A regular network assessment is key to its proper performance. You can keep track of the inventory and check how well the network is working. A network audit includes a full review of the network, devices, and other equipment as well as the software associated with it.
An internal network audit involves an assessment done by your IT department or a third-party IT service provider. However, if your company works in a regulated industry (banking, healthcare), you may need to undergo an external network audit as well.
To perform a network audit, the IT specialist should:
- Determine the scope of work (knowing exactly what to examine can simplify the auditing process)
- Set goals for the audit (identify the need for upgrade or update, review outdated equipment, etc.)
- Obtain network-auditing tools (such tools can perform inventory, create network diagrams, and provide reports).
Below are the key components of a network audit.
1. Hardware Assessment
Even if the majority of your work is done on the cloud, you must have at least some hardware for the system to function. By reviewing the existing hardware, you can figure out what’s working properly and what needs an upgrade.
It can also help you identify unauthorized devices linked to your network and remove them timely. By assessing your hardware regularly, you can cut costs, improve operations, and boost security.
2. Software Inventory
According to experts from Firewall Technical, the second most important part of your network audit is software inventory. Outdated software can decrease work productivity. Meanwhile, the lack of timely updates and upgrades can put your entire business at risk.
3. Security Assessment
Identifying weak spots and loopholes is the key to a successful business operation. That’s why network audits include security assessments. Weak passwords, poor firewalls, outdated antivirus software, open permissions, and other vulnerabilities could turn into serious security risks.
Your network needs to comply with internal standards for integrity and security. Some businesses need to ensure external compliance as well. An audit should show which parts of the network aren’t complying with the regulations properly. It can also identify missing or expired software licenses.
Once the audit is complete, network experts create a report. You can use this report to make quick corrections to the way the network works. This document can also help the company make plans for upgrades and updates.
How Often Should You Perform Network Audits?
Even if you don’t work in an industry that requires regular external audits, you can use official recommendations for performing them. The majority of the standards, including ISO 27001, recommend performing a network audit on a quarterly basis.
If you need to comply with the external audits, you can check which standards apply to your business.
The network audit helps companies answer questions about the condition of the network along with hardware and software. In the fast-changing world, outdated or poorly functioning networks could be highly damaging the way a company operates. Meanwhile, the network audit can help catch issues before they turn into serious problems.