Just as a person needs regular health checkups to stay healthy and catch any illnesses early, your company’s IT system also needs regular IT infrastructure audits to maintain top performance and prevent problems.
An IT infrastructure audit tells you what’s going well, what you can improve, and where you might have a problem. It can be done by your internal team or by external experts, and it only takes a few weeks.
In this article, we explain why audits are so important, what an IT infrastructure audit looks like, and how to choose the best format for you. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to the R2i team of IT experts.
IT Infrastructure audits protect your business
Today’s businesses can’t function without IT. While IT used to be a cost center, it now contributes directly to the power and success of a company. It supports your goals and your growth.
Keeping your IT environment stable and healthy is essential to keeping your company running. If you want your company to be able to function every day of the year – as most businesses do – your IT infrastructure needs to be in good shape to support your projects.
One reason to do regular IT infrastructure audits is simply to save time and money by keeping your infrastructure up to date. At R2i, we have too often seen companies install IT infrastructure, plan to refresh it in five years, and then not update their infrastructure until then. Unfortunately, without evergreening, your IT infrastructure becomes so technologically behind that it can take significantly longer to update when you do get around to it. Refreshing your system could take eight to twelve months, instead of three. Allowing your infrastructure to become out of date also creates security risks, and increases your chances of an IT outage.
Without a stable and healthy IT environment, your company is likely to experience an IT outage eventually, either because of a security breach or an internal problem. Even a day of IT outage can lose a company thousands or millions of dollars, damage your reputation, and even lose you clients or cause a breach of contract. It’s a significant threat to your company, and the best way to prevent it is regular IT infrastructure audits.
But IT infrastructure audits do much more than examine your day-to-day IT environment for problems that may cause an IT outage. An audit doesn’t just show you current problems; it also provides suggestions to avoid future problems by making your IT infrastructure more functional now.
An IT infrastructure audit considers many aspects of IT that are often neglected when companies are busy keeping operations running. That might include verifying backups are successful, checking high availability, looking at your data management, and examining your disaster response plan and cyber resilience. An IT infrastructure audit even improves security at the infrastructure level. It also documents your IT environment, which most companies do not do thoroughly or often enough.
With something non-urgent like an IT infrastructure audit, it’s always hard for a company to find the time to prioritize it. The business world moves quickly, and it’s easy to be so busy reacting to IT problems that there is never time to step back and look at larger patterns.
We encourage you to take a more proactive approach to your IT infrastructure. At R2i, we recommend that you put your IT infrastructure audit high on your priority list and take the time to assess your infrastructure before something goes wrong. In most cases, an audit reveals “quick win” solutions that can improve your performance or security easily. These are simple solutions your IT team may never notice during their busy day-to-day rush. An IT infrastructure audit gives you a chance to step back and see the forest instead of the IT infrastructure trees.
How does an IT infrastructure audit work?
At R2i, we’ve done numerous IT infrastructure audits, or “health checks”, for companies large and small. Since we have a large team of multidisciplinary experts, we are able to do a complete audit, instead of simply considering one part of your infrastructure.
How an audit with R2i goes
- Ask questions. You’re the expert on your business. We begin every audit by interviewing our client to understand their environment. How many sites do you have? Do all of those sites have IT infrastructure, or are some distribution or manufacturing sites with minimal IT presence? What is your peak period of IT use?
- Install the tools. Once we have all the information we need about how your business works, we install specialized tools to measure your IT infrastructure’s capacity, availability, and more.
- Audit. We’ll monitor your IT infrastructure for as long as needed to get a clear picture of how your system works. Usually, this will take between one week and one month, depending on your work cycles. We always do the audit during your peak periods, whether that’s end of month, beginning of month, or a particular month during the year. Assessing your system during your peak period gives us a realistic picture of what IT infrastructure you use and need.
- Analyze and report. For one to two weeks, we analyze the audit data. Then we present a report to you. The report will explain what is going well and what isn’t, and we’ll suggest improvements that you could make.
- Choose improvements. The next step is up to you. You can choose which improvements are most important for your business right now based on your priorities and finances, and make a plan to complete them. If you choose so, R2i can seamlessly transition from auditing your business to addressing the problems as well through our managed IT services.
