Your strategy for managing your network and everything connected to it plays a key role in your digital transformation efforts. Every technology deployment should enable your business.
A reactive strategy to addressing business needs means IT teams end up with a ton of technology to manage and a lack of transparency as to what it's actually supporting. Worst-case scenario, you're buying software or services you're no longer using or duplicating efforts. It's akin to letting your basement get so cluttered that it becomes a monumental task to organize it.
Cost-effective network management demands a good spring cleaning in the form of a comprehensive audit. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) describes three phases for an IT audit: planning, fieldwork and documentation, and reporting and follow-up. The first phase consists of five key steps.
The first step determines the subject of your audit, the second step defines the objective, and the third step sets the scope. The third step is critical because you must understand the IT environment and all its components to best identify the resources to do an evaluation. From there, you can do some pre-audit planning, such as identifying regulatory compliance requirements, conducting a risk assessment and allocating any resources required. The fifth and final step is to determine audit procedures and steps for data gathering.
Determining the subject of an audit can help you begin what can be a big cleanup by picking a corner to start with. There are many subject areas that are ripe for an audit in most enterprises:
- Security: It's easy to fall into the trap of adding more platforms rather than optimizing what you have. You should have only one product per category—one firewall technology, for example. A best-of-breed approach is fine, too, if you pick a single solution that best meets your requirements.
- Vendors and contracts: Although a single provider is unlikely to meet all your needs, leveraging flexible services and rationalizing vendors within categories can reduce costs. It can streamline contract management and hopefully deepens the relationships you have with suppliers, so they can become productive partnerships for solving business problems.
- User licenses: Whether it's on-premises software or SaaS, it's easy to accumulate seats for software you're not using. While you want some headroom to accommodate growth, the costs of unused software licenses can add up.
- Hardware and asset inventory: Could you be consolidating applications and data on a smaller number of servers? Do you need to maintain backups on-site rather than in a cloud solution? Do you run multiple, discrete networks for various lines of business or use cases, or can you leverage the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) better?
If you conduct your IT audit as part of your digital transformation efforts, one of your goals should be to understand how your time should be spent. Time is money, and given that IT never seems to have enough of it, don't ignore the possibilities that can open up by engaging with third-party network services.
Learn how Verizon's managed network services can help manage day-to-day tasks and keep your network secure and agile.