What is a Network Assessment & Why is it Important?
Every business can benefit from reliable and dedicated IT services, whether in-house or outsourced, to keep all of its technology in check and running smoothly. Relying on an IT services provider can help you avoid significant downtime from technological issues and ensure your customers remain satisfied — which is especially crucial for growing businesses.
Part of hiring IT services for your small business involves receiving network assessments. Network management should be a top priority if your company depends significantly on computers, tablets or other devices to connect to the internet and complete operational tasks. Below, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about network vulnerability assessments and how they can give your network infrastructure a major advantage.
What Is a Network Assessment?
A network assessment is an analysis of your business’s network and its components — infrastructure, performance, security measures and more. This process yields a network assessment report, which gives you a rundown of everything that’s going on with your network, such as connected devices and users, available bandwidth, user traffic patterns and any issues that need addressing.
An assessment is an excellent resource for business owners who may not have the full picture of their IT setup and need clarity or are considering upgrading their current network. Enlisting an IT service provider to do the job is particularly advantageous for businesses without this in-house capability. A third party can give an objective, detailed review of your systems and use their extensive technological knowledge to provide you with the most effective recommendations.
If you’re unsure whether your business needs a network assessment, you can gain some insight by answering these questions:
- Do you have full visibility into your network?
- Is your current network management strategy taking up a significant part of your budget?
- Has your business recently suffered from IT issues caused by network failures or a lack of system updates?
- Are you having difficulty with long-term business planning without a full scope of your network infrastructure?
- Are you about to perform a major IT overhaul, such as migrating your business data into a cloud platform?
Elements of a Network Assessment
During a network assessment, your IT provider will consider various factors that contribute to your network’s performance. It’s helpful to have an idea of what they’ll inspect so you know can begin taking steps toward establishing solutions for any issues. Some common points of a network assessment checklist include:
1. Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
A review of your IT infrastructure will reveal cybersecurity vulnerabilities such as a lack of antivirus or antispyware software, inadequate password management, outdated security patches, unsupported operating systems and more.
Tactics like network segmentation can improve your cybersecurity measures and protect your company from national or global virus threats and end-user vulnerabilities, such as unsecured devices. This approach reduces your network’s attack surface, which limits how much of your network cyberattacks can affect, and can make compliance reporting easier for industries where it matters most.
2. Network Bandwidth Issues
Bandwidth issues are often characterized by slow performance or application malfunctions and failures. Understanding your network usage thresholds will help you avoid running too many programs or doing too many tasks at once, preventing you from overwhelming your network capacity. An analysis lets you figure out whether your network capacity needs expanding or specific applications are taking up considerable bandwidth.
3. Network Infrastructure Issues
Your network infrastructure consists of both software and hardware — cables, routers, operating systems, device drivers and much more. With so many moving parts, it’s relatively easy for one component to malfunction and leave you unsure of the problem’s source. For example, hardware can experience gaps in security patch updates.
A network assessment report breaks down the intricate parts of your system and lets you pinpoint problem areas so you can build your infrastructure up to where it needs to be. Scheduled updates can be a significant part of maintaining your infrastructure’s efficiency and productivity.
4. Network Data and File Security
Data and file security fit into cybersecurity as a whole, but data breaches can cause major damage to your company, its reputation and your customers. Who has access to your confidential business information? How easy is it to change those permissions? A security review will identify data vulnerabilities and give you the roadmap you need to gain more control over your file and folder permissions and ensure sensitive information can’t be readily accessed.
Benefits of Getting a Network Assessment
Now that you know what a network assessment typically consists of, what kind of benefits can it bring to your business? Conducting an analysis will allow you to:
Analyze Any Vulnerabilities in IT Infrastructure
The sooner you fix susceptibilities in your network, the sooner you can secure sensitive business information in highly guarded locations and have more peace of mind. The highest number of IT security exposures and vulnerabilities to date was recorded in 2020, making effective security measures more important than ever.
Create a Strategy for IT Systems and Employees
Knowing what’s going on with your network can help you make more informed decisions about matters like upgrades, optimal maintenance tasks and employee IT best practices. Maybe some upkeeping tasks aren’t as beneficial as they could be, or your network needs other upgrades it’s not receiving. Once you and your team fully understand your system, you can develop a strategy for implementing more automation, consolidating your network, reducing network costs and more.
Protect Against Security and Data Breaches
A recent data breach report revealed that 1,862 data compromises occurred in 2021, which is 23% more than the previous all-time high recorded in 2017. Protecting your network against cyberattacks with recommendations gleaned from a comprehensive assessment can stop your small business from being an impacted enterprise.
Identify Cost Savings Opportunities
With outdated networks, some companies must work with a fixed data capacity based on their system’s peak requirements, meaning valuable resources can be left sitting unused during slower periods. Overall, this setup doesn’t provide much flexibility for scaling data capacity up or down as needed. Assessing your network capabilities sheds light on these issues so you can upgrade to more scalable data storage solutions and save money on running less equipment.
Contact Kirbtech Today for a Network Security Assessment
If your growing company needs a network assessment to scale up and reach the next level of efficiency, schedule a consultation with us to address your IT needs.
When you do business with Kirbtech, you can trust that we have the experienced and efficient IT experts your business requires to enhance its technology. As a locally owned business, we aim to provide small and mid-size enterprises in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with comprehensive, consistent tech support regardless of their IT priorities.
To speak to one of our friendly representatives and begin your project, reach out to us today by filling out our contact form or calling or texting us at 717-258-3789.