3 Reasons a Network Assessment is Valuable for Your Business
As a managed service provider, Usherwood works with various industries and clients to help optimize and secure their environment. In our experience, performing a network assessment is the most critical step to do. It ensures we can provide our clients with the most optimal support and enhancements to their IT infrastructure. But what value does it offer you? Here are some ways a network assessment is valuable, even if you don't decide to partner with an MSP for ongoing support.
All-Encompassing Review of Your IT Environment
All aspects of your IT environment are evaluated in network assessments, by thoroughly analyzing your physical and nonphysical technology and equipment. This allows an IT expert can pinpoint where there may be issues, why those issues are occurring, and the solution.
The assessment shouldn't be a quick walkthrough. Like going to a doctor, no one can pinpoint a problem with just a quick glance. You need to explain your symptoms and receive various tests to determine the problem, why it occurs, and what type of treatment you require. A network assessment is the same and evaluates your current environment's "health."
The following aspects of your business IT are inspected in a network assessment:
- Network Vulnerabilities
A network vulnerability is any fault found in hardware, software, or process that can put your network at risk of stolen or leaked sensitive data. An MSP uses advanced tools to discover any vulnerabilities currently living within your network. Physical vulnerabilities will also be looked at, such as if your physical server is in a location that is not entirely secure.
- Active Directory Hygiene
This will analyze your business's domain information and network service user interaction. The Active Directory stores user information, authorizations, and permissions. If people in the Active Directory have unnecessary permissions, this gives hackers another potential portal to access your network.
- Dark Web Credentials
This part of the network assessment will find any credentials in your network exposed to the dark web. The dark web is a part of the web accessible by special software and allows those who access it to remain unknown and untraceable. By identifying any leaked credentials on the dark web, your company can identify users who need more secure passwords. This will prevent your company or users from getting breached by a hacker.
- Multi-Factor Authentication
With multi-factor authentication or MFA, you provide two or more verification factors to gain access to your accounts. Having MFA significantly decreases your risk of a cyber-attack. The network assessment will discover any accounts that MFA doesn't protect on your network. This can give you an idea of which accounts or applications may be at risk of a cyber-attack.
- Workstation Challenges
Looking into workstation challenges is an evaluation of the hardware your business has in place. Your MSP will check the warranty status of your equipment. Keeping technology current with updates, upgrades, and planned replacement is essential. With a network assessment, you can pinpoint why some of your equipment is malfunctioning. This helps to determine the proper steps to get your equipment running as it should be.
- Switch Environment
Network switches can facilitate intrusion detection, performance analytics, and firewalling. A network switch connects devices within a network and forwards data to and from those devices. Your switch environment plays a critical role in the speed and security of your network. Your MSP will evaluate your switch environment, look for flaws, and make recommendations based on their findings.
- Wireless Environment
In the network assessment, your wireless environment will be assessed. Your MSP will examine your wireless access points and determine if anything could be changed to enhance the wireless connection. After looking into these areas of your IT environment, your MSP analyzes the results and determines where any vulnerabilities are and how to fix them. This helps your network run faster and be more secure.
Ensure You are Compliant with Industry Regulations
For many companies, there are compliance regulations that must be met. For example, the health industry, financial institutions, and legal firms typically have many compliance regulations they must follow. This is due to the large amount of confidential information these companies can access regarding their clients.
For companies who must meet compliance regulations, it's typical they will have to obtain a vulnerability assessment 1-2x a year.
A network assessment will meet that requirement. You will receive a thorough physical document reviewing your environment, highlighting potential or current vulnerabilities. With the network assessment, your business can make the necessary changes to comply with security standards. Although you can partner with an MSP after the network assessment, it's not required to still receive value from it.
Satisfy Cybersecurity Insurance Requirements
Cybersecurity insurance is becoming more critical as cyber-attacks increase by the day. If you don't have the proper cybersecurity protections that cybersecurity insurance requires, you're considered too significant of a risk for them to take on. When it comes to cybersecurity insurance, only some companies can receive it. A list of guidelines must be met to qualify for a policy. A network assessment is a great way to give your business an understanding of what insurance requirements are potentially missing from your security.
When you receive a network assessment, it will check if all the cybersecurity requirements are in place. The evaluation will determine any vulnerabilities and give you a critical, high, medium, or low-risk rating. This analysis allows your business to implement the necessary changes to ensure your cybersecurity satisfies all the requirements of cybersecurity insurance companies. To see what requirements cybersecurity companies enforce, take a look at our "Top 5 Things Required for Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage" article.
What Happens After the Network Assessment?
So, what happens after the network assessment? What does your business do with all this information? Well, that's entirely up to you. After the network assessment is performed, whoever performed the evaluation will explain what they found (whether that be the good, the bad, or the ugly) and present potential solutions to any areas with vulnerabilities. After this, the next step is up to you. You typically have a couple of options:
- Perform Any Changes Independently
In this case, you have this extremely valuable deliverable you can take into your own hands. This is an excellent option if you have the resources to implement any necessary changes in your environment and an IT team you can trust.
- Partner with an MSP
Suppose you need to gain the expertise and resources to manage your IT after receiving the network assessment. Another great option is to consider partnering with the MSP that provided your assessment.
After the network assessment, your MSP has a very intricate understanding of your network and IT environment. They will use the network assessment as a guide to fix critical issues and continue working towards an optimized IT environment.
Is a Network Assessment Right for You?
At Usherwood, we provide a paid assessment that can be extremely valuable and act as a roadmap for your entire IT structure. The network assessment helps uncover your IT environment's most significant and minuscule vulnerabilities. It provides value to us as a managed service provider to ensure we give our clients satisfactory services and help them manage their IT strengths and vulnerabilities. Many clients wonder why our assessment is paid for while others are free.
Usherwood has chosen to offer an extensive quality evaluation performed by professionals for the client to have a better understanding of all going on in their network. It provides value to us as a managed service provider to ensure we give our clients satisfactory services and help them manage their IT strengths and vulnerabilities. For more information about our paid network assessments, check out our "Everything You Need To Know About Odyssey Discovery" article or contact us for a Tech Evaluation.