What You Don’t Know About Your Computer Network Can Hurt You

October 16th, 2012

Security holes. Unauthorized users. Unknown devices. Unlicensed software. Ports open to the internet. These are just a few of the big liability issues that are present in 9 out of 10 unmanaged computer networks that I run into.  And you’d be surprised at how many problems we find even at companies that are regularly monitoring their network operations.

Consider an independent professional
When’s the last time you had an independent professional come into your facility and perform an objective third-party look at the way your network is set up? If you might be holding out - possibly still in a “break-fix” relationship with your IT service provider - you are paying a premium for service and repairs, and paying a big penalty in downtime. But beyond that, there’s nobody who’s regularly looking at your critical network settings that control access to your important company data.

Advantages of another pair of eyes & ears
If you’ve made the transition over to a managed service provider, or have internal IT resources managing your network, you’re probably in better shape. Even so, it is advisable to occasionally bring in a team such as ours to be the “eyes and ears” into what’s really going on with your network and, if nothing else, validate what your current team is doing. Be assured that I'm not suggesting that your current technical resources are inadequate, incompetent, or worse taking advantage of their privileged access and control.

I am offering, however, that given the complexity of current computer and networking technology, even the most trustworthy and capable professional can easily miss something important. The good news is that if your current network administrator is like me, he or she will welcome a second set of eyes on the network, and will want to know about any network configuration problems or security holes.

What the right kind of assessment looks like
The other piece of good news is that if you choose the right experts to do an assessment, you can expect them to be able to come in and perform a quick scan that does not involve installing invasive software agents, or running around your office disrupting operations. They should be able to be in and out of your facility in roughly half an hour or less (for most networks), and come back to you within a few days with a full report of what was discovered along with recommended actions. This service shouldn’t cost you a lot of money, and if nothing else, the peace-of-mind that it will buy you is priceless.

If you have not done a network assessment in the past six months, what’s the main reason why? Please feel free to comment below.