How to Conduct an Internal IT Assessment


Written by

David McBride

Published on

Technology operates as the backbone of business operations, but just like our physical health needs checkups, your IT infrastructure requires regular assessments to maintain optimal performance and to identify potential issues. 

Conducting an internal IT assessment can reveal hidden vulnerabilities and potential inefficiencies and help identify where upgrades are needed. Additionally, it can help businesses identify where employees are spending their time and whether they need to outsource IT management to enhance business performance. 

The following is an overview of how an internal IT assessment helps businesses gain clarity. 

Infrastructure and Performance

Keeping your business running optimally requires fast-working workstations, up-to-date hardware, and limited IT issues. When companies don’t prioritize managing their hardware and wait for technology to break, the health of the business (not just the technology) is at risk. 

Assessing the efficiency of your business’s technology helps identify where employees are wasting time waiting for the technology to work. Additionally, by identifying outdated hardware and software, your business can avoid increased security risks and broken hardware that lead to decreased business performance. 

While you don’t always have to have the cutting edge, companies should implement regular hardware upgrades and routine updates to software and security. 

How long does it take to start your workstation?

Ideally, employees should not wait longer than 1-2 minutes for their workstations to start. If workstations take over 5 minutes to start, there might be a more significant issue at hand. Not to mention the lost productivity. 

How old is your oldest server?

Always having the newest, shiniest technology isn’t necessary. Like all technology, performance degrades over time. While it’s usually indistinguishable from one day to the next, if you measure from year to year, you’d be surprised how much it degrades. Businesses must replace servers every three to five years to prevent significant performance and reliability issues.

When are software and system updates/security patches applied?

IT professionals should apply software updates and security patches on a regular, frequent schedule after release. If you are uncertain about the timing of these updates and patches, or if they are being installed at all, it could indicate that you’re not sufficiently in tune with your IT management responsibilities.

What is your strategy for handling increased data storage needs?

If your company uses scalable data storage, then it is likely set up for long-term success. However, if it lacks adequate data storage and/or has no plan to increase storage as your business grows, its data safety faces significant challenges going forward.


It is paramount for businesses to manage their approach to cybersecurity and business data protection correctly. The threat of cybercrime is increasing each year, with the reported number of ransomware attacks doubling between 2021 and 2023, according to a report by Astra.

Dispelling one of the most dangerous myths surrounding cybersecurity, it’s crucial to understand that effective cybersecurity encompasses more than just technological solutions. The human element plays a pivotal role in cybersecurity measures. Companies must prioritize providing comprehensive and consistent training to employees on cybersecurity best practices to uphold the safety and compliance of their business operations.In addition to proper training, implementing multi-factor authentication methods, promptly relaying security notifications to IT staff, and conducting regular dark web scans are indispensable strategies for businesses aiming to proactively combat cyber threats and stay ahead of cybercriminals.

Who are security alerts sent to in your company?

Security alerts must be sent directly to the IT security team. If security alerts are sent and no one receives or responds, your company’s data and security are at a heightened risk of attack. Additionally, this team should know how to respond immediately and effectively to prevent extensive damage or risk exposure.

What multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods are you using?

MFA is a daily necessity in today’s cybersecurity landscape. However, some MFA options are better than others. Companies should rely on biometric and app-based codes over email and text codes for MFA.

Do you provide regular cybersecurity training for employees?

Employees who aren’t up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity training pose significant risks to your business data. Ensuring that all employees have some level of cybersecurity training is a must. 

When was the last dark web scan you completed?

Scanning the dark web for company data is a critical element of complete data security for your business. Consistent scanning is the best way to achieve this. Yet, if your company has never scanned the dark web, it might be vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Data Management and Protection

Maintaining proper cybersecurity protocols isn’t the only way to protect your company’s data. Some of the most important ways of keeping your business data safe rely on disaster recovery plans and maintaining data backups. 

Establishing a disaster recovery plan in case of a system failure is vital for businesses to keep their data safe. That way, when disaster strikes, your company has a formal process that lists steps to protect and recover company data with little or no disruption to the business or its customers. 

