Network Audits: Necessities or Niceties?

Blog / Network Audits: Necessities or Niceties?

Accurate Network Audits Improve More Than Just Cybersecurity.

Network security depends heavily on the devices inside it, which quickly leads to an important question; do you actually know what’s in yours? Most of us are likely to have a general idea if only because we use it everyday or we like to track purchases. But even if you do meticulously keep receipts, knowledge gaps and errors will develop over time as devices fail. Purchase tracking also doesn’t account for staff’s personal mobile devices or laptops if you operate a BYOD policy. That’s where network audits come in.

TRINUS has helped a lot of organizations improve their cybersecurity over the years, but ongoing maintenance afterwards is just as important. It’s impossible to keep an accurate count of devices on your network if you start from a bad baseline to begin with, which is another reason we conduct network audits. While getting a precise device count is usually essential at the start of a project, many of the organizations we’ve helped initially tracked inventory just as described before; by keeping receipts and recording purchases on a spreadsheet. The thing is, none of them were totally accurate. Some were more accurate than others, but there was (and is) always some device somewhere on the network nobody knew about.

Computers Aren’t Candy Bars

We’re also not talking about convenience stores or giant retailers where it’s no big deal if inventory counts fall short of expectations. I’m not advocating theft obviously, but chocolate bar and toilet paper shrink needs to be wildly out of control before a WalMart will notice or care. Computers, company tablets and smart devices, and servers and other technological infrastructure are all substantially more valuable than a bunch of nickered Snickers though, so even a minor discrepancy can represent thousands of dollars worth of unaccounted-for assets. Similarly, although finding a few unexpected packages of Charmin isn’t going to faze the everyday stock boy, any and every unknown device on your network could be a ticking time-bomb of complete catastrophe.

That’s an extreme example meant to highlight the need for regular network audits and there are a lot of reasonable possibilities for such discrepancies; projects stall and are forgotten about along with that one temporary station taken down for initial testing, or maybe a workstation meant for decommissioning didn’t make it into the paperwork. The point is there’s no reason to immediately think there’s something nefarious afoot if you’re missing a tablet or there’s a strange smartphone connected to your network, but there is cause for urgency in sorting your numbers out, and value in keeping them that way.

Regular Network Audits Help Prevent Problems and Reduce Repair Costs

However, actively monitoring your network isn’t an essential component of good cybersecurity just because it can quickly identify both missing and unauthorized devices. It also helps to detect mistakes. Most organizations use only one or two networks (one for business devices and another for personal ones), but many also use three or more, like one exclusively for phones. But regardless of the total number, the purpose of maintaining multiple networks is to prevent devices on one from communicating with those on the other. That doesn’t make using multiple networks a fool proof strategy though. A mistake with a network cable or while configuring a switch any time after implementation might ruin everything. Regularly scheduled network audits could mean the difference between exposing your network and only temporarily exposing it. Furthermore, network audits can find problematic devices before they fail and help prevent costly downtime and repairs.

Whether you know there’s a problem with your network or not, it can still cause issues, especially if someone else notices and exploits it. But you won’t even find a problem if you’re not looking. Keeping an eye on your network and maintaining an accurate, regularly updated tally of devices in it is crucial to a strong cybersecurity posture. Fortunately monitoring doesn’t require much in terms of time or resources, especially if you’ve got an effective process executed on a regular basis. For more information about scheduling and conducting network audits, contact a TRINUS technology specialist and get yourself some stress-free IT.

Today’s quote comes from Richard II; “The tongues of dying men enforce attention like deep harmony.”


Be kind, courtesy your friendly neighbourhood cyber-man.

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