Every company will go through a financial audit to make sure that its financials are in order. However, they don’t opt for network audits. A network audit can help you in reducing the risk of downtime and system instability. It will help you in defining your network architecture and strengthening network security. Also, it will help you in determining which software or hardware has become obsolete.
We are going to talk about network audits in this article. If you have never done a network audit, then this guide is perfect for you. You will also get to know about the advantages of scheduling a network audit.
What is a Network audit?
A lot of business owners become nervous when they hear the word “audit”. Audits are an important part of your business. It will ensure that your business is running properly. We have already talked about the financial audits. Financial audits are important for your company to ensure that your revenue is in order. Similarly, a network audit is also important for your business. It is focused on the tech and IT side of your business.
A team of auditors will check your IT inventory in the audit. They will check all the devices that are connected to your network. Auditors will create a complete map of your network. These auditors can be from your own company. However, you should prefer third-party auditors. Internal auditors can sometimes overlook things. If you want an honest network audit, then always go for 3rd party audits. The audit will involve both the software and hardware. You can consider them as network elements.
One important thing to note is that network assessment and network audits are different. Both network audits and network assessments are important for your business. However, network audits will focus more on network architecture, network security checks, inventorying, and reviews.
Network assessments will help you in determining your business’s compliance with regulations and policies. Businesses need to follow strict compliances like HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. Thus, network assessments will ensure that you are following these regulations properly. It will also help you in finding security loopholes in your network. A network assessment will also help you check your network configuration. It will ensure that your network is configured correctly. You can find bottlenecks by conducting assessments.
How an Audit can increase your system stability
Your network is the most important part of your IT infrastructure. All your employees will use your network to get things done. System stability risks can make your features and services inoperable. This can affect both your employees and your users. You will be stuck on your phone with the IT team. Your IT team will help you in fixing the issues remotely. In some cases, your IT team might need to visit your office for fixing your hardware or software.
These solutions will help you in solving the problem. However, they are not effective in the long term. The damage will be already done. If you don’t know the root cause of network issues, then they will happen again.
System instability can affect your ability to get stuff down. Your network will also become prone to hacking, phishing, malware, and viruses. Attackers can even steal sensitive data from your organization. You might lose access to important data like customer data and financial data.
Network audit can help you in fixing a lot of network issues. It will help you in preventing various scenarios that can hurt your business. You don’t need to worry about losing the trust of your customers. It can protect you from decreased revenue, reputational damage, and possible lawsuits.
Network security checks will strengthen your network
Most business owners don’t know how secure their company network is. Security check is already a part of your network audit. Thus, it will help you in answering the question. It will ensure that you understand your network security level. This is the most important of your network audit report.
The auditor will check if your network was breached in past. They will look for evidence of device attacks, inside attacks, scams, phishing, malware, DDoS attacks, and data breaches. Also, they will look for spyware and ransomware which might be stealing data from your organization.
If network auditors discover attacks, viruses, or breaches in your company network, then they will help you in coming up with good strategies. These strategies will help you in preventing future security issues. They might help you in hiding your sensitive information. This will ensure that your sensitive data is not accessible from your company computers. Only admins will get full access to your sensitive documents. Other employees will have access to only the documents that are not sensitive.
They might also suggest you go for the least privileged rules. If you are using the least privileged rules, then only employees who need access to your sensitive information will get access. The access will be revoked once their work is done. Most businesses are now using this method. It can help you in protecting your data from insider attacks.
Your auditor will suggest to you a lot of strategies that you can implement. These strategies will ultimately help you in strengthening your computer network. Thus, you should take these strategies seriously.
Network map will help you in understanding your network
A network audit will help you in identifying weak spots in your network. You should ensure that these weak spots are eliminated from your network. However, you can’t fix your network until you first understand it. Network architecture mapping will help you in solving this problem.
It will help you in producing a diagram of your network. There are various tools like SolarWinds, LucidChart, Edraw Max, and LANflow which can help you in mapping out your network. This diagram is very helpful. However, it won’t help you in solving all the network problems. You need to combine this map with network inventorying. This will help you in understanding what is going on in your network. You will know all the devices that are connected to your network. Also, you will know which devices are very important for your network.
