In this Article:
A word from the General Manager, Scott Jones on why businesses need to audit their technology:
Savvy business owners and managers know that they can get better productivity from their staff if their IT is designed to deliver that productivity.
But the technology landscape is constantly changing, and businesses grow and change. What you bought just a few years ago for your business could now be the very thing that is holding it back from bigger and better achievements.
Human Resources are getting more expensive all the time; meanwhile most technology gets cheaper over time. So you see, it makes little sense to hire great staff and then lumber them with technology that hinders their ability to give you maximum return from their time. And yet this is what we see businesses doing all the time, especially those that have high growth and have not found the time to sit and plan their IT properly.
Productivity is only one reason for an audit. Security is another big reason due to the sheer number of ways that your business can be affected by subversive threats.
Commercial espionage is on the rise (competitors stealing your business information). Information leaks can be devestating. Spyware & Viruses can cause widespread outages or allow hackers back door access to secretly control your network in order to send spam or conduct further hacking attempts on other networks. The simple encryption on many wireless devices can be cracked by a high school student in less than 60 seconds. Staff can attempt to get other staff fired (or worse) by sending emails as them or conducting damaging or risky activities while logged on as another person. Every year the types and nature of these threats change.
If you think security is not an issue for your business, it's either in the 0.03% minority, or else you are not well informed. There are many other risks that technology brings. Individually they are not hard to manage, but until you take the time to analyse them ,how do you know if these risks are being managed?
The reasons to conduct an audit include:
- Get an analysis of the security and safety of your network. Look for flaws when compared to industry best practice.
- Ensuring that servers are properly configured for both efficiency and security (many servers are not simply because the people that set them up didn't know how to do it properly . There is NO IT INDUSTRY QUALIFICATION required to call yourself an "Expert Server Installer", and thus most IT people are far from expert. )
- Looking for any hardware or software specific productivity drains.
- Obtain an asset listing of all hardware (useful for depreciation schedules and equipment lifespan planning) .
- Looking for causes of frequent problems.
- Ensure backup systems are adequate, monitored, tested regulary (I'll say TESTED REGULARLY again to let that sink in.)
- Ensure Security measures are adequate for viruses, spyware, Internet perimeter intrusion detection & prevention (firewall), data security, passwords, encryption etc etc.
- Check if your business has the correct software licencing or is unwittingly participating in software piracy and risking big fines from the BSAA.
Some basic maths...
Even if you just look only at the predictable costs of not having a well-tuned network, and ignore all the other essential points above, you'll see what we're driving at with an Audit. Do the maths on some very conservative productivity losses from a business with 40 staff:
- Let's assume that inadequate or poorly maintained technology is wasting each staff member only 5 minutes per day in avoidable slow boot times, slow program response times, and the occasional bug or crash. In most cases it is much higher than 5 minutes, but lets be very conservative.
- Assume also that once a year there is one avoidable security incident like a virus outbreak or hacking breach, or widespread trojan that is sending out spam, or some other avoidable failure with one of your central IT resources that affects everyone. Let's say that this results in 4 hours of widespread downtime. Again, very conservative figures.
- Calculations: (5 mins per day x 5 days per week x 43 work weeks in the year x 40 staff) + (240 mins x 40 staff) = 52,600 minutes..
That's over 876 hours of wasted time over the year.
Or 116 wasted days, which is likely to be worth anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000 at your COST price, not taking into consideration lost opportunities etc. At BEST that's tens of thousands of dollars straight off your profit.
It makes spending a bit of money on an audit and some remdial maintenance positively the cheapest possible action you could take.
If you are bringing your business onto one of our DRIVE IT Management Plans, you will shortly be getting the benefit of the most advanced systems available for health-monitoring, diagnosis, repair and strategic reporting of computer business networks.
In order to have this technology work correctly and report back to us with reliable information, your infrastructure must be configured according to correct hardware and software specifications.
On a broader scale, our DRIVE clients have tasked us with managing and maintaining their networks efficiently. It is not possible to manage a network for great efficiency if the network has been neglected and already has lots of problems. In order to "maintain" a standard, one must first establish the standard. This Audit compares and contrasts industry standard architecture against your current network architecture.
In short, we are looking for business risks and productivity holes, and will recommend actions to fix these issues before they cost your business any further losses.
The audit is realistic and sensitive to budgets. It will be apparent which issues are major business risks, versus which are recommended but not a business threat.
The audit is a snapshot of the effectiveness of your network and a list of any issues that are contributing unnecessarily to either productivity problems or business safety issues.
For each area examined, we list any recommendations to bring your IT environment up to a standard that can be managed and maintained correctly.
The areas covered can include
- Hardware asset listing (for your accounting/budgeting and equipment lifecycle planning) (optional)
- Operating System versions and security/bug/service pack patching
- Software Installed on all machines listing (optional)
- Analysis of Environmental conditions for equipment including heat and power protection
- Network design analysis and network diagram (can improve performance and support response times with your IT provider)
- Report on appropriateness of hardware in all PC-based equipment (and how that impacts performance)
- Report on server hardware appropriateness, performance, levels of redundancy (and any associated risks)
- Analysis of Microsoft Server configuration (and any areas not done properly and if/why they are important)
- Security Analysis on multiple levels (as previously detailed)
- Backup systems hardware, software, data sets, disaster readiness and risks
In some cases, a lot of work is required to bring a network up to standard, in other cases only a few things need to be done.
In each area we identify for you which recommendations are critical business safety or efficiency issues, versus which recommendations are important, but not critical. This may help with budgeting for the remedial maintenance, however we recommend that ALL issues are addressed as nothing in the audit is superfluous.
Ultimately, a network owner's attention to the areas covered by this Audit is the difference between a business whose IT drives greater productivity for them, and a business whose IT wastes countless hours of their staff time each year, and is exposed to significant unseen but very apparent business threats.
"If you think hiring a professional is expensive,
try hiring an amateur."
Red Adair, American oil well Fire Fighter
There are three types of audits, each with a different price. Price does not include any remedial maintenance recommended in the report.
1. Complete Audit
- Suitable for all businesses
- Covers everything dicussed above and issues found are prioritised based on threat level and productivity impact.
- $1490 ex GST for up to 50 users and 3 servers. ($400 discount for clients that then engage us for a Service Agreement)
- Multi-site businesses and complex server environments typically add $400 per site, plus expenses but please contact us for a quote.
- Organisations over 50 users should also contact us for a quote.
- Optional Software Audit for an additional $390 per site; this reports on key installed software to enable you to compare it to known licence quantities.
- We have expertise in Hyper-V, VMWare, Clustered Servers, SANs and private cloud configurations and can conduct custom audits according to your needs.
- We also have expert Cisco staff on team (CCIE, CCNA) to conduct custom networking audits.
2. Mini Audit
- Suitable for businesses with less than 20 staff.
- Focus is more heavily on:
- Age & effectiveness of IT equipment,
- Where and how is Hardware or software causing productivity issues
- Business safety & security essentials.
- $590 ex GST
3. Specialist Security Audit
- This audit provides and analysis and report on all aspects of network security and data safety.
- The resulting report will compare latest best practice methodologies and systems against those currently implemented in your organisation.
- Issues are prioritised according to their threat level to your organisation.
- Very minimal detail on workstations, hardware specs, productivity issues, software, or network design
- Recommended for organisations with specific security needs and in high risk industries
- $2900 inc GST. typically, but please contact us for a quote.
** We can perform these audits anywhere in Australia, but additional travel charges may apply if we do not have the required role or an office in your local area.