“Know Thyself”

This imperative phrase was etched on the wall of the oracle at Delphi, reminding all who entered (i.e., Socrates) just how important it is to be aware of “thyself” before focusing on the external. Soooo… what does this age-old maxim have to do with your modern IT environment? Everything!

Without a proper and extensive glimpse of your IT environment, it is incredibly difficult to effectively improve. Furthermore, defending against outside threats is pointless if threats are hiding right under your nose.

Many would agree that a little self-knowledge could certainly help their IT environment, but how do you know if a full network assessment (a report that lays out your network design including perimeter security strategy, risks, and proposed costs for addressing these problems) is really necessary?

For starters, if you have any major IT projects on the horizon then a network assessment is a must—but if you’re still not sure you need a network assessment, here are four simple signs that will help you decide.

1. You’re afraid to look

If you’re avoiding a network assessment because you are afraid of what you’ll find, then you’re not doing yourself any favors. Ignorance is bliss… until everything goes horribly wrong.

For instance, you may know that you have machines in your network that need patches or are running old software—but you don’t know how many there are or what it will take to update them. The thought is overwhelming, so you avoid looking. Don’t fall prey to this! The assessment will help you take the skeletons out of your closet and ease your mind.

2. You’ve been caught unaware

Did you find yourself scrambling to discover, assess, and migrate yourself off of Windows Server 2003 once EOS arrived? Or when Windows XP was EOL? Going for too long without a network assessment causes you to lose track of what needs to be updated and feel unprepared when it is time to change.

3. You don’t want to eat into your budget

If you’re avoiding a network assessment because you don’t want the findings to cut into your established budget, you’re simply prolonging your troubles.

The most expensive problems are often those you didn’t see coming. Avoiding a network assessment doesn’t avoid spending—it only postpones and further compounds it.

4. Long-term planning is difficult

It’s great to have conceptual, future ambitions, but are you able to translate those ambitions into concrete plans?

If you find yourself constantly stuck with nothing but good intentions and an inability to act on them due to a lack of information about the state of your resources, then a network assessment might just be the key to turning those dreams into a reality.

The “monster under your bed” seems scary at first, but looking is better than hiding under the covers. Not only is a network assessment not something to be feared, it comes with a host of advantages.

Here are just a few reasons you should conduct a network assessment.

Why a network assessment is worth the investment

Gain an unbiased perspective

An experienced outsider can bring more value than an internal perspective. No matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are, it’s natural not to take note of things we see every day. Especially if you had a hand in building and maintaining your IT infrastructure, an unbiased and factual perspective gives you a chance to discover issues you weren’t aware of and approach existing problems differently.

Be prepared for anything

When the time comes to roll-out a new solution (e.g., in light of Windows Server 2003 EOS), a network assessment will help you be ready. Discovery is the first step of any major IT project, so stay a step ahead by preemptively completing this step. Whatever EOS/EOL date sneaks up next won’t catch you sleeping.

Prevent problems

Not only does an assessment unveil existing problems, it also reveals what might become an issue in the future. The ability to prevent problems before they occur makes a network assessment incredibly valuable. An accurate gauge of your strengths helps you know where you do and don’t need to focus.

Get granular

The devil is in the details, so get granular with your environment. A professional, third-party assessment lets you see microscopic details of your technology you wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to see. Everything may seem fine on the surface, but if nothing else, a full-fledged assessment will assure you that your solutions are working as you need them to.

Plan for the future

Imagine budgeting for your future IT projects with full clarity of your current state. Sounds pretty nice, right? Seeing exactly where you are now allows you to accurately plan for where you want to be in the future—but more than simply planning where you want to be, you can plan how you will get there.  

What to do next

Knowledge is power, so take advantage of a network assessment and gain insight into your environment. Contact CCB if you want to learn more, because when it comes to the state of your network, it’s better not to guess. We deliver assessments for all parts of your network, gauging your network strengths and unveiling hidden threats.