WHAT IS A NETWORK ASSESSMENT (HOW IT WORKS AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?)

As a managed service provider, we often receive questions about one of the first steps of onboarding a new client, the network assessment. After the initial consultation, the network assessment is critical if your business is considering partnering with a managed service partner because it helps both the MSP and you better understand your network. 

A network assessment allows your managed service provider to access your network and IT infrastructure. But what exactly is a network assessment, and why is it required to work with many managed service providers? To help you better understand, we will go through exactly what that network assessment entails and why it is necessary.   

WHAT IS A NETWORK ASSESSMENT? 

A network assessment is a comprehensive analysis of your network that allows your MSP to understand your network infrastructure, security, and IT processes. Some of the elements that a network assessment involves are looking into the network devices running on your network, assessing the network’s performance, looking into upgrades, reviewing network architecture, and assessing security.  

When getting your network assessment, you must be working with a qualified managed service provider to ensure they do a thorough analysis of your infrastructure and create accurate, tailored solutions using their industry knowledge.  

If you are working with an MSP that doesn’t take the appropriate time and resources to look into your network, they can easily overlook something, which can lead to a solution that will not resolve the problem in the long run. 

Like when you notice an issue with yourself, it’s crucial to find a doctor that uses the highest quality tools to get to the bottom of where your problem is stemming from. After this, they should thoroughly evaluate their findings to determine the most effective solution to keep you safe from the issue recurring in the future. 

You would not want a doctor to quickly give you a diagnosis without first analyzing all the possibilities. Your MSP is the doctor of your IT, which is why it is so essential that the network assessment is executed with patience, intricacy, and expertise.

Having the highest quality IT  team and tools to do the assessment will ensure that nothing gets overlooked. Your managed service provider can take all the information gained from the network assessment and begin creating a personalized solution for your business environment.   

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS A NETWORK ASSESSMENT LOOKS INTO? 

  • Performance inefficiencies  

    • Is your network running slow? 
    • Are you noticing network crashes? 
  • Security issues and blind spots 

    • A flaw in your network that could lead to a breach
    • Sensitive information that isn’t secure enough
    • Too many users with admin access 
  • Network infrastructure design issues  

    • Install network monitoring
    • Embed security
  • Server and Storage status 

    • Identify why your servers are slow
    • Get rid of unnecessary data that is taking up storage

SOME OTHER EXAMPLES INCLUDE: 

  • Identify company process for password expiration. The longer your old password goes without changing, the greater the risk you have of passwords getting compromised.  
  • Identify lingering user accounts that have not been deactivated or appropriately removed could be a potential security risk.   
  • Discover operating systems active in your environment that may be beyond support and a potential security risk.  
  • Identify critical asset age and warranty status, along with proper software patches in place.   

A network assessment gives you a 360° view of your network infrastructure and allows your IT provider to isolate network security vulnerabilities that could compromise company success. The assessment precipitates a C-level conversation that lays out an infrastructure budget and plans for the next 3-5 years. This paid assessment is a critical way to ensure your company data does not get into the wrong hands.   

WHY DO I NEED TO GET A NETWORK ASSESSMENT?  

Network assessments give users a descriptive analysis of your network so that opportunities for improvement can be identified. It is common for organizations to have no idea what is taking place on all their networks. This unawareness is scary because it means you are blind to any inefficiencies or security threats that could be growing.  

By receiving an assessment on all your devices, you can receive a complete analysis of any network irregularities or vulnerability issues at your endpoints. A network assessment is imperative in some highly regulated industries, especially those where federal and state laws require your business to have a comprehensive plan for personal, identifiable information. 

It can also give your business the required information to get your systems secure and running as efficiently as possible. Once these issues are resolved, you can begin working on enhancements. Enhancing your environment can mean onboarding new equipment or tools that will prepare your business for the future. Having a proactive approach to your network can also ensure that you are staying ahead of any vulnerabilities before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your network. 

Once you thoroughly assess your network, most of the information will be hard to interpret unless you are an expert. For this reason, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable managed service provider who can translate the findings for you and make sure the best tools and processes are used for your network and its infrastructure.    

HOW DOES USHERWOOD'S NETWORK ASSESSMENT WORK? 

Once you have found a managed service provider that is a good fit, they will then perform the network assessment. As a managed service provider, our process begins with a confidentiality agreement that will be signed between both parties to ensure that none of your sensitive data is at risk of being stolen or released. We will then send an  IT technician to your company to install a network monitoring device that will be plugged into your core network switch.  

By using a network mapping tool our team can identify and map out your entire environment. We will also use a tool to scan devices, obtain serial numbers and look into the warranty on your devices. This information will allow them to see what devices might be outdated and need to be replaced. Having equipment out of warranty can play a large part in network inefficiencies, so it is a critical step in enhancing your IT infrastructure.  

There will also be an assessment of your physical equipment. A technician will go in, look at, and take photos of your servers. Taking pictures of your equipment helps the managed service provider visually document the environment, what the server looks like and how it is put together. From this, we can see what improvements could be made to clean up the environment.  

All of these steps are imperative for the success of your onboarding with Usherwood. Every element of the process will ensure that you can receive a detailed assessment of what your network looks like, allow our team to inform you of what must be changed, and begin implementing new software and equipment.  

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN RECEIVING A NETWORK ASSESSMENT?  

In simplest terms, the Odyssey Discovery is Usherwood’s network assessment process. It is a fully optimized assessment of your IT infrastructure created by Usherwood’s team of IT experts. 

The Odyssey Discovery network assessment is critical for both Usherwood and the new client we are working together with. It gives us the chance to understand your IT infrastructure at a personalized level allowing us to properly support your business and maintain a secure and efficient IT environment.  

Usherwood places a great deal of value on the Odyssey Discovery network assessment. The network assessment becomes the roadmap for how your businesses managed IT should be supported. With this, you can begin designing your new network while also creating your goals for your network in the future.  No two network assessments look the same, so you will work with a team to analyze your specific environment and create a personalized solution.

If you would like to learn more about Usherwood's Odyssey Discovery network assessment, schedule a consultation