Your IT and networking capabilities affect your business deeply, so it’s important to give these areas consistent attention. Performing a comprehensive network analysis on a regular basis is a great way to keep track of your system’s safety, efficiency, and its effect on your company’s bottom line.
IT as an industry has moved from a support function to a primary role in business strategy. Due to the value of data and the insights companies extract from it, data security is paramount. Additionally, the insights gleaned from data are vital for making business decisions in a competitive market.
Starting a Network Analysis
If you want to judge your network’s effects on your company’s profitability, efficiency, and security accurately, the first step is to establish a baseline. Accomplish this by comparing your network’s performance with industry and national averages. Additionally, some industries, such as health care, have unique regulatory obligations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Consider these obligations as well.
See if you can determine any definite areas that need attention. Even if only a few areas seem to be performing below standards, the compound effect is hurting your business. Once you’ve identified your problem areas, your IT department will help determine the best solutions.
Managed/Vendor Supported Vs. In-House Support
Most companies use a mix of customized proprietary software and off-the-shelf programs or applications. While in-house techs generally support custom software developed in-house, third-party software may be under a maintenance contract with a vendor. Some vendors may only provide top-tier support and won’t handle simple helpdesk functions such as password resets.
You’ll need to determine how much of your budget you are allocating to your different support structures and gauge their effectiveness. If a vendor’s software seems to be underperforming, consider whether developing a custom software solution might be a more cost-effective alternative.
When it comes to network efficiency, you want to assess your hosting. In-house hosting is going to offer faster access to your data and more reliable internal communications. You’ll need to determine if your hosting is reliable and cost-effective enough or if there is room for improvement. Ultimately, you want to create the best network environment possible for handling your network traffic.
Some companies handle lower-tier security functions internally. A helpdesk will field password resets and assist with simple functions for vendor applications. However, they may not be able to handle more-critical issues with vendor applications. Communication issues between your internal teams and a vendor could hurt your productivity. Additionally, this back-and-forth lowers your response time in the event of a data breach.
Contracting your cybersecurity to a third party works for some enterprises, but it’s usually better to designate specific security concerns to third-party security companies. Such companies stay in business by maintaining their reputations, so they have a lot to lose by compromising your network security.
Most companies employ some type of cloud computing structure. A private, onsite cloud server offers better network resource allocation, but is also more vulnerable to malicious software. If something affects a system on your network, it could reach your cloud server. Public cloud servers are inherently risky, because you share the storage space with other clients.
From an operational efficiency standpoint, you’ll need to assess whether your current cloud structure is performing as intended and is cost-effective. You may find that hosting your cloud storage in a new configuration results in faster, better collaboration among your employees.
Opportunities from Assessments
While finding your cybersecurity vulnerabilities is a top priority, you also want to be doing everything you can to boost your organization’s productivity. Don’t think of a network assessment as solely preventive maintenance – it is also an opportunity to find new ways to grow your business.
New cloud configurations, altered relationships with vendors and security companies, and your onsite hardware could all be areas of potential for improving your network’s performance. Run these assessments on a consistent basis to help improve your company’s operations.