Network Assessments – Who Really Needs Them?
May 21, 2013
Your network runs pretty well most of the time. Sometimes, it seems a little slow, but usually, it works well enough to keep business humming along reasonably smoothly. Your network is in good shape, right?
If this sounds like your business, think again. Nine out of 10 corporate networks have some type of problem, from security flaws to improperly configured devices that slow down network speeds. Network hardware has become so adept at resolving or bypassing conflicts and other glitches that one or two problems alone might not cause an outage.
But when the right combination of issues occurs, BAM! Down goes your network. If you have myriad problems, untangling them all and finding the source of the outage can take hours—or days.
Fortunately, there is a technique that can identify problems with your network, hopefully before they take your network down or compromise its security and that of your systems and business assets. It’s called a network assessment, and it’s a service that can be run as an automated process, in the background, with little to no impact on your users.
So, what does the network assessment tool do? It tunnels through your network, identifies and creates an inventory of all its connected devices, and scans for anomalies. Problems it will identify include:
- Rogue devices (such as unauthorized network access points or connections).
- Outdated permissions, insecure passwords and other points of weakness.
- Installed applications across the entire network.
- List of servers on the network, including configuration details.
Network assessments gauge the security and composition of your network, enabling a comparison against your current expectations and objectives for the future. Additionally, this information is valuable for more than simply exploring your network and its ecosystem. It also helps you determine if users have installed software outside of company licensing agreements, pinpoint devices where users are not following password reset policies and more.
Network assessments usually include a collection of reports (ours do) that explain what the evaluation uncovered and make recommendations for improvements. With those in hand, you can decide to take action internally or hire outside specialists to alleviate pressure points and reconfigure questionable or misconfigured devices.
Network assessments aren’t designed to evaluate network health (e.g. service availability; application performance). That’s a separate operation that works in tandem with the network assessment to ensure your network is 100% optimized to power your business. When you’re ready to learn more, we’d love to hear from you.