Building out a network assessment offering can be a challenge for managed services providers (MSPs). To quickly provide a snapshot of a client’s IT environment and generate a report could take hours pulling information from other sources and tools.
With a network assessment tool designed for the task, the work becomes much easier—but make sure you choose a tool with these six features that make network assessments an efficient process for you and your team:
1. Automated device inventory
This network assessment tool feature can automatically collect basic information about devices on the network and organize it, so it’s easy for you to find the information you need. Unlike a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that requires installing agents so you can monitor and collect information on devices, a network assessment tool doesn’t require agents. A network assessment tool can find devices that your RMM missed because agents haven’t been installed yet.
Another valuable network assessment tool feature is the ability to run in the background so your client’s or prospect’s operation isn’t disrupted.
2. Easily searchable data repository
The information collected by a network assessment can include a list of devices that are on the network, including different types of devices from different manufacturers. It can reveal vulnerabilities, including devices or operating systems that are past their end-of-support date.
It’s all valuable information for you to take into account during the assessment—if you can find it. Make sure the network assessment tool you use presents this data in a user-friendly and searchable way. Network assessment tools can also be valuable during troubleshooting, so the ability to quickly see all devices on the network and their status can save time and headaches.
3. Quick Security Scans
A network assessment tool can also quickly determine if devices on the network are in compliance with security policies. Automating this process for your team can allow you to run a scan anytime to keep up with constantly changing IT environments and rapidly advancing technology.
4. Compliance Scans
If your clients must comply with regulations governing their industry, look for a network assessment tool that can efficiently generate the information and reporting they need. For example:
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)—If you provide managed IT services to merchants that accept payment cards, it’s a smart move to choose an assessment tool that can scan to ensure the business’s network is PCI DSS-compliant. Make sure you work with an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV), which has successfully met all requirements to perform PCI data security scanning.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)—Healthcare providers and their business associates are required by law to perform a risk assessment to show they comply with HIPAA’s safeguards, including technology requirements. Network assessment tools are available that can automate the process and generate the required documentation.
- Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)—FISMA requires that government agencies implement and document an information security program. A network assessment tool can efficiently provide some of the vital information your client needs.
Regardless of whether you are using your network assessment tool to scan a prospect’s IT network, generate data for a quarterly business review, or update clients on necessary upgrades, you will need to generate a client-friendly and professional report.
Choose a network assessment tool that makes reporting easy and allows you to brand reports with your logo and company information.
6. Guidance and checklists
It may be helpful to choose a network assessment tool that provides your technicians with guidance on questions to ask during an assessment and checklists that help standardize your offering. Network assessment tools may also alert technicians to perform manual checks or inspections to supplement automated findings.
The Best Way to Assess a Network Assessment Tool: Try It
To properly evaluate network assessment features, you need to demo the tools. Leading network assessment tool providers offer trials so you can try their products firsthand and better gauge the value they’ll provide to your team and your clients. Click the links below to find trials from these vendors:
- SolarWinds Network Assessment with Network Configuration Manager: 30-day free trial
- RapidFire Tools Network Detective: 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee, no-risk purchase
- ITarian Network Assessment: access to a free network assessment tool
- Spiceworks Network Monitor: access to free network monitoring software