Getting an IT assessment is a bit like going to the dentist. It’s not pleasant and, even if the results are good, it’s still not pleasant. Yet it’s something every organization with an IT component should do regularly to keep their systems in good health. An assessment of your IT system reveals deficiency and points at what you need to do to remedy it.
People are encouraged to check their teeth regularly to mitigate risk; most people don’t like the costs and pain associated with a dental appointment. The same goes with the technology you’re using, and the only way to evaluate this is by conducting a complete review of the technology your business uses.
Understanding IT Assessments
Identifying concerns about which you weren’t aware is often disconcerting, though the end result leads to optimized and efficient systems. This decreases costs, reduces risk, and improves security. Just like that aching tooth that spurs you to make a dental appointment, an IT assessment verifies why the companies’ desktops are running more slowly or why the web app developed to enhance productivity proves so unreliable.
And consider too the knock-on effect when your technology isn’t working as it should. Failing regularly to meet deadlines usually means there’s a productivity problem within a company associated with outdated technology. If your employees start looking for ways to bypass your software, or supplement the software with other applications, it’s time to look at your system’s shortcomings.
Security Assessment of IT Systems
One prime reason for an IT assessment concerns security. The Clark School of the University of Maryland found a cyber-attack occurred somewhere in the world once every 39 seconds. Over 500 million personal records were stolen in 2018, according to Security Ventures. IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty states ominously, “Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
So there are some very valid reason for companies to be concerned. Yet fewer than 40 percent of organizations conduct scans more than four times a year, too infrequently considering the massive threat from hackers and online fraud. IT assessments can help provide the insight you need to protect your company’s assets.
A complete IT assessment annually will help keep your company from becoming a victim. Here are just a few important things to consider:
- Ensure you’re following compliance regulations.
- Identify those systems with the most inefficiencies.
- Ensure you’re not using outdated hardware and software.
- Look at what functions belong in the cloud and why.
- Updates and patches for security software should be regularly applied.
- Make sure you administer anti-virus and spam filters from a central location.
- Educate your employees regularly on security best practices.
- A continuity and disaster recovery plan is necessary for your business; make sure you have backups and redundancies just in case.
- Make certain your employees understand the processes for integrating new employees into your system.
- When employees leave your organization, make sure they no longer have access to your system.
- Make sure your employee policies for passwords, social media, and person mobile devices don’t compromise company security.
IT assessments identify security weaknesses, but they also reveal shortcomings in your operation that prevent companies from reducing costs and growing revenue. Learning where you’re weak allows you to remedy the problem. It shows where you should invest. Additionally, it helps streamline your organization, identifying opportunities for collaboration, which brings up the issue of outsourcing.
Conclusion: Outsourcing IT Assessment
Should you handle IT assessments internally or outsource them? This depends on a multitude of issues, and depends on your IT capabilities as a company. Many times, it makes more sense to hire an expert, who will bring skills and knowledge to the table that your IT team doesn’t have.
Just like with other portions of your IT needs, outsourcing a technical assessment might make sense. But if you outsource, look for an IT consultancy company that can conduct a 360° assessment your IT functions in order to evaluate opportunities that may unlock short-term value. If you’re doing a check-up, best make certain you identify all the things you need to change.
Relying on old applications that developers no longer support leads to inefficiencies, and makes security breaches more likely. This can affect the whole organization, so addressing problems associated with orphaned software sooner rather than later makes sense. Just like putting off a dentist’s appointment, not doing so can result in even greater expense. Outsourcing an IT assessment can mean you won’t lose your company’s teeth.