Managing network security requires pro-active care. A network administrator keeps the network running as intended, making sure the various parts of it work well together as a whole, and keep it up to date with all the current protections as patches come available. For companies not large enough to hire an in-house administrator, maintaining the health of the network requires outside help. If you are in the market for a Managed Service Provider to help you with regular network health checks, here is what you need to know:

How Often?

Ideally, network health checks should be done at least once a quarter. Vulnerabilities are being discovered with increased frequency, and so are the patches designed to protect those areas that have been discovered to be ripe for a malware attack or hacker invasion. Having a network health check on a quarterly basis might even be considered too conservative, but it is a good outer time limit to set.

What a Network Health Check Should Include

To successfully scan for vulnerabilities and execute all necessary patches, here are the elements of a comprehensive health check:

OS Update

If you are not keeping up with the latest OS updates, then you are keeping your network at great risk of being compromised. With each update comes improvements that prevent all sorts of possible exploits.

Malware Deep Scan

The antivirus scanner already at work, monitoring your network 24/7, is not impervious. There are some types of malware specifically designed to elude the very antivirus solution you are running. In the process of a network health check, it is important to run a different malware scanner, one that is able to catch what your antivirus software might miss.

Antivirus Software Updates

As mentioned above, some of the best antivirus protections can have blind spots. Malware developers are always innovating their products to escape detection. Therefore, antivirus developers also update their software regularly, to detect and prevent threats as they appear in the wild. Performing a network health check is a good time to update your antivirus software, and make sure you are running the current generation of it.

“Eyeballs on Hardware”

IT lifecycle management is a vital part of network maintenance. Ignoring the signs of device age means ignoring one of the main components to reduced system productivity. Production loss can be seen in both lack of network performance as well as increased maintenance time. It makes good sense to use the occasion of a network health check to replace devices that are approaching end of life limits.

Replace What is Outdated

Holding on to ageing hardware and software can mean reliance on out-of-date and unsupported equipment. It is not worth it to hang on to devices that have age-related performance and security issues because patches will no longer support the devices. Make sure you keep hardware current. Failing to do this puts your network a great risk of compromise.

Final Thoughts: Network Health Checks and Cost-Efficiency

Network support and defense is a large, ongoing investment for every business. One of the best ways to keep costs as low as possible is to invest in regular network health checks,  deep scans and patching, and be financially prepared to replace ageing devices in a timely manner. Do this, and your network will work optimally for your users, and it will defend your digital assets from attack.