An IT assessment checklist for small businesses

An IT assessment checklist for small businesses

Business leaders face constant pressure to innovate in a rapidly evolving and competitive market. Yet most digital transformation projects fail to meet their goals because of poor planning and a lack of alignment between technology and business goals. With IT being the backbone of any modern organization, there’s far more to technology strategy than simply reviewing the software and hardware options available to you. Proper planning and preparation are more important than ever.

#1. Software and hardware inventory

Every technology strategy starts with an IT assessment, a multistage process that evaluates the current state of your infrastructure before establishing your goals and choosing the solutions to help you reach them. The first stage is to get an accurate overview of your existing network infrastructure, as well as any digital assets in the hands of third parties, such as cloud apps and storage. To know exactly where your data lies and to quantify and qualify the computing resources available to your organization, this step involves identifying, collecting, and analyzing all resources.

By the time you’ve finished, you should have a complete and up-to-date inventory of every computer, access point, router, switch, and networked peripheral, as well as any cloud-hosted systems your organization depends on. Don’t forget to confirm the type and number of software licenses you have. You can automate the entire process using asset management software.

#2. Backup and disaster recovery

Digital data is the most valuable asset any modern business has, and growing security and privacy concerns have led regulatory bodies to place strict standards on how it’s governed and protected. Aside from being necessary from a compliance standpoint, backup and disaster recovery processes are crucial for the continued operation of your business. That’s why a critical part of your network assessment is to gain full visibility into your data. You need to know exactly where it resides, which controls are in place to protect it, and how it is currently backed up.

All important data should be backed up regularly, with the exact frequency depending on how much your business can afford to lose in the event of a disaster. Ideally, however, you should always have redundant systems stored in different locations with automatic rollovers and real-time protection to keep disruption to a minimum.

#3. User access and security

An IT assessment isn’t just about technology and digital assets. It’s also about people, since they’re responsible for operating your systems. To prevent information silos from cropping up between departments, your technology leaders must collaborate with the heads of other departments. This will help decision makers garner closer insights into how employees use their systems and what can be done to improve the experience. It will also provide greater visibility into user access and security.

Every user account should be included in your IT assessment, so you know exactly which channels employees use for sharing business data. Aside from local user accounts, such as the ones people use to log into your office machines, you should also incorporate any online accounts your employees use like collaboration networks and online storage solutions.

#4. Maintenance and upgrades

Maintenance and upgrades are a necessity for any computer system, but if they’re not planned for properly, they can cause serious disruption to your operations. Your assessment should include any maintenance schedules you currently have in place, as well as any planned system upgrades or additions to your infrastructure. This is largely a budget analysis, but it will also help you reduce downtime and, in the case of upgrades, avoid things like compatibility problems. You should also consider your current and future employment needs, since hiring new employees can have a direct impact on the bandwidth and capabilities of your existing computing infrastructure.

PC LAN Techs helps businesses overcome their technology headaches with an expertly managed and outsourced IT department. Call us today to find out how.

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