What is your disaster recovery plan in case of system failures or data loss?

If your company doesn’t have a disaster recovery plan, it needs to. Without a plan to recover lost data, your business could face significant setbacks and high costs if disaster strikes. 

Do you encrypt sensitive data both in transit and at rest?

Companies should always encrypt sensitive data. Without encryption, cyberattacks on sensitive data become easier and more likely, posing high risks for your company. 

Are you prepared for data loss due to natural disasters or accidents?

Similar to system failures and data loss, if a natural disaster strikes and your company doesn’t have tested plans to protect and recover data, it faces significant security risks and high costs if data is permanently lost. 

How frequently are your data backup systems tested?

Ideally, backup systems are tested monthly to ensure they remain functional and safe. If your business never tests its backup systems, you face potential data loss if backup systems fail. 

Remote Work and Device Management

Remote work adds additional layers of complexity to an ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. If your company relies on employees working on any remote devices, ensuring the safety of those devices and proper security measures are being followed is needed to remain at peak safety. 

Remote workers who use unmanaged personal devices without guidelines pose the most significant risk to company security. Remote workers should work on a company-issued device with protective measures such as VPNs, strict management policies, and adequate data security software to protect the device and its contents. 

How do you ensure remote workstations and data are secure?

With VPNs and regular security audits, remote workstations can operate at peak safety, allowing employees to work where they need to. But, without these security measures in place, your company data can be at risk from employees who work remotely on unknown networks. 

How would you recover lost or stolen hardware and protect/recover the data?

Companies must have a tested plan in place to recover lost data from stolen or lost hardware. As remote work increases, the security precautions surrounding it must also increase. Without a plan, your company faces significant security risks if a device is lost or stolen. 

Are your remote workers using company-issued devices?

The safest route for business data and security is to have employees working on company-issued devices. If employees are working on personal devices, it increases security risks and makes data protection very difficult.

Do you have policies in place for managing personal device use for work purposes?

Without guidelines and policies for using personal devices, companies put their data in harm’s way and face increased cybersecurity risks. To avoid this, companies need comprehensive policies that limit personal device use for work. 

Compliance and Policies 

If your company works in or with a compliance-heavy industry, then you know how important it is to meet those requirements. If your technology lacks the needed compliance, you risk your business being shut down or facing heavy fines. 

Many businesses don’t fully understand how to know if their IT systems meet specific requirements and compliances, much less the compliances of third-party applications. Ensuring that third-party applications meet the regulations needed for your industry is paramount and requires frequent audits and assessments. 

How well do you comply with industry IT compliance standards?

Being fully compliant and regularly reviewing compliances is a must for companies working in high-compliance industries. Failure to meet all compliances can result in significant costs, potential fines, and loss of trust. 

Do you assess the cybersecurity posture of third-party vendors?

All third-party vendors and applications must be thoroughly vetted for cybersecurity purposes. If your company doesn’t check on the safety of third-party vendors, it puts the business at high risk for data breaches and cyberattacks.

How do you enforce security policies and guidelines?

Enforcing security policies can be difficult. However, if your business refuses to implement guidelines, the company can fall short of compliance and increase its vulnerability to cybercrime. 

How frequently do you conduct internal audits to ensure IT compliance and policy adherence?

Businesses need to conduct internal audits quarterly to ensure that IT compliance and policy adherence are up to date. If audits are conducted more sparsely or never at all, the business is likely not meeting all compliance standards. 

Conducting Regular IT Assessments

Regularly evaluating the health and safety of your IT infrastructure is crucial in increasing profitability and improving employee and client satisfaction. Businesses can also rely on outsourced IT help, such as a Managed Service Provider, to comprehensively cover their IT needs. The right MSP partner for your company will deliver peace of mind and free up employee time by taking over the management of your IT health and security. Additionally, working with an MSP is a cost-effective solution to ensure your IT team and infrastructure are up-to-date and compliant.