Infrastructure Assessments Solve Today’s Needs and Prepare You for Tomorrow’s Needs, Too
Why should you conduct an infrastructure assessment? There are lots of good reasons for an infrastructure assessment. One is if you want to identify aging infrastructure and security threats. Infrastructure assessments also should be part of strategic planning, to help prepare you for new projects and determine whether you can leverage existing resources or if you need to build new capacity. They’re important if you’re planning to move your data center, either to another physical location or to the cloud, or if you’re consolidating storage.
Completing an infrastructure assessment helps you identify today’s challenges and prevent future problems. To offer the most benefit, an infrastructure assessment shouldn’t focus just on hardware but should also assess operational procedures, your security measures, your fundamental software, and your data.
Evaluate Everything in Your Infrastructure Assessment
The infrastructure assessment needs to evaluate almost all of the technical and human factors that impact your ability to deliver IT services:
- Server infrastructure: Make sure you have a complete inventory. Review your entire backend server infrastructure, including the compute and storage hardware, operating systems, core software such as databases, and your service contracts. The analysis should assess capacity, performance, security, patch management, and whether the applications are at a current supported release. Both physical and virtual components should be reviewed and opportunities for additional virtualization identified. Make sure all infrastructure components in the cloud comply with applicable data protection and security requirements.
- End user devices, peripheral devices, and application software: Update your inventory of these devices, too. Assess how users access applications, whether via desktop devices, company issues mobile devices, or their own personal devices. Evaluate patch management, device management, and identity management procedures. Ensure that only known, authorized peripherals are connected to the network and that any default password settings are altered. As with servers, you should review the software used to make sure it’s at a current level. Evaluate your software licenses and support contracts to make sure you’re paying for the level of usage required. Make sure devices are protected by antivirus and other appropriate malware countermeasures.
- Network infrastructure and services. Evaluate both your wired and wireless networks, assessing equipment like routers and switches, as well as your approach to directory services, domain name service, and other core network functions. Review the security including firewall configurations and other approaches.
- Security. Reviewing security controls is a core focus of the infrastructure assessment. All systems and network components should be evaluated for unaddressed risks. This spans basics such as password management, patches, firewalls, and antivirus as well as searching for more subtle vulnerabilities. Data should be reviewed for personally identifiable information to ensure it is adequately protected as required by relevant laws and the controls comply with the appropriate standards. Be sure to evaluate security controls surrounding mobile devices, too.
- Backup and disaster recovery. Assess your ability to restore IT services after an outage. It’s important to check that the recovery process was recently updated and reflects your current infrastructure.
As you evaluate each aspect of your infrastructure, evaluate whether it has major needs or risks now, is likely to have major needs or risks in the near future, or is operating at an adequate level of performance and security. This information should then be used to develop a prioritized approach to addressing the issues identified through the assessment.
Completing a thorough, effective infrastructure assessment is a lot of work. Let the Prescient Solutions team conduct your assessment for you. We bring 20 years of experience, certified expertise in leading technologies, and an impartial eye to evaluating your IT needs. Contact us to schedule your infrastructure assessment and get the insight you need to make strategic decisions for your IT future.