Network Assessments: What They Are and Why You Need One
Your IT infrastructure is one of the most valuable resources for your business. But there are several threats, ranging from ransomware to downtime, that face your tech every day. As businesses in an always-on digital world depend more and more on their technology, it’s critical that they evaluate just how secure and efficient their systems are.
When it comes to managing your IT infrastructure, carrying out a network assessment is key. By assessing the current state of your network, you can determine where vulnerabilities lie and how to patch them. You can make better plans for how to deal with a cyberattack if one occurs and how to mitigate the damages. You can also drastically reduce downtime, inefficiencies, and associated costs.
Here’s what your business needs to know about the importance of network assessments:
What Is a Network Assessment?
A network assessment is a full and thorough review of all of your current IT infrastructure. The assessment will break down and analyze processes and their effectiveness, the security that you have in place, and the overall performance of the network infrastructure.
Following a network assessment, it will be possible to identify areas of improvement for both security and efficiency. From this, a plan can be developed and put in place for how to respond to security incidents quickly so as to minimize any damages. Then you can set to work on continually implementing new processes and carrying out necessary remedial work across your network.
Why Network Assessments Are a Business Critical Requirement
It is vital for all businesses, regardless of size, to get a comprehensive view of their current systems and how they are performing. Identifying the weaknesses that lie within the system is essential so that you can identify the points within your systems that hackers can take advantage of. In terms of making your infrastructure and procedures more secure, it would be a nearly impossible task without a network assessment.
Carrying our network assessments will also give an indication of the effectiveness of your network in meeting the demands of your business. Understanding where key improvements are needed will help you to create a proactive plan for your network infrastructure, including how to scale, what new technologies to implement, and which technologies are unnecessary or underused.
All businesses have downtime, inefficiencies, and security vulnerabilities within their system. By obtaining regular network assessments, you can reduce these risks and improve your systems on a continual basis.
Network Assessments Are Cost-Effective
There are several things within your network infrastructure that might be costing your business money. Network assessments will help you to identify these and cut overspending. These areas include:
- Security weaknesses which leave you open to attack from cybercriminals. Security problems can cost you in many ways. From fines for not meeting data protection regulations to ransomware fees, to data breach cleanup costs, and even patient lawsuits. Not to mention, data breaches can have a serious impact on your business’s reputation.
- Bandwidth availability issues might be slowing your business down. Where processes are not able to run at the speed required, or productivity is slowed by resources getting clogged up.
- Unnecessary equipment costs your business, both for setup and especially for their continued maintenance and running costs. By identifying such overspending, you can create a more efficient infrastructure.
How To Prepare Your Business For A Network Assessment
The first thing that you should do when carrying out a full network assessment is to hire a reliable Managed Service Provider (MSP). Bringing in a team of network experts will mean that you will get an unbiased set of experienced eyes carrying out a thorough investigation of all of your systems.
You will need to provide your MSP with full access to all required areas of your IT infrastructure. That means the physical equipment, all devices, and services. They will analyze everything from speed and traffic through to performance and security. Very often, your MSP will add a device to your network so that they can continually monitor your system for speed, traffic, and performance.
Carrying Out Network Improvements
Once their investigations of your system are complete, your Managed Service Provider will provide you with the findings of their network assessment. This will be an in-depth account of everything that they will have found.
Using this data, you will be able to consult with them regarding the next steps that you need to take to improve the overall security and efficiency of your infrastructure. The strategy that you may come up with together might involve removing unnecessary equipment that is a burden to your infrastructure as well as replacing any pieces of equipment. This strategy should closely align with your business goals and address unique challenges your workplace faces.
Your plan to improve your systems might also entail updating policies and procedures, installing new security software across the estate, and implementing disaster recovery plans that deal with worst-case scenarios. It’s important to build a strategy that makes your network more capable of meeting the specific demands of your business.
Network assessments are critical for all businesses who depend on technology. By identifying where your systems are failing to provide the security and effectiveness your business requires, you are gaining a competitive advantage in any industry.