You will also know how many devices are connected at any one time. This will help you in estimating your bandwidth needs. Thus, you can adjust your network according to these stats. You will also know which network service providers you are using. Also, you will understand which services you are actually receiving. Everything from telecom carriers to ISPs should be inventoried.
Network audit will help you in cutting off the dead weight
Your network auditor will also help you in doing obsolescence checks. This will help you in determining what is obsolete in your network. Your network has many moving parts. However, not every part is required in your network. You should review all the parts that are present in your network. Make sure that you are reviewing your current telecom carrier. You will most probably switch after checking all these things. You can also drop a device connection if that device is not required or supported. This will help you in saving money.
Your network security is just a coat of armor. If there are weaknesses in your network armor, then your entire network will get infected. You will lose access to valuable data. This can lead to network downtime also. Due to downtime, you will lose a lot of customer revenue. It will hurt your business reputation. Thus, you should focus on removing all the network weaknesses that you know. This will ensure that your network armor is impenetrable.
When should you go for a network audit?
If you are still wondering about whether a network audit is right for you, then you should check the following checklist. Make sure that you are going for a network audit if you are fulfilling all the mentioned criteria. This will ensure that you don’t need to worry about network issues and data breaches. The main criteria that you should check are:
Your network has never gotten a network audit
If you have never assessed your network architecture, then this is the correct time for a network audit. It will ensure that your network is actually working properly. Most companies have never inventoried all the services and devices that they are using. You can’t protect your business network until you understand your network. Thus, network audit is very important for your business. It will help you in understanding your network.
You will get access to a network map. This will help you in finding the root cause of network problems. Also, you will know about all the weaknesses present in your network. You can focus on improving network security before you experience a security breach.
You are growing massively
You might have done a network audit in past. However, your business was in the initial stages at that time. Your business has grown a lot in the past. If your business is growing massively, then this is a prime indicator that you need another network audit. You are going to add more services and products to your company. Also, your employee’s roaster is going to increase with time.
You will also introduce new devices and software to your network. Thus, you should check what is working for your business.
You are facing a lot of software and hardware issues
If your employees are facing a lot of software and hardware issues, then they can’t function properly. This can lead to productivity loss. Your current software and hardware might be obsolete and you don’t need them. You might need to upgrade your hardware or software. Network audit will help you in identifying and verifying these points.
How is a network audit done?
You should also understand how a network audit is done. This will ensure that you understand what you are signing up for.
Determining the scope
This is the first step of any audit. You will talk with the auditor and make sure that the scope of the audit is clear. Maybe you want the auditor to focus on managed devices only. The auditor will follow your guidelines and only check the things that you want them to check. You can also ask them to check unmanaged devices.
The auditor will ask about your network audit goals. You might want to remove obsolete devices from your network or you need a network map. If your focus is on improving your network security, then the auditor will focus on it.
Checking your network
You will give your network access to the auditor. The auditor will start checking your network now. They will check all the VPN connections that you are using. The auditor can use tools for testing your network strength. They will create a network map. The auditor will also review your servers and current security strategies. They will try to ensure that they understand your network completely.
The results will be published in an official audit report. You can show this report to compliance checkers or your stakeholders. In the report, you will find everything which the auditor has discovered. They will also offer you some suggestions which you can follow for improving your network.
Regular network audits can help you in finding system weaknesses. They will help you in learning more about your company network. This will help you in building a stronger infrastructure. If your company is not conducting regular audits, then you should consider getting one. You should also consider outsourcing your network needs to a good MSP.
Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in protecting your network from attackers. They will ensure that your network is working optimally. Bleuwire can also help you in performing network audits. They will help you in finding weaknesses in your network. Thus, you can fix your network before someone attacks your network. The best thing about working with MSP is that you don’t need to worry about network monitoring. Bleuwire will monitor your network regularly. This will ensure that everything is working properly in your network. If you need more information regarding IT network services, then you can contact Bleuwire.