Your Network Health Assessment Checklist
Conducting a network health assessment is a must for any company that heavily relies on its information system. In this day and age, almost every business makes use of computers and other gadgets to perform a variety of functions – from recording data to analyzing inputs, to producing information in hard copy.
Thus, it is likewise necessary for you to assess the health of your network through a simple checklist. This ensures that your computer systems will work smoothly and will be functional for a long time. When done regularly, the assessment will help you determine whether something must be replaced or fixed.
Four factors are looked into in a network health assessment: 1) security, to ensure that the IT systems are accessed only by authorized individuals; 2) competitiveness, to make sure that the network provides a competitive edge to the business; 3) availability, to determine whether the systems are available for use at any time of the day to avoid delays in information processing or other functions; and 4) capability, to check whether the system still works effectively and efficiently, and addresses the needs of the company.
Aside from these four factors, there are also sub-categories that must be checked for total quality control. Be guided by the questions and descriptions that follow:
- Network Infrastructure. This section identifies possible problems regarding cables, the Internet firewall, class network switches, and the cable modem. Furthermore it assesses the need to improve the following:
- Network Management and Equipment: Do the switches work properly? Are there “unmanageable” switches that must be replaced? Are there issues on workstation performance? What issues are revealed in the network traffic?
- Internet Security: Is there a system that filters outbound traffic? Has the system been attacked by malware or other viruses which are difficult to eradicate? Should a firewall be enhanced? Does the firewall allow only desirable Internet traffic?
- Cabling: Is there an established main communications room? Are there equipment racks that indicate proper cable management? Are the cables labeled?
- Wireless Networking: Is there electromagnetic interference that hinders the employees from using the wireless network? Where should the wireless access point be best installed? Does the network allow guest access?
- Remote Access: Is there a Virtual Private Network in the area? Is the network used for other purposes aside from accommodating customer service information?
- Physical Environment. This also figures in how well systems run in a business. For example, assessing physical space is important in gauging whether the IT equipment would work efficiently.
- Temperature: Is the room too hot or cool? How does the temperature and humidity affect the system? Are the vents on the servers clean or are they clogged by dust? Does air flow properly in front of and behind equipment?
- Physical Security: Are there loose cables and switches which employees might trip? Are the servers placed properly without the danger of being disrupted?
- Automatic Server Shutdown: Should network shutdown software be installed? Are batteries or servers monitored and tested regularly?
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered during a network health assessment. These may be technical, but rest assured that the questions direct you to the heart of the problem. With a regular network assessment, you can be confident that your business’s IT system will run smoothly and deliver.