Assessment Of Your Network, Is It Time To Switch?
Can the assessment of your network help you know if it is time to switch IT service providers? Yes, it can!
A large chunk of your IT support company’s job description has something to do with managing your networks and ensuring that they run smoothly. Your system is essentially the basis of all the business transactions; connecting staff within the enterprise, and linking the organization to the outside world.
With that said, it is important that you have your systems evaluated once in a while. However, there are some pointers that may indicate that you urgently need network assessment.
Signs You Should Assess Your Network
What is your network suffering from? Is it odd and strange network slowness? Is there too much complexity? How do you know that you need to sanction an assessment right away?
Here are issues to be on the lookout for:
- A network that takes too much time, specialized labor, and money to support.
- If your systems are too complicated to troubleshoot.
- Are you a new CIO who needs to review the guts of the system to be able to craft a long-term strategy and plan?
- New systems need to be integrated, but you are unwilling to place them on top of a shaky infrastructure. Or maybe you are expanding the business, and you want to be sure the systems will be able to support you through the scalability.
- If the organization has an audit appointment soon.
In most cases, it is other employees who will queue you to do the evaluation — not directly, though. Is your staff continually complaining about lagging network performance? Or maybe the managers are not happy with the level of documentation.
Understanding Network Assessment
What Does it Mean to Have Your Networks Assessed — Some People Call it a Health Check? A network assessment is a comprehensive inspection and examination of your organization’s IT investments, management, and vulnerability to security threats. It also looks into various operations supported by the network and its efficiency.
So What’s the Purpose of the Evaluation? It helps in understanding the current condition of your systems and in identifying chances for modification. You, therefore, do not approach assessment with the view to solely seek mistakes and castigate your current service provider. No, it’s a fact-finding mission to help you identify both your strengths and weak points — and how to correct the flaws.
What Should You Expect In A Network Assessment?
A network assessment can extend to broad spectrums. This article highlights the four primary areas that any evaluation must cover:
- Network Infrastructure Assessment: This involves a detailed analysis of the seven main components of network infrastructure:
- Computer hardware platforms like client PCs, servers, tablets, or smartphones.
- Operating system platforms.
- Enterprise software applications like Enterprise Response Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Knowledge Management Systems (KMS).
- Networking/Telecommunication platforms.
- Internet platforms.
- Consulting systems integration services.
- Network Security Assessment: A network security assessment is an appraisal of your system’s safety models, aimed at identifying susceptibilities in your networks.
Network security assessments can be either Vulnerability Assessments or Penetration Tests. Vulnerability assessment involves trying to find weak points; penetration tests are simulations of real-life breaches and attacks.
The objective of any network security assessment exercise is to identify potential threats — both internal and external — and proactively devise ways to avert them.
There are important questions that guide experts through the security assessment process. These include:
- What would happen if your systems were hacked?
- What files or departments are most vulnerable?
- What would be the magnitude of damages in a real-life scenario?
- How can you prevent the occurrence of these attacks?
Answering these questions serves as a dry-run of what you’d expect in actual attacks. This is not only important in limiting the chances of successful breaches but also significantly minimizes the damage due to fast and strategic response.
Cyberattacks are very costly, having an average mitigation cost of about $1.67 million. Despite this risk, EY reports that 76% of companies only take network security seriously after surviving a cyberattack.
- Network Management Assessment: This involves evaluating how often your systems are monitored, patched, and maintained. The whole point of network management assessment is identifying what type of data is collected by your systems, how and where it is stored, and who is responsible for them.
- Network Performance Assessment: This is the final stage and involves combining all the information gathered in the network assessment process to deduce the efficiency of your systems and areas to improve. To estimate the network performance, you should consider four important terminologies: Bandwidth, Latency (Delay), Throughput, and Bandwidth-Delay product.
Depending on the performance, you can make informed decisions on whether your IT service provider is doing enough to support your networks.
Is Your IT Supplier Doing What They Should Be Doing?
- Safeguarding Your Networks: Securing your systems is not just a break-fix arrangement. The service provider should not only be waiting for breaches to occur, or computers to break, and then fix them. The penetration test should help you identify how aggressive your IT support firm is in advancing proactive security measures.
- Management Your Infrastructure: Aside from the routine patches here and there, it is the service provider’s responsibility to ensure that you have the latest technologies. They should identify add-ons to your infrastructure that would boost efficiency, and advise you on how best to implement them.
- Help Desk Services: These include helpline, ticketed, and online support services for both your staff and end-users.
After the network assessment, you will have to re-imagine your engagement with the IT service provider. In some cases, you can talk about the identified issues with the supplier, and agree on the way forward.
If the vulnerabilities or network issues are too much, you may consider finding a new IT support company.
Is your IT company doing enough to support your networks? Are you confident in your network’s performance?