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Learn How the Network Works

Once you're satisfied with the physical network, you need to ensure that you fully understand how the network functions:

  • What protocols does it use? Are you employing any protocols that aren't required for your operations?

  • Identify all legacy applications that may require specialty protocols. Talk to developers.

  • What server and network operating systems run on your servers? If you have multiple operating systems, how do they access each other? How will these systems talk to systems in the future?

  • What applications are being used on your servers and by whom? What does the application workflow look like? What are the dependencies? What are the mission-critical applications? What applications could cause financial harm to your company if they're not working properly? What applications require 24x7 attention?

  • How does your network interface with the Internet? Do you use a firewall or proxy server? If so, are there any unnecessary holes in your firewall or proxy server? Are the network-protection devices providing the protection everyone thinks they provide? Scan the network with KANE Analyst or another security tool, read the logs, and ask yourself: Where is the network vulnerable—what is important?

  • Is there an automated backup program? Is it actually working? Are the right files getting backed up? Is the program creating logs? When was the last practice restore accomplished? Did it work? Beyond backup, what is the overall disaster-recovery plan? Are tapes stored off-site? Is the recovery plan documented?

  • Check for a functioning antivirus program. Do the servers have antivirus software? How does it get updated? Is there a separate email antivirus program? Does your company use a gateway?

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