The Nasty 5-letter Word

In the business world, the term “audit” is a nasty 5-letter word.  It often refers to financial auditing and is wrought with anxiety and countless lost hours of production.

Did you know that when it comes to technology, auditing can actually save you money and, in some cases, help you propel your business to the next level?

Not many people think about auditing their IT systems.  Computers tend to be a “put it in place and forget about it until it breaks” component of business.  The reality is you could be wasting a great deal of money by not regularly performing audits on your IT environment.

We equate this leakage to the same as a bad sealant on a window.  Sure, the window is in place and is functioning (for the most part).  On the surface, unless there’s a major crack, you don’t really see any issues but over time, you will notice your heating or cooling bills rise.  You may find water seeping in during bad storms and causing damage to the building structure.  Eventually it will cost you more to keep your current windows than to have them properly switched out and replaced.

So too is the slow leakage that comes with a business IT infrastructure that doesn’t have a proper monitoring and auditing system behind it.

The slow leak of your hard-earned profit…

As mentioned previously, it isn’t immediately apparent how you can lose money from an improperly maintained IT system but here are some common issues we run into that can easily be caught by a proper audit.

  • Outdated software that requires patches or upgrades
  • Equipment on the verge of failing and degrading in performance
  • Holes in your security that have allowed malicious software to enter
  • Loss of productivity from employees spending time on unauthorized websites
  • Missing or incorrect license keys which put your company at legal risk

Ignoring the issue…

Over time, the infrastructure can break down around you and suddenly you find yourself in an emergency situation.  Your hardware or software is failing.  You don’t know how or what to replace the equipment with.  You scramble to stop the incoming “seepage of water” that can cause permanent damage to the infrastructure of your business.

Audits to the rescue

Luckily, you can avoid a lot of this pain by having an IT audit performed.  Unlike its financial counterpart, IT audits can be relatively painless and cost you minimal time.

A well run audit

Obviously, there are many programs and people out there who claim they can perform IT audits.  If the audit is to be of value, it must contain some key points:

  • Inventory of all hardware and software connected to your IT system
  • Detailed listing of licenses for each critical application and serial numbers for hardware
  • Information around warranty status on each piece of hardware
  • Listing of firewall or security measures and ports open
  • Information on users and mail accounts (if hosted internally)
  • Information on server utilization and storage device space

How long does an audit take?

Normally, an initial audit should take no more than a couple of hours.  There is minimal involvement from your staff.  Rather, the IT technician should be able to perform the investigation with just access to your system.

How often should it be done?

The frequency of audits depends upon if you have another monitoring system in place to watch day-to-day activity.  With a monitoring system, you should only have to perform or update your audit when major system changes like across-the-board upgrades or new servers go into place.  Without a monitoring system to watch day-to-day traffic, you may want to consider a minimum of a yearly review of your systems to ensure all is still operating as expected.

Need help?

If you need more help or have further questions about IT audits, please don’t hesitate to give us a call here at Solve-IT.ca.  We’d be happy to answer your questions and work with you to provide you the best solutions to maximize your IT budget

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