With technology being deployed to help businesses solve all manners of operational inefficiency, it’s often difficult to pinpoint what IT will work best for your business. Organizations of all types look to technology; and, at some point you need to ask yourself if your technology is set up to help reach your business’ potential.
If you are like many other businesses, IT is a crucial part of your business’ day-to-day operations and it stands to reason that it should be a priority to understand just how it functions to do so. This process, while pretty transparent, is not always cut and dry. With a simple IT assessment, you can get a clear look at how your organization’s IT functions, how it works to tie your business together, and get an idea how it can be improved. Today, we’ll take a look at an IT assessment and how it can be the first step on a path to improving your operations.
In order to get the most comprehensive look at how your IT is functioning for your business, you need to take a look at core functions those technologies are used for. They typically include human resources, financial information, hardware, software, specific needs of your business, governance (compliance), managing risk, and the ever-prominent security of said network.
Before we get started going through what to expect from an IT assessment, there are a couple terms that you need to understand:
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – This metric will measure the total cost of a piece of technology. This takes into account the initial cost, the cost of operation, the cost of maintenance, and the cost of any downtime related to the solution in question.
- Return on Investment (ROI) – This metric will measure how much you’ve profited off of an investment.
These two metrics will come into play frequently during the IT assessment.
You have to know why you would need an IT assessment in the first place. An IT assessment, or IT audit, is going to be the basis for the decisions that will come after. For that reason it is extremely important that you have trained technicians who know exactly what they are looking at, conducting the audit. It’s crucial that the people who conduct the assessment understand how IT should be used as a part of your business’ workflow, not aside from it.
Starting the Assessment
The first thing that will happen during an IT assessment is to put together something called the Asset Detail Report. The Asset Detail Report lists all computers, servers, virtualized computing platforms, printers, switches, routers, and any other hardware and software that you have or pay for. This will present the age of all the hardware systems your organization has; provide the names of software, when it was installed, and what versions you’re working with; the status of endpoint security; where, and how much, data is stored; IP addresses and much, much more.
At this time, it may be advantageous to create a site diagram. A site diagram shows you how your data flows through your network and devices. This visual representation of your IT infrastructure will give you a map of sorts of your organization’s network. The IT technicians at CTN Solutions can assist you with any part of the IT assessment process.
Next the IT SWOT analysis, which is a metric that separates the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats affecting your business’ IT network. First, technicians will identify internal and external factors that are considered favorable or unfavorable to the network and infrastructure health–including security–of the organization’s IT. Next, the techs will use the SWOT results to make recommendations on how to improve network security and suggest what types of investments will be needed to reduce organizational risk, promote rapid and sustainable ROI, and maintain a positive TCO. These suggestions will then be put into an actionable plan with the design to help a business make the right technology decisions.
Finally, the assessment will produce a risk report from an evaluation of:
- Network hardware
- Security configuration
- VPN/Remote Access
- Websites, domain names, and hosting provider
- Phone System
- Email, messaging, and conferencing
- Computers, mobile devices, tablets
- Software and mobile apps
- Procedures, policies
- Technology vendors
This report will identify domain controllers and online statuses, list users in Active Directory, a user’s last login, identify potential security issues such as weak passwords and machines that haven’t had their software updates, and provide the known vulnerabilities found on the network. With this report you will understand everything you need to know about your organization’s IT infrastructure and networking; and, their relationship to your team’s ability to be productive.
Your organization’s IT is often what holds it all together. For more information about an IT assessment, or to schedule our knowledgeable technicians to complete one for you, call CTN Solutions today at (610) 828- 5500.