To set up an IT infrastructure audit with R2i, simply contact our expert team.
What could an IT infrastructure audit find?
One common issue that the R2i team finds when we audit our client’s IT infrastructure is an unbalanced allocation of IT resources. Many companies don’t realize how much CPU, data storage, or other resources they actually need and use. They may have too much of one resource – in that case, the audit reveals how they can save money by reducing the amount of that resource that they purchase and maintain. Or they may have too little of a resource – in that case, the audit reveals the issue, and when the company provides more of that resource, their IT performance improves.
Another common issue that an IT infrastructure audit can reveal is errors with your IT system backups. While most companies today do backup their IT systems, many do not verify that the backup was completed successfully. The backup may not be functional, or the backup may be successful but the proper environment is not in place to reinstate the backup after a disaster. An audit can check the entire process, and ensure that your backups are working and ready to implement in case of a disaster.
A third common problem is in data management. Many companies back up files but never sort through them, which can lead to a huge amount of data slowing down your system. At R2i, we often suggest that our clients manage their data and move some files to long-term retention to improve their IT performance.
These are just a few examples of problems or potential problems that an IT infrastructure audit can bring to light. Each company is unique, which is why it’s essential to examine your unique IT infrastructure.
Which IT infrastructure audit is right for my company?
Internal Audits: Know Yourself
Internal audits are highly recommended for any company with the IT staff to complete them. An internal audit gives your company more complete information on your own systems. Most IT teams will be able to audit their own infrastructure.
However, there are many advantages to regularly conducting external IT infrastructure audits as well.
External Audits: See the Big Picture
An external team of experts, like the R2i team, often notices issues or patterns that your own internal IT team may miss. That’s simply because outsiders bring a new and larger perspective to a company.
At R2i, for example, we conduct dozens of IT infrastructure audits a year. That means our experts have seen the IT infrastructure of many companies similar to yours. They know what other companies are doing differently and what works in your industry, and they’re able to suggest IT infrastructure solutions that your own IT team may not have considered or not be aware of. External experts can ensure best practices are in place for your security, availability, performance, upgradability, and more.
Because of the broader expertise of an external team, many large companies choose external IT infrastructure audits even if the company has hundreds of their own IT experts on staff. An outsider simply sees a bigger picture.
For most companies, we recommend a combination of internal and external audits to keep your IT infrastructure optimized and running smoothly.
Choose a multidisciplinary team with broad expertise
If you choose to do an external IT infrastructure audit, who should you hire to do it?
At R2i, we know the importance of looking at the entire picture of your IT infrastructure. Your system is made up of many different parts: hardware, software, and possibly the cloud. An audit that examines only one aspect will overlook potential problems in other areas.
The R2i team is large and multidisciplinary, so we have experts who are specialized in every part of your IT infrastructure. We can assess the entire system and the way it interacts, giving you a more holistic audit with more valuable insight.
This is especially important as more and more companies migrate to the cloud. Cloud infrastructure is just as important as traditional IT infrastructure in today’s companies, so it’s essential to choose an audit provider like R2i with expertise in cloud systems. An audit is no longer sufficient if it only considers on-site IT infrastructure. It must examine the whole picture.
R2i is also agnostic for manufacturers, brands, and vendors. Whatever your technology, we can audit it. We suggest the best IT infrastructure solutions for you without bias towards one brand or another. For example, we often provide advice to companies that wish to move to the cloud and want to choose the best IaaS provider.
Our multidisciplinary and agnostic expertise gives you the most objective and complete audit analysis, so you see the best solutions to any potential problems. On top of that, R2i is more than an IT infrastructure audit provider. We won’t provide an analysis and leave you to solve the problems on your own. As a complete IT solutions provider, R2i offers pre-audit services, audits, solution implementation, and ongoing support afterwards, if you so choose. We provide bilingual French and English services across Canada.
If you are interested in working with R2i on an IT infrastructure audit at your company, or if you have any questions about audits or our process, please reach out to our team. Our IT infrastructure audit experts are here to help you make sure your IT infrastructure is stable, healthy, and successfully supporting your business goals and growth.