With the sun setting later and the warmer weather moving in, many Nashville businesses are diving into some good old-fashioned spring cleaning. From boxing up old files to reorganizing the supply shelves, clearing things out can help everyone at your organization feel a little freer and breathe a little easier. We suggest using this time as an opportunity to clean your network as well.
Based on our extensive experience managing IT networks for a wide variety of companies and industries in Nashville, here are some things to keep in mind as you ensure your network is spick and span:
1. Update Old Hardware & Software
If you’re using a system with products that have been deemed “End-of-Life” (EOL), it’s time for an update. EOL products are no longer supported by the vendor and can become easy targets for hackers. Also, wear and tear on hardware can create faulty switches, routers and firewalls. These need to be tested to see if they should be replaced. For hardware that is older but still in good working condition, take this time to check on warranties that might have expired or are set to expire soon so they can be extended or replaced.
If you’re using a system with products that have been deemed “End-of-Life” (EOL), it’s time for an update.
2. Revise the Active User Directory
Businesses that use servers with individual login accounts commonly have problems with outdated active user directories. This information can become dated for a few reasons, such as if someone leaves the company but their account remains active, or if a new computer is added but the old one isn’t removed. While your first instinct might be to simply delete old accounts, doing so could open a can of worms. There is always a chance that a particular account might hold the only copies of critical files, data or programs for the network or business. Consider first marking an account as “disabled” for a little while. Then, if you find that account contains something essential, you’ll have the opportunity to reactivate it and retrieve your data. Once you’re satisfied the account is no longer needed, remove it.
3. Maintain Client Access Licenses
Cleaning your directory also helps keep you within your server’s client access license (CAL) agreement. When your server was initially purchased, your company had to purchase a CAL for each user account that would connect to the server. If a former employee’s account is not marked disabled before a new account is created for their replacement, you could exceed the number of licenses purchased, which could lead to fines.
Disabling old accounts in the directory limits access to your network and maintains your legal compliance.
4. Limit Remote Access
Most company networks allow for remote access, but that access is not always consistently regulated. If an employee leaves the company but their remote access isn’t disabled, they can still login from anywhere. While cleaning the active user database, look at your remote access accounts, policies, passwords and how users are authenticated. Updating remote access protocols can substantially mitigate risk.
5. Remove Unused Software
Unused software programs take up server space and can interfere with other, more essential programs. Take the time to audit your server and remove outdated platforms so there is no unnecessary competition for network resources.
6. Modify the Group Policy
The group policy setting can control user accounts, workstations, programs and more. If your group policy is configured with instructions pointing to resources that no longer exist (like the programs you just removed from your system), your reboot time will be slowed down. Adjust your group policy configurations to remove meaningless processes and make your network more efficient.
7. Manage File and Folder Shares
Employees move to different positions and locations within companies all the time. And those moves may mean an employee is granted access to or restricted from accessing certain materials. Make sure you know who has the rights to view and edit shared files and folders on your network. Then update permissions as necessary to validate and improve the security of your network.
8. Strengthen Passwords
Almost every business has Wi-Fi. But how secure is your company’s password? Nobody enjoys remembering complicated passwords, but if it’s something as easy as your company name or your telephone number, you’ve made your network one step closer to being hacked. And don’t use the same password for everything in your business. We’ve had people tell us that their Wi-Fi password is the same as what they use to access secure company files.
Cleaning your network does no good if it’s easy for hackers to enter and wreak havoc.
Like cleaning up your office space, keeping your network in top shape isn’t hard; it just requires dedication to get it done. While you’re motivated and on your spring-cleaning spree, take this opportunity to ensure your business’s network is secure and efficient.
Not sure where to get started? Request a network assessment.