In business today, information technology is being utilized in a manner that can make it seem like business isn't possible without it. In some cases, it isn't, but then there is technology being deployed that is simply inefficiently deployed, used haphazardly, and could be looked on as more of a liability than anything else. Frequently getting an IT assessment can help keep your IT infrastructure secure, agile, and aimed at solving your organization's operational issues. Today, we'll take a look at the IT assessment.
The purpose of having an assessment done on your organization's information systems is simple: to gain a more complete understanding of how your IT works in regards to your business. That's not to say that having an understanding how everything fits will, in itself, make your business' IT more effective. No, that's on you, but in order to know that you need to change, eliminate, or reconfigure parts of your IT strategy, understanding what systems do what is essential.
Moreover, the assessment gives decision makers a look at how inefficient their IT strategy is, and how to make the changes necessary to make those systems work better for the company. A thorough IT assessment will have several parts to it. Today, we are going to go through what to expect when you get an assessment; or, what you need to look at if you want to objectively assess your own business' IT.
Two crucial metrics that will repeatedly make an appearance are your total cost of ownership, and your return on investment.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - This takes a look at the comprehensive cost of a given piece of business technology. Therefore, it goes beyond just the cost of procurement, and also considers how much the solution will cost to operate and maintain, as well as how much additional cost any downtime could create.
- Return on Investment (ROI) - This familiar metric measures your profit from a single investment, once all procurement and operating costs have been covered.
Let's look how these metrics come into play during an IT assessment:
At the Start
Typically, if your organization is going to conduct an IT assessment, there is some reason for it, and the results of this assessment (or audit, if you prefer) will likely have more to do with your future investments than many other actions would. This fact dictates that the audit is carried out by IT professionals who have the training needed to recognize inconsistencies, irregularities, and most importantly inefficiencies.
Any good IT assessment will begin by putting together a comprehensive Asset Detail Report. This will tell you what IT resources you have, when they were implemented and serviced, the latest firmware and software license and much, much more. This will cover all of your IT, including printers, copiers, cloud-based platforms, computing and networking hardware, software, and more.
Additionally, you might find it helpful (at this stage) to create something known as a site diagram or network map. This visual guide is used to map out the flow of data through your business.
The assessment team will next audit your network by performing a SWOT analysis (which analyzes your business network's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). In this process it will become more clear what potential problems your network has and what it's doing to function efficiently. There will be investment suggestions aimed to help reduce your organization's IT risk, while also promoting solid TCO rates and improving your ROI.
Finally, a risk report is assembled that combines the results from a variety of factors, including:
- 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
There are some other factors included in a finished assessment report. These include the status of domain controllers, the Active Directory settings, other potential vulnerabilities (like weak passwords and missing software updates), and any known network vulnerabilities.
Your finalized assessment will give you a comprehensive report that will be an indispensable tool for decision makers.
If you are looking for help identifying your company's IT issues, call our knowledgeable technicians today at (888) 894-6411.