynchronised time affecting such systems could be catastrophic.

Let’s take a very real scenario. Millions of people travel by air and air traffic control systems rely on perfectly coordinated time. Flight paths need very accurate timing to avert the collision of aeroplanes. You can now appreciate the vital importance of NTP when it comes to air travel, but why is it crucial to your computer network?

Here are five reasons why…

1.  File system updates – To carry out critical file system updates across multiple computers at the same time, your computers rely on synchronised clock times. This requires network time protocol to be in place. File system updates are often carried out in the background whilst a computer is operating. If computers across your network are not time synchronised, vital system updates will not take place at the same time, leaving some computers and files exposed to hackers.

What is Network Time Protocol
Windows user? Look familiar? Your computer relies on time synchronisation to carry out automatic updates…

2.  Timestamps – Send a lot of emails? Dispute over when an email was sent or received? Emails sent and received are time stamped to show the time at which they were sent and received. Without NTP your time stamped email may show a completely different time to the actual time that it was sent or received. Tracking emails can be difficult if timestamps are inaccurate.

What is Network Time Protocol
Example of an email timestamp…

3.  Security – Where there are computer networks, there are hackers. However, accurate time allows you to track security breaches and proving the time at which your system was hacked, beyond any doubt, could be the deciding factor in bringing a culprit to justice.

4.  Network Usage – Is your network experiencing unexplained, unauthorised network usage? Accurate time can track exactly when this is happening, allowing you to pinpoint the source and prevent it from happening.

5.  Improve business efficiency – Perhaps the most pivotal factor for implementing network time protocol. If all clocks are synchronised your entire personnel are working to the same timeframe. Your company hits deadlines more consistently, improving business efficiency and giving you a reputation for good timekeeping with your customers.

What’s the safest way to implement NTP?

Buy a dedicated NTP time server! This is because if you’re obtaining time from the Internet a network time server, such as the Galleon NTS-6001 NTP time server, protects your computer network from the myriad of security risks associated with retrieving time from the web.

Put simply, installing a network time server within your firewall minimises the risk of outside threats, whilst accurate time across your computer network is maximised.

The benefits of buying an NTP time server – a summary

–  Installation of an NTP time server, behind your firewall, safeguards your network from the threats of getting time from the Internet.

–  You avoid the hassle of having to reconfigure your firewall or router, sometimes needed, to allow devices on your network access to an Internet time server.

–   Just one, dedicated network time server can keep all your servers, computers and network devices synchronised to within milliseconds of each other.

This article, brought to you by Galleon Systems

Galleon Systems provides premium time synchronisation products offering superb value. You can rest assured that you’re buying quality because Galleon Systems’ products are trusted to serve some of the world’s biggest brands and institutions including:

– Tesco

– Vodafone

– The Bank of England

– Buckingham Palace

Act now to achieve accurate time. Visit the Galleon Systems website – www.galsys.co.uk – for a free, no obligation quote…

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This post was written by:

A dedicated writer for 10 years, Daniel joined Galleon Systems in 2013. Daniel assists in the production of web copy, articles, blogs, press releases and white papers, for use by Galleon Systems' marketing team. Daniel Waldron on Google+