Blog / Are you skipping your network’s annual checkup?
You network may seem fine, but how can you be sure?
Maintaining your health is important. For many of us, the bare minimum in staying healthy includes an annual checkup with your family doctor. If you’re anything like me this typically includes stomaching some bloodwork, a step on the scale, and a look in the nose followed by a lecture on why I should be eating less bacon. While this process may take some time and some mild discomfort, the peace of mind knowing I’m living a healthy life (minus the bacon) is well worth it. The same can be said about the way we look after our vehicles; we change the oil, perform inspections, check tire pressure, and so on. Those are the table stakes for being a responsible vehicle owner.
But what about our networks? All to often in the space of IT, the old saying “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” reigns supreme as any changes to IT could result in network disruption and down time for users. But is that the right way to look at things? As you’ve probably already guessed, it certainly isn’t.
The reasoning is two-fold. IT devices typically become less reliable with age, so understanding what devices are reaching their end of life and replacing them beforehand reduces the risk of down time from a hardware or software failure.
The other and arguably more important reason is that an organization’s IT needs constantly change. This is true even if your day-to-day work itself doesn’t change because even if your internal network doesn’t change, the internet does. Every day, thousands of new cyberthreats are created, and your network needs to be able to adapt to this changing landscape. In some cases, these threats may be handled just with updates to solutions you already use, such as your anti-virus or firewall. In other cases the nature of the risk may require entirely new countermeasures to combat effectively.
New technology can also provide workflow benefits. For example, many modern software suites are starting to include artificial intelligence (AI) that can be used to automate menial work such as data entry or content creation. This allows staff to focus on higher value or more complicated tasks. Take this very newsletter as an example; if you’re watching the video version, it was created using AI. We input the script, make a few tweaks, and what used to take days of effort is cut down to mere hours, if even that much.
So how do you ensure that your network isn’t reaching end of life and that you aren’t missing out on security countermeasures? The same way we maintain our health, but instead of going to a doctor for a checkup, you ask your IT team, managed service provider (MSP), or even a 3rd party service provider, for a “network assessment.” And, like getting a checkup, we suggest you review your network no less than once a year. A qualified provider will have a long list of items to evaluate during an assessment, but here are some must haves:
- An assessment of all physical and cloud-based IT assets including networking equipment, servers, workstations, laptops, tablets etc. It should include details about the lifespan of the devices, and their end of warranty and support dates.
- An assessment of software in use across the organization.
- An assessment of communication solutions such as instant messaging and Email.
- An assessment of backup and disaster technology, solutions, policies, testing and maintenance.
- An assessment of network documentation.
- An assessment of cybersecurity countermeasures and configurations including but not limited to: remote access/2 factor authentication, anti-virus/EDR, perimeter security (firewalls), password management, policies, SIEM (security information and event management), application control, employee training/testing, and data monitoring/discovery.
Even if you don’t come from a technical background, if you’re responsible for IT within your organization you need to know the state of your systems to make informed decisions. Once complete, your provider should provide a copy of the report and schedule a review of the assessment to highlight critical deficiencies and recommendations. This is a perfect opportunity to update your IT roadmap and set your IT budget for the upcoming year. TRINUS clients at the Preferred level of services or higher receive an annual review as part of their budgeting process.
If you aren’t already a TRINUS client and are interested in receiving a network assessment but aren’t sure where to start, please feel free to contact us today! Our assessments include everything described here and much more, such as evaluating networks against industry standards, cyberinsurance requirements, and legislative standards such as PIPA, PIPEDA, HIA, PCI, and FOIP. We’ll be delighted to help. For more information, call 1-877-489-9985 or visit trinustech.com/contact to book a consultation.
The TRINUS Team