Most business people I run into are very aware that their personal computers literally have a life of their own. Like children, the older they get the more prone they are to rebelling, which takes the form of a general decline in performance, and often times an increase in the frequency of crashes and frozen screens. That’s because your personal computer changes every single time that you go online, create new documents, import new files, open an email, install a new application, delete an old one, run a patch or a software update, or connect a new peripheral.
Even if you are running updated virus protection software and malware filters behind a solid internet firewall, you’re still going to need to give your personal computer a professional tune-up every so often to get it back into peak operating performance. The recommended frequency of your tune-ups will vary depending on how active you are with your PC.
The same thing is true with your business network, except multiply the complexity of issues by the number and types of devices you have attached to it. Even the most basic network these days has a firewall, a server or two, a few desktops and laptops, some mobile devices, and probably a couple of different operating systems. Maybe you also have a wireless network, a network printer, VPN, Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone system, automated back-ups, and a specialized app or two? If you think a single PC changes a lot over time, think about all the “moving parts” that make up your entire network!
The bigger your network, the more users who are a part of it, the greater the likelihood that there are hidden issues that are lurking in the digital nooks and crannies where even seasoned IT pros rarely look. Think about how many people you’ve granted access to your network over the years. Are there any legacy security privileges still part of your network configuration for people who no longer should have access? When’s the last time you checked whether anyone opened an unsecured port to the internet, exposing your company to potential attacks on your system or theft of proprietary data? How many devices have you added onto your network and decommissioned over the years? Are your network organizational settings mirroring your current organization?
There are dozens of critical security and productivity problems that invariably develop as a network grows and ages, and most companies have a hard time keeping up, and a harder time tracking down the issues. That’s why we recommend that every business that has a network, no matter how small or simple, regularly run a simple network assessment scan – at least on a quarterly basis. You should have your assessment performed by a qualified network technician who will be able to analyze the results and quickly cure any deficiencies, vulnerabilities and improper network settings.
When’s the last time that YOU did a network assessment, and what did you find?