Are you the exception when it comes to IT network hygiene

Let’s face it: The old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is an easy mantra for busy executives and employees who have to-do lists longer than their arms. We’ve evolved into a society largely of digital firefighters, running from one emergency to the next while trying to get more work done with fewer resources.

When it comes to managing an IT network, even the most diligent companies with competent internal and/or external technical resources struggle to keep up. If it’s not responding to a never-ending call for help from the end-users, it’s swapping out old hardware, ramping up new systems and, well, just keeping everything running and available.

The simple truth is that there’s a lot that can be broken “under the hood” where nobody’s looking, because nobody’s complaining. Yet nine out of 10 computer networks that we analyze will have a potentially serious problem sitting undetected, waiting to create a data disaster.

Ports are sitting open to the internet right through the firewall. Former employees and long-gone contractors still have credentials that could grant them access to the network. Laptops and desktops that were swapped out for newer models still have settings that will be recognized and accepted. Current employees have unfettered access to private company data. And the list goes on.

The sad thing about this situation is that all of these network “landmines” waiting to explode can be easily uncovered and “disarmed.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, it doesn’t take a lot of money, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. It just takes the right software tool, and a qualified technician to run the scan, analyze the results, and develop a resolution plan.

The cost to benefit ratio of running periodic network assessments is a no-brainer. No matter how busy your operation is, you can’t NOT afford to take a few hours to scan and analyze your network for those hidden configuration settings and security holes that are easy to fix and could prevent some very big headaches.

For the smallest networks with just one or two servers and 10 or fewer network devices, an annual assessment should be sufficient. But the bigger the network the more that can go wrong, and the quicker things can change. Two assessments per year, or even once per quarter is definitely a worthwhile extra insurance policy to protect your IT assets and your company.

Quick poll: are you too busy to have someone come in and do a fast network assessment for you?