What is an IT Security Network Assessment and Why Would an Office Need One Done?

Posted on March 15, 2020

The southeastern United States is home to many thriving tech hubs. Succeeding in this vibrant environment requires the right technology, infrastructure, and security measures in place. Even companies that excel in digital innovation benefit from the second opinion of skilled professionals offering IT services. From Chattanooga to Huntsville and beyond, companies routinely take advantage of managed services to keep infrastructure streamlined and secure.

Thinking about investing in some new computers? Not sure where the office stands with its cyber security? Curious about how many devices are connected to the network?  First, it is important to understand what an IT security network assessment is and how it can benefit an office.  

4 Reasons to Have an IT Security Network Assessment Done

An IT security network assessment is a comprehensive review of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure, software, and hardware. This review focuses on security, compliance, and operational efficiency in an organization’s network. This detailed report includes a review of the performance of the network, a security assessment to define areas of improvement (i.e. vulnerabilities and bugs in the network), a network inventory used to discover which devices are on the network, the network architecture, and much more. It is one of the first places a company starts when choosing to leverage managed IT services.

By having an outside objective network assessment conducted, businesses can figure out which aspects of the business are working, what may be holding it back, and how best to plan for the future. An assessment can catch problems early before they affect a company’s productivity or even worse – the bottom line.

Choosing an IT services partner is vital because it involves trusting a third-party partner to handle a company’s most critical business information and help during network issues or a crisis. RJ Young has a reliable team of trained professionals to create custom unique solutions to help a business succeed. With the amount of managed IT services options available, it can make choosing a provider difficult.

When choosing a managed services provider, look for a provider that will:

1. Address Security Blind Spots and Weak Points

The primary purpose of security is to prevent unauthorized access to a company’s network or sensitive information. However, the average office is technologically sophisticated. There are many opportunities for security blind spots to arise simply because so many devices now exist in an office.

For startups and small businesses, the likelihood of blind spots or weak points increase. Startups frequently need to access the same technological solutions as their established rivals, but they may not have the skill or expertise to deploy these solutions securely.

However, an IT security network assessment is valuable to companies, no matter their size. Like a car, a network benefits from regular checkups. A comprehensive IT assessment will identify:

  • Internet-connected devices that are not adequately secured, like printers or smart devices
  • Outdated hardware with known security flaws
  • Software that is incorrectly configured, updated, or secured
  • Employee security practices that may result in a breach
  • Areas where the IT department lacks visibility
  • Technological assets lacking physical security
  • Assets in use that might not be compliant with regulations

2. Discover Shadow IT

Network assessments frequently reveal the presence of shadow IT in a company. According to Cisco, shadow IT is the use of technological assets without the use, permission, or knowledge of the IT department. This typically occurs because employees are buying or installing software or applications (though sometimes hardware) to do their job. Employees often install shadow IT when IT support is unavailable, or the current tools provided by the company are insufficient.

Shadow IT is not malicious, but it nonetheless creates an opportunity for malicious software or criminals to gain access to a network. It also makes network traffic monitoring much more difficult because these resources might not be visible to an IT department. If the IT department is not aware of an application or software on a device, they cannot support it or ensure that it is secure.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, one-third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be on data located in shadow IT resources, including shadow Internet of Things.

Shadow IT is not going away and an assessment can help uncover these resources. A managed IT service provider, such as RJ Young, can then review the resources and either integrate them into the authorized list of IT assets, or eliminate and replace them with secure tools to help employees do their jobs.

3. Identify Opportunities to Optimize Secure Accessibility

Many people view security and accessibility as being at odds with each other. Sometimes this leads to people taking shortcuts that undermine the preventative measures taken to protect a network. For example, some users may:

  • Turn off multi-factor authentication to make logins easier
  • Store passwords in insecure, but accessible locations
  • Disable the firewall to access the resources they need on a computer

If users are disabling cyber security features, it is a sign that they are not deployed in a way that supports productivity and accessibility. An IT security network assessment can identify these instances to recommend later configurations that optimize accessibility while maintaining security.

4. Access Expert Advice Before Developing Infrastructure

Many cities in the Southeast have reputations for being tech hubs full of competent, technologically fluent professionals who know what they are doing when it comes to software and hardware. However, no one should buy a car without having it inspected by a mechanic first. Think of an IT security assessor like a mechanic.

An IT security network assessment is a smart first step when considering additional infrastructure investments.

An organization may know its IT infrastructure inside and out, but that does not diminish the value of a second set of eyes. Instead, a professional who is specifically trained to conduct assessments will be able to provide insights regarding immediate, short-term, and long-term impacts of the proposed developments. Even if a company does not intend to pursue managed IT services, such advice can mean the difference between scalable growth and unnecessary expenses.

RJ Young Provides IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Throughout the Southeast

An IT security network assessment is a smart move for any organization, even if they are already experts in the technology industry. A comprehensive evaluation conducted by trained professionals is one of the most valuable services that a technologically sophisticated office can employ. Carrying out regular IT security assessments to gain better visibility or implementing zero-trust networking can be an effective way to tackle threats.

Before upgrading those computers or making significant changes to the office’s IT security, give RJ Young a call. Work with a team of experienced professionals who know tech startup scenes like Chattanooga’s and are prepared to deliver the right IT services to thrive.

RJ Young provides managed IT services and assessments to companies in Chattanooga, Tennessee and throughout the Southeast. Contact an RJ Young specialist to get started with a comprehensive network assessment today.

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