Local Area Network (LAN) is a shared network of communication lines that constitutes of a number of computer and peripheral devices within a specific geographical area. The number of users may range from a group of three people to a few hundred while the geographical area can range from a small house to a multistorey building. This shared network is quite dynamic in nature. It can grow, shrink and evolve according to changes made by users. Administrators and users often add, remove and replace both hardware and software for achieving maximum efficiency in processes.

However, sometimes, such changes leave the network prone to network issues, cyber-attacks and data loss. In addition, hardware and software changes also impact the network performance. And therefore, regular network audits or LAN audits are needed. Before getting into the benefits of LAN audits for improved network performance and security, it is better to understand how LAN audits work.

LAN Audits: Process

A LAN audit is a detailed analysis of both hardware and software system for finding and resolving any type for physical or virtual issues. The overall audit process follows a 3-step methodology i.e. Discover, Analyse, Report. A typical network can take anywhere from 4 hrs to a maximum of 8 hrs depending on the variety and abundance of hardware used in a network. However, through automated discovery methods, the process is finished relatively fast.

In conjunction with human intervention, automated tools such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP),trace connections via Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) and Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) tables and send reports on responding devices. The findings of the analysis are further used for creating physicaland logical diagrams of the networktopology that also includes routing and cabling.

Here’s a detailed overview of a network audit process.

Discover Analyse Report
Site Visit and Installation of Discovery Tool Understandthe Current Capacity Prioritise Key Findings
Automated Discovery via SNMP and/or ICMP Identify Vulnerable Services Present a Detailed Layer
Equipment Inspection and Documentation Identify Single Points of Failure Present Network Device Information
Gather Equipment Statistics Identify Security Issues Illustrate Areasof Issue
Examine Connectivity and/or Cabling Understand the Flow of Various Applications Recommendations
Draw conclusions

LAN audit is a fairly detailed process that boosts network performance in many ways. Here’s how you can improve network performance and security through LAN audits.

  1. Uncover the Scope of Improvement –
    A complex IT infrastructure requires regular audits so that the organisation can identify the areas where you can improve. It can be related to the devices and software that you use, or it can be about the processes that you already follow. Getting a bird’s eye view on such aspects will allow a business to find the issues that are causing inefficiency and work on the sames.
  2. Replace Outdated Hardware for Long-Term Benefits –
    IT infrastructure in many organisations often suffer from obsolete hardware that slows down systems along with the entire network. Even simple hardware replacement can result into sped-up processes that add value to the overall productivity. Such changes seem an added expenditure,but these upgrades go a long way and benefit the organisation in the long-term.
  3. Enhanced Securityand Periodic Data Backup –
    Data breach or data loss can cause a lot of troubles for an organisation and LAN audits can help prevent that. Network audits also push for periodic data backup, so in the case of a possible data breach or data loss, the organisation can easily recover important data without disrupting its operations.Since network audits thoroughly scan the whole system, they also point out the potential weakpoints in the network security that can result into a potential data breach. In addition, network audit service providers also offer managed security services that help you evaluate your overall network security and improve with the help of additional tools and services.

Why empower ICT – empower ICT offers LAN auditing or network auditing solutions for managing your company’s LAN. Apart from regular audits, we also monitor your LAN 24/7 and produce a comprehensive report based on its performance status, faults, and changes. Audit and managed security services from empower ICT helps you understand your entire network infrastructure including security vulnerabilities.

Conclusion:Network audit has become a necessity, regardless of the size of an organisation. This is because it’s important to find, analyse and rectify the flaws in your IT infrastructure for a smooth work flow and maximum productivity. And not to mention, network audit service providers that offer end-to-end solutions along with managed Network security services are a better choice as they can help you identify and improve security issues that’ll again benefit your organisation in the long run.