Has your organization lost its way? If you haven't conducted a recent IT audit, it may be difficult to tell. Over time, an organization's IT practices may drift or become problematic. Software updates can fall behind, and security protocols may be abandoned. When this happens, an IT fitness assessment can help put you back on track.
Here's everything you need to know about the importance of IT fitness and regular IT assessments.
The Risk of Poor IT Practices
Over time, an organization's employees may create their own IT practices and their own IT culture — and that's not necessarily a good thing. Without anyone to reinforce business processes, a company can find itself with suboptimal IT. Without a vigilant IT department, critical tasks could be indefinitely put off.
This can harm a business in several ways:
Employees may cease to follow proper security protocols. Without the right guidance, employees will slowly start to take shortcuts in their business processes. These shortcuts are going to ultimately lead to security issues, like not following proper password hygiene. Employees are the most significant risk for any business, and if they become lax in securing their mobile devices or business devices, it could lead to an entire system compromise.
Old computer hardware and software will begin to hamper productivity. Employees who struggle with ancient hardware and software are not going to be as productive as they could be. Instead, they may spend a significant amount of their time trying to troubleshoot their issues, losing work due to system crashes, or waiting for the system to be available. They may even find themselves avoiding their work entirely out of frustration.
Security risks related to outdated technology will increase. Outdated technology can lead to business disruption or serious security risks. If technology isn't updated frequently, system crashes and data loss can occur. Over time, these systems will also become more vulnerable to potential security issues. Altogether, this leads to a constantly increasing level of risk for the company.
Employees will start to move towards self-service IT. If employees cannot complete their work with the systems and applications they already have, they may take things into their own hands, such as using third-party and unsecured applications, which can ultimately lead to security risks. Further, business protocols are going to become less consistent, leading to issues with collaboration, communication, and training.
Companies may fall behind compared to their competition. Companies that cannot continuously assess and update their existing technology may not know where they fall compared to their competition. Fairly quickly, they may become lapped by other companies within their industry; this will mean that the company may also fall behind in terms of growth.
The more chaotic a company's IT practices become, the more likely it is that the company will experience issues. Furthermore, the more difficult it will become for the company to reclaim its IT and improve its operations. A company needs a regular IT fitness assessment to gauge its strength.
How an IT Fitness Assessment Can Help
An IT fitness assessment looks at your network and subsystems and measures them against its current needs and best practices. Through an IT fitness assessment, a company can be brought back in line with its own best practices, improving upon its operations and its security.
A good IT assessment will:
Identify potential risks. An IT fitness assessment will use a comprehensive checklist to identify potential issues for the company, ranging from security issues to productivity problems.
Provide a priority-based analysis of risks. Once risks have been identified, they will be prioritized, creating an actionable list that the company can follow when improving its business operations.
Create a roadmap for long-term change. Long-term adjustments into a company's IT processes and IT infrastructure will need to be taken step-by-step. These types of complex, exhaustive operations often require advanced planning to avoid disruption.
Prioritize issues that need attention immediately. Emergency issues will also be outlined, with the steps that the organization needs to take now to address them—these are usually issues that involve security or compliance.
CWPS evaluates an IT environment against over 100 best practices, in addition to checklist items across a dozen IT subsystems, providing recommended solutions to any problems that are discovered. Through this, the organization will be able to reduce its risk, in addition to improving its long-term IT health.
Without an expert IT assessment, an organization may not know how it compares to other businesses — or whether it may be slipping on some core issues. Contact CWPS today to get an expert IT assessment.