How a Network Audit Can Help Reduce the Risk of System Instability

Every few years, your company willingly undergoes an audit to ensure your financials are all in order. It shouldn’t be any different for your company computer network. What are the benefits of a network audit?

A network audit can reduce the risk of system instability by defining network architecture, strengthening network security, and determining which hardware or software may be obsolete.

If this will be your first network audit, we recommend you keep reading. First, we’ll explain what this audit entails in full detail. Then we’ll further expound on the above advantages of scheduling a network audit for your Dallas-based business today.

Let’s get started.

What Is a Network Audit?

Although the word “audit” can make some people nervous, audits are a regular requirement for a wholly sound business. In the intro, we talked about financial audits, in which an expert ensures all your company’s revenue is in order. A network audit is focused on the IT and tech side of your business.

During a network audit, a team of auditors will take inventory of the contents of your network and then map out those contents. The auditors could be within your own company or they could be third-party hired help. The audit involves both your network software and hardware, which are parsed down to their mere network elements.

It’s important to note that network audits are not the same as network assessments. Both network assessments and network audits can be valuable for your company, though. Audits focus more on network security checks, network architecture, obsolescence reviews, and inventorying.

A network assessment can determine your company’s compliance with policies and regulations (such as GDPR) as well as identify security loopholes. Through a network assessment, you can also learn if your network is configured properly, whether you have bottlenecks in your bandwidth, and which resources you use the most versus those you’re underutilizing.

How a Network Audit Can Increase System Stability

Your company’s computer system is how business gets done. System stability risks can render certain services and features inoperable. You’re then stuck on the phone with your IT team waiting for them to fix the issue remotely or visit the office to repair a specific issue, such as with hardware. Although these solutions work, it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. If you don’t know where your network issues are stemming from, then it’s only a matter of time before they crop up again.

Outside of affecting your ability to get work done, system instability can make your network prone to viruses, phishing scams, and hacking. Proprietary data can get leaked, including sensitive customer data, which is something we wrote about in another recent post.

The following services offered through a network audit can prevent the above scenarios from coming to fruition, sparing your business lost trust, decreased revenue, possible lawsuits, and reputational damage.  

Security Checks Strengthen Your Network

How secure is your company’s network at current? With a security check as part of your network audit, that answer will become clear. This is arguably the most important part of a network audit.

During the security check, the auditor will look for current or past evidence of physical breaches, device attacks (especially connected devices), DDoS attacks, inside attacks, phishing and scams, and malware such as ransomware and spyware.

Should the auditor discover breaches, viruses, or attacks on your company network, they will recommend strategies to prevent future security issues. They might tell you not to make sensitive information accessible on company computers without a password. Perhaps only admins get full access to some documents and for the rest of the employees, these docs are read-only.

The auditor might also suggest you use least privilege rules. Under these rules, only those who need to see certain proprietary information to get a project done should be given access to that information. Regardless of which method you select, you can rest assured that your company’s computer network is stronger thanks to these security checks.

Network Architecture Mapping and Inventorying Help You Better Understand Your Network

Once a network audit identifies the weak spots in your network, you don’t want such weak spots to appear again. That said, it’s hard to fortify your company network if you don’t understand the full immensity of said network. This is where network architecture mapping comes into play.

Architecture mapping produces a diagram of your network using software such as LANFlow, Edraw Max, Lucidchart, and/or SolarWinds. The diagram is useful, although it will only take you so far. When combined with network inventorying, then you can really begin to see the scope of what’s under the umbrella that is your companywide network.

Which devices are connected to the network? That goes for your virtual and physical networks alike. How many devices do you have connected at any one time? Which service providers are you using and which services are you receiving? From network providers to ISPs and telecom carriers, all should be inventoried.

Obsolescence Checks Cut Off the Dead Weight

Your auditor will also do obsolescence checks during the network audit. Determining what’s obsolete should come naturally once you have a full inventory of all the many moving parts of your network. Perhaps after reviewing what you’re paying for your current telecom carrier, you decide to switch. You might also drop a device connection if the device has long since not been supported.

Think of your network security as a coat of armor. Any weaknesses in the armor are exploited even if the rest of the coat of armor is intact. Once you remove those weaknesses, your coat of armor becomes a lot more impenetrable.

When Does a Company Need a Network Audit?                          

If your company is still contemplating whether a network audit is right for you, we encourage you to look at the following business. Should you meet these criteria, you don’t want to wait long to schedule an audit.

You’ve Never Gotten a Network Audit Before

Firstly, if your company has never sat down and assessed your network architecture or inventoried all the devices and services that comprise the network, then an audit is for the betterment of your company. As we said before, you can’t shield your company from system instability if you can’t grasp exactly what’s in your network.

Your Company Has Experienced Massive Growth

Perhaps you’ve had a network audit done before, but that was back when you were in your startup stages. Now you’ve grown quite a bit. Any significant growth is an indicator that it’s time to do another audit. As you’ve added more services to your company and built a bigger employee roster, you’ve undoubtedly introduced new hardware and software to the network. You need to assess what’s working for you and what isn’t.

You Have a Lot of Hardware and Software Issues

Being bogged down by hardware and software issues wastes precious company time, as we discussed before, putting you behind the eight ball. It could be that your current hardware and software is long since obsolete or no longer agrees with other components in the network, both of which are points that a network audit can identify.

How Is a Network Audit Performed?

It would put your mind more at ease if you understood how a network audit works. Allow us to showcase the steps that auditors usually follow.

Step 1: Determining the Audit Scope

Before the network audit officially begins, you’ll speak with the auditor about the scope of the work to follow. Should you want the auditor to only focus on managed devices, which are those that your company owns, then that’s what they’ll do. You can also add unmanaged devices like those that your visiting clients or customers use.

The auditor will also discuss the goals of your network audit, such as reducing extraneous services or devices, mapping out your network architecture, or strengthening your system security. 

Step 2: Accessing the Network

From there, you’d give the auditor access to the networks they must use to do the audit. If you have VPN connections or are on wireless or wired connections, ensure the auditor can still get through these access layers. The auditor will use various tools to test the network strength and stability as well as to map out your network should that be a service that you’re interested in.

Outside of identifying system threats, the auditor will also review the servers, your company’s current password strategies, and your network protection policies such as encryption, remote access policies, and Internet access policies.

Step 3: Putting Together an Audit Report

The results of your company’s network audit are published in an official report. In the report, the auditor will clearly explain what they did as part of the audit and what their findings were. They’ll also offer suggestions for bettering your company system.


Regular network audits can identify system weaknesses and teach you more about your company’s network for a stronger infrastructure. If it’s been a long time since your Dallas company has had a network audit or you’ve yet to do an audit, we hope this article inspires you to schedule one soon!

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