There is a scenario that happens in your everyday life and if you are anything like me, it happens a lot. The scenario I am referring to is the stop and reset. This can happen if you take medications for various things and you need a visit to the doctor to get set straight on what all you are taking and why. Maybe it is in your job where you are juggling 10 balls at the same time and you lose sight of what you should be prioritizing and spending your time on. It happens to the best of us and it can happen for a variety of different reasons, it can even happen to your technology. If someone asked you today to list all your IT assets, would you be able to? Taking that one step further, do you know if all your systems are up and running full speed? A network audit is the process in which your network is mapped both in terms of software and hardware. Network audits are a must for any organization because networks are dynamic entities with their constant changing size and form.
Network Audit for Security
Network audits are a must because to control the hardware and software in your organization 100% is simply not possible. Users download new software all the time; can you be sure they are notifying the system administrator of every instance of this? These activities can have drastic repercussions on network security, so the network administrator will need to perform regular network auditing and monitor any changes to the preset baseline. The increased threat from malware and ransomware is forcing organizations of all sizes and shapes to take additional steps to ensure they are protected from a security breach. One vulnerability in your firewall is all it takes for your organization to be at risk. Running outdated software is a huge security threat because if you aren’t keeping up with patches, you are vulnerable.
The process of network auditing can be daunting if done manually, but luckily some tools can help automate a large part of the process. The administrator needs to know what machines and devices are connected to the network. Network auditing software gets installed on premise and gathers information about PCs, servers, network infrastructure, applications and more. You will need to know what operating systems are running and to what service pack/patch level. Another list it would be helpful to have is an all-inclusive user account and group list with usage on each machine, as well as security settings for each. A good network audit will also include what hardware makes up each machine, what policies affect that machine and whether it is a physical or a virtual machine. The more detailed the specification, the better. You need to compile a full list of hardware including printers, fax machines, routers, access points, network storage and any other device that has connectivity with the network. Once the machines running on the network are mapped, an audit of what software is running on each of the machines should happen. Network auditing software can document which services are installed, which are running and which are stopped.  The audit for the machines can be finalized by noting which ports each machine listens on and what software is running at the time of the audit. The last step is to analyze the data and to bring all parts of the network up to standard. This allows for the administrator to have an effective security/inventory baseline for all machines on the network. Once you have your security/inventory baseline, you can run regular audits to detect any abnormalities in your network. This will help you keep up with software licenses, outside threats to your systems, theft, use of unauthorized devices, etc.
Unless your organization invests in network auditing software, you will need to partner with an IT Consultant that offers this service. They are common at the beginning of a relationship between a client and IT Consultant, but can happen at any time. This is one step you can take to help ensure your organization is protected from outside threats. 2W Tech has IT Consultants on staff that specialize in performing network audits, as well as providing recommendations from the data it provides.  Give us a call today and let us help you stop and reset your technology.
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