In our digital age, the quality of service an organization provides, and the efficiency of the organization itself, are often linked to the performance and integrity of its IT network. Despite this, many organizations become complacent when it comes to IT network health, often thinking: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The trouble with this approach, is that many of the risks, defects and misconfigurations in an IT system lurk beneath the surface. In order for these issues to be highlighted and resolved, a deep, comprehensive, study of hardware, software, security and network performance is required. This exercise is often called a “Network Health Assessment.”
What is a Network Health Assessment?
A Network Health Assessment is an evaluative process that seeks to get under the skin of an IT network to root out sub-optimal aspects of performance, security, processes, network management protocols, physical infrastructure and software.
Unlike say, a penetration test, a network health assessment reviews system architectures, procedures and practices from multiple strategic standpoints. So while the penetration test primarily focuses of system security, the network health assessment will consider a multitude of factors, from business resilience and data integrity, to network traffic flow and efficiency. Assessments also evaluate less quantifiable aspects of a network, such as how well processes, software and hardware support an organization’s strategic objectives.
Why do Network Health Assessments Become Necessary?
By now you might be thinking: my network has been created and maintained by professionals, surely it’s already secure, resilient and performing optimally.
In theory, yes, but in practice IT networks are never infallible. As an IT system evolves and grows over time, defects such as misconfigurations, performance bottlenecks and security vulnerabilities often accrue. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to see network components, software programs and procedures become misaligned with business goals as time passes. This often occurs when temporary solutions are sought to fulfil an urgent need, without considering the bigger picture or the organization’s future growth.
Issues also arise when network additions and configurations are made without giving proper consideration to their impact on regulatory compliance. Such considerations are vital in maintaining compliance with federally mandated data protection regulations, as well as adhering to cybersecurity best practices.
A regular network health assessment acts, to some extent, as a system reset, shining a light on system components that no longer serve a business’s security, performance, compliance and resilience objectives.
What Does a Network Health Assessment Examine?
Thus far we’ve talked about network health assessments in the broadest of terms. Now let’s look closer at some of the things a Network Health Assessment reviews, assesses and evaluates…
An IT network’s performance characteristics play a crucial role in delivering a satisfying end user experience, and maintaining organizational productivity.
A Network Health Assessment examines network performance across a variety of metrics, including bandwidth, speed, utilization, latency and overall responsiveness. The main purpose of this performance review is to identify circumstances that might be causing congestion or other network performance issues.
A Network Health Assessment takes a broad view of security, assessing a network’s procedural and technical security controls for latent risks and vulnerabilities. Security measures that fall under the scope’s assessment include firewall configurations, encryption protocols, anti-malware controls and user privilege and access controls.
The assessment looks at the physical components that make up the network, and considers any logical flaws in terms of how these are arranged. Components that come under review include routers, switches, servers and their configurations. The aim here is to identify misconfigured hardware, as well as outdated elements that fall below modern standards.
The assessment examines the layout and structures of the network to identify inefficient configurations, routing protocols, and other malpractices. This specific aspect of the Network Health Assessment is particularly beneficial when planning a network expansion, as it evaluates the network’s readiness for scalability, among other factors.
Backup and Redundancy
Assuming the network has a range of backup and redundancy systems in place, the assessment tests these elements to ensure that hardware failures and other disruptions won’t have a significant impact on network operability. This assessment component is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Assessments frequently offer recommendations for network expansion, utilizing both current usage patterns and future growth plans to inform the blueprint for network growth.
These are just a few of the many network elements that a standard assessment takes into account, along with network documentation, bandwidth usage, and application performance.
Providing a detailed report highlighting network security vulnerabilities, performance deficiencies, inefficient configurations, and issues of non-compliance, a network health assessment offers invaluable network insights that can be used to improve operational performance and plan for the future.
Stay tuned for our next piece, where we explore the benefits of undertaking a network health assessment.
Invest in Reliability, Reap Resilience, with a Network Health Assessment from Infinity Technologies
Our Network Health Assessment provides far-reaching actionable insights that can be used to enhance, optimize and align your IT infrastructure with your strategic objectives. Discover new possibilities, achieve heightened operational resilience and transform your IT into a growth-enabler that powers you forward.
Claim your free network health assessment by contacting Infinity Technologies today. We’d love to hear from you.
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