Enterprise networks are built up of numerous entities. Servers, workstations, laptops, tablets, smartphones, other mobile devices (endpoints) and network devices are all connected to the enterprise network. Network Assessment refers to the review of the enterprise/organization IT infrastructure, security, management and the processes involved for network inventory — to identify all the connected entities; network vulnerability assessment — to detect the vulnerabilities and security compliance factors and to identify network software bugs — operating systems and software applications.
A network assessment helps enterprises acquire a comprehensive view of their network and current status, and to identify ways to improve the overall performance of the processes and address security vulnerabilities. Network assessment allows Managed Service Providers (MSP) to gain a true picture of the existing network of new customers, before signing on a service providing contract. Without an assessment, the MSP would not know the scale of issues or vulnerabilities in the potential new client's network.
Performing a network assessment on a new client's network will help the MSP showcase the true status of the network and the existing vulnerabilities to the client. It will assist the MSP to better convince the client to sign on for managed services and the question of "Why Network Assessment?" asked by clients. The Network Assessment delivers numerous reports that provide a detailed picture. A tool such as the ComodoONE network assessment tool provides Client Risk Summary Report, Change Management Report, XP Migration Readiness Report, Full Detail Report, Asset Detail Report and Excel Export Report.
The reports provide a list of findings and also highlight the various system issues and security vulnerabilities. The reports help the network assessment tool to recommend possible solutions that the MSP could convert these into new billable projects. Periodically generating and providing reports to clients is a recommended best business practice that helps assess the status of the network, and then take adequate measures to fix the anomalies.
The XP Migration Readiness Report, for example, can be used to identify computers still running on the Windows XP operating system. As Microsoft has stopped support for XP, these machines carry a high vulnerability. The MSP can then recommend the upgradation of the hardware, operating system or other applications to secure the enterprise network.
The Asset Detail Report provides details of all the assets connected to the network, which thus enables easy automatic inventory. The reports can also be exported to excel format for detailed analysis.
There are basically three stages in Network Assessment — preparation, performing the assessment and post-assessment. Preparation would involve defining the scope of the network assessment; performing the assessment would include inventorizing the network assets, assessment of performance and the security. Post-assessment would involve generating reports based on the analysis, and providing recommendations to the client.
The question of "Why Network Assessment?"
As seen above, Network Assessment has numerous advantages and answers the question — "Why Network Assessment?" It is an essential tool for MSPs and enterprises/organizations.