Learn how to build your own IT Network Audit Checklist.

How To Build An IT Network Audit Checklist

Every company relies on IT infrastructure to keep daily life moving fast. A lagging network or security issues aren’t just a potential threat to data, they can seriously hinder workplace productivity. The myriad of ways in which an IT network can fail is far-reaching. Without a proactive approach, a simple problem can leave IT pros shooting in the dark for answers, taking up valuable time and money. Slow speeds and security hazards abound in a reactive IT environment. In creating a top-performing network and streamlining productivity lies the necessity for an IT network audit. It is the most crucial first step in building a network that is fast, reliable and safe.

A first-time audit can feel intimidating to those who haven’t engaged with the software before, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming affair. Executing a thorough audit means ensuring functionality and reliability within the network itself. To do that, you’ll need to build an audit checklist and remember how each step can help your network to perform as it was intended.

Build A Bring Your Own Device Policy

Outside laptops, tablets, and smartphones are a fact of life at every company. Employees will always bring their own devices to work and connect them to the bigger enterprise network at the office. While this can be beneficial for the employee, it creates an increased demand on the network itself, increasing bandwidth demands, slowing overall speeds, and posing security risks.

Odds are, you can’t ban your employees from bringing these things to work or putting them on the network. You can, however, manage these challenges by implementing policies around outside devices. Every outside device brings unapproved third-party apps and foreign hardware, creating a policy gives you something to define and look for when performing an IT network audit. This can help you to expose vulnerabilities and keep the network safe.

Go Over Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Network security should be at the top of your IT audit checklist. There are so many cybersecurity vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Many of which can be easily exploited by outside parties who gain access to your network. These vulnerabilities often reside in hardware, software, and often times the physical network itself. Identifying and fixing these vulnerabilities requires a full network audit. Start with personal devices (as laid out in the aforementioned policy) and then move to password management. Easily cracked passwords are one of the top security threats most companies face. Finally, focus on any outdated security patches and third-party apps that could pose a cybersecurity risk.

Find the Holes In Network Infrastructure

Network infrastructure is comprised of any software or hardware pieces that make up the overall system. Hardware is anything such as a cable, switch, or physical access point. Network software includes firewalls, operating systems, downloaded applications, and anything in a similar vein. Finding a great software inventory tool is one way to find holes in the network infrastructure, as are network infrastructure mapping tools. Make sure that all patches are up-to-date and that forgotten firewalls or balances aren’t causing any major disruptions. Often, these simple issues can be a major thorn in the side of IT technicians. 

Focus on Data and File Security

A network that is not properly audited for data and file security is a network that is vulnerable. Data that is not properly secured is a major liability. A good strategy when implementing an IT network audit is to eliminate extraneous data. Know who has access to data and how every file on the network is being accessed. Put restrictions in place as necessary and identify any holes that could slow your network down or prove a major security hazard. Simply creating an IT network audit checklist and using the right software inventory tool can keep your business running smoothly and your network secure.