The simple answer to that question should be “Yes” as every business needs to have their network assessed at least once a year. In the real world, this is not always the case as there are businesses that have never had their network assessed by an outside IT company or by their own IT staff. What type of things should be considered when determining whether to do an assessment or not?
You may want to ask yourself the following:
- Are you considering a network upgrade?
- Are you thinking of adding a PBX or VOIP to your current network structure?
- Are you considering a new SAN system?
- Are you considering adding a Wi-Fi network?
- Do you find that your network is running slow?
- Are your users complaining about application loading times?
- Do you suspect an employee of trying to steal trade secrets?
- Do you know what the state of your network is?
- Do you want to know if your employees are downloading non work related applications to their desktops or laptops?
- Are you looking for peace of mind, to ensure that your network is running smoothly and is secured properly from outside attacks
- Has management asked you for an IT budget?
- Are you thinking of moving some items to the cloud?
As you can see, a network assessment is needed for many different scenarios. These assessments will provide you with valuable data which you can in turn use to create a plan of action to secure your network, or design and plan an upgrade. There are also different types of assessments; some assessments focus more on security, while others may focus on your infrastructure like cabling, network devices, servers and so on.
If a network assessment is something new to you, you may want to start with a basic security assessment and then speak to your assessor regarding more specific needs, they will be able to advise you on what type of assessment may be more appropriate for your business.
Who should perform the assessment?
The decision is yours but you may want to ask your current IT manager or IT provider to set aside some time to perform an assessment. This is a service that a trained IT manager or systems engineer should be able to perform. However, if you are looking for a specific in depth assessment you should look for someone who has performed assessments in the past, and that has the certifications needed for the job. For example if you would like to assess your Wi-Fi infrastructure then you would want to look for someone who has at least a CWNA preferably a CWDP certification because this means that they have an in-depth understanding of Wi-Fi and how it should be designed and implemented. If you are ever in doubt just ask “What qualifies you to make this assessment in our behalf”?
Where to start?
As mentioned above, if you have never done an assessment on your network, start with a basic assessment. Most Managed Services Providers (MSP) or IT Providers offer “Free Basic Network Assessments” and this generally includes an on-site evaluation which can provide you with the following information:
- The overall health of your network
- Network traffic
- Open ports that may be vulnerable to attacks
- Basic information regarding the OS on your computers/servers
- Patch level of OS’
- Discover applications running in your network
- Whether your users are using weak passwords
- Whether you have inactive users
The goal of this article is to get IT managers and Business owners to act, and be proactive in conducting a network assessment if you have not done so already. If you are an MS client of Xennix, you can rest assured that assessments will be conducted as part of your agreement. For any other company looking to have an assessment done please give us a call today and speak to one of our Business technology consultants.