Know Your Computer Network Before Hiring An IT Service Provider

Image of Computer Network Assessment ScanningDo You Know Your Computer Network? The often overlooked and sometimes taken for granted software and hardware that make things happen daily for your business or organization. The computers and laptops, servers and switches, firewalls, the power strip etc. How much of your computer network environment do you actually know?

First of all, it is a fact that the cost of doing business has made it a tough going for many small organizations. Therefore, as CEOs of small businesses and Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations are contemplating how to keep customers, employees and donors happy, a lot of offers are bound to be presented, all promising to save cost and provide I.T. nirvana.

For that reason, before you throw the doors open for service providers to come to your environment and start mucking around, it may be a good time to backup for a minute and take time to ask yourself these few questions:

Do you know what you have, in terms of computer network infrastructure?

  • Do you know your hardware and software?
    If the answer is no, maybe or not sure, start the documentation process now. You should know your network devices, operating systems and software programs.
  • Do you know the difference between a home router and an enterprise router?
    If you are using consumer brands like D-Link, Netgear, or Linksys routers to connect your commuter network devices, the answer is probably “No”.
    While such routers are great to connect home networks to the Internet, they are probably not the best option for most midsize businesses. Almost all of these types of routers do not have capabilities for enterprise grade management. Furthermore, they lack troubleshooting features, and for that reason, they have weak performance capabilities, reliability options, and above all, lack the protocols and modules required for most company networks.

Who’s Who in your organization’s Computer Network?

  • If you are already using a service provider, do you know who does what, where, when and how?
    Call them up and ask for a contact list of the following: telephone, data access, security, web site and email. While you are at it, ask them for copies of all your current service agreements, as well as a clear understanding of what level of service they provide—for example:
  • How long should it take for a response after you call?

What’s The Status of Your Computer Network Backup?

Data back-ups are among the most critical tasks your technology team should be performing.

  • Do you know if the data on the computer network is backed-up and how often?
  • What data backup hardware and software are used?
  • Is there verification after backup, and how often?
  • Where are the backups stored and who can retrieve back-ups?
  • If you have laptops, are they included?
  • What are the plans for data restore in case there is a failure?
  • When was the system last tested?

Access To Computer Network Login Credentials

  • Do you know the location of the passwords of your employees, as well as those for hardware and software?
  • Who has access to the passwords and is a record of the passwords.
  • Do you have the  San Francisco bug where only one person has access to all your passwords?

Computer Network Software And Hardware Licenses

  • Are you aware of the state and location of your configuration and installation disks for both software and hardware? If not, they need to be collected, indexed and stored in one area. You also need to have the product license keys and purchase information (date and place of purchase, price paid etc.) for
    every copy of software that’s running on your network.

These and more are the type of questions we ask when we do a computer network assessment.

If you need help discovering and documenting what is on your computer, in Round Rock, Texas and surrounding cities, contact us today at (512) 814-8044, or use this form.