5 Benefits of an Annual Network Tune-up!
The importance of performing a network security audit can’t be overstated, but don’t be fooled into thinking network security is a one-time event. Just like you need to bring your car to a mechanic for a tune up, a yearly network security audit keeps your infrastructure running smoothly and allows your managed services provider (MSP) a chance to look at what’s going on beneath the hood. Better to keep everything running smoothly so problems can’t lurk unseen.
What is a Network Security Audit?
An initial network security audit provides a baseline for the status of your IT infrastructure, what is doing well, where the holes are, and allows you to get in front of any issues that could compromise your systems. Forgetting to fix a known vulnerability could cost you time and money if cyber criminals find and exploit it.
What exactly does a network security audit do? When performed by a professional IT firm, physical processes combine with state-of-the-art software solutions to assess the quality and security of your network. This means reviewing not only your IT systems for digital vulnerabilities but also walking through your physical work space to make sure hardware isn’t set up in a way that would decrease efficiency or be hazardous (such as plugging a space heater into the same surge protector as a computer).
A thorough network security audit should include a review of your business’s
- anti-virus and anti-malware software,
- web and electronic communication filtering,
- Active Directory environment,
- password policies,
- backups and disaster recovery policies,
- and include an in-person assessment.
Five Benefits of an Annual Network Security Audit
As important as the initial security audit is, performing regular audits each year provides you with additional insights that can keep you moving forward in a secure and productive manner. Below are the top five benefits of performing an annual security audit.
1. Assess how well you’ve addressed last year’s problems.
A network security audit is useless unless the issues it reveals are addressed. By performing an annual audit, you can compare where you were the year before with where you are now to see what systems improved and what still requires attention.
Have all your planned policies and IT practices been implemented? Did the fixes you put in place successfully mitigate the previous year’s problems? An annual security audit serves as benchmark to the condition and maintenance of your business’s IT environment.
2. Review your security vulnerability analysis with your MSP or IT department.
As part of a thorough audit, your MSP or IT department should use specialized software to probe all the nooks and crannies of your network to search for vulnerabilities. But simply performing the audit isn’t enough. An annual review of your network security audit with your MSP or IT staff allows you to go over the security vulnerability scans each year and look at any reoccurring failures. By discussing the results together, you can work to find the underlying reason for any trends you find. Sometimes the problem revealed is actually a symptom of a much larger issue.
3. Prioritize your technology needs for the next year.
IT security and maintenance can be expensive, especially when technology changes happen outside of your control, such as Windows 7 reaching end-of-life on January 14, 2020. An annual network security audit is a chance for your MSP or IT staff to discuss what needs to be done in the coming year, and more importantly when it needs to be done, so you can prepare accordingly.
4. Address the nitty gritty details of IT management.
As part of an annual audit, your MSP or IT staff should review the state of your hardware, Active Directory for any overlooked users who have left the company, and the configurations of permissions to your systems. These are basic issues that sometimes get lost amidst the pressing everyday IT issues that arise. Having a dedicated time to check foundational elements keeps your IT infrastructure productive and secure.
5. Provide feedback to your MSP or IT department and keep the dialogue open.
IT security may feel like it lives solely in the realm of IT professionals, but it requires two-way communication to remain effective. An annual network security audit is an effective mechanism to open a dialogue with your MSP or IT staff and address any concerns you have. The annual audit is a great place to discuss what’s working and what’s not that so all your IT needs are met in the way your business requires.
Don’t wait too long to tune up your IT systems with an annual network security audit. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists, and cyber attacks get more sophisticated each day. A look under the hood every now and then offers more than solutions to your problems—it offers peace of mind.
For managed services clients of Anderson Technologies, a network security audit is performed annually. If you want help with a network security audit, contact us today for a consultation.