Thought Leadership

6 Questions to Ask in an IT Assessment

Questions to Ask in an IT Assessment

(January 29, 2024) Almost every organization struggles with technology to some degree. However, small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) face specific challenges. Chief among them is the lack of in-house IT resources. Few SMEs have the in-house expertise to assess the performance, reliability, and security of their IT assets, and struggle to maximize the value of their technology investments.

All too often, there’s a tendency to minimize the importance of IT when systems are up and running and users can access the network. However, this reactive approach inevitably leads to larger problems that impact operations.

That’s why best-in-class managed services providers (MSPs) conduct regular assessments of their customers’ IT environments. Typically, they perform these assessments before they begin providing services and at regular intervals throughout the relationship. Assessments enable them to identify and remediate any issues to minimize the risk of downtime and data loss. The process also helps them chart a technology lifecycle that enables SMEs to plan and budget technology expenditures more effectively.

Managed services assessments generally address the following questions.

Are all systems and applications up to date?

Outdated hardware and software represent significant threats to the stability and security of the IT environment. If hardware is no longer supported by the manufacturer, organizations face the risk of extended downtime in the event of a failure. End-of-life software no longer receives patches and updates, leaving it vulnerable to security threats. The MSP will identify outdated systems and develop a plan and budget for the necessary upgrades.

Do systems have the performance and capacity to meet current and anticipated needs?

Underperforming systems sap productivity and frustrate users. Storage devices that are near capacity put the organization at risk of data loss. The MSP will analyze current and anticipated needs and recommend strategic upgrades to address performance and capacity issues. For budget-conscious customers, the MSP may be able to develop a plan for “cascading” undersized systems to users and workloads that require lower levels of performance.

Is critical data backed up regularly? Can it be recovered quickly if needed?

Data backup is an essential part of day-to-day IT operations, but it remains a headache for many organizations. The MSP will determine if data is being backed up and test the backups to ensure data can be recovered. Additionally, the MSP will consult with the customer to determine where critical data is stored and how much data loss the organization can tolerate. This analysis may drive upgrades to backup systems or adjustments to the organization’s backup and disaster recovery strategy.

Do security systems provide adequate protection against today’s threats?

It’s impossible to protect against every security threat. However, there is a baseline set of security controls and best practices that every organization should have in place. The MSP will evaluate the organization’s security systems to identify gaps and audit password policies, access permissions, training programs, and other protocols. The MSP may also recommend a vulnerability assessment to detect security defects and prioritize them based on the risk to the organization.

Is the organization compliant with government and industry regulations?

Organizations can face significant fines and penalties if they don’t comply with government and industry requirements for data privacy and security. Additionally, organizations must be prepared to demonstrate compliance if subjected to an audit. The MSP should be familiar with all regulations that apply to the organization’s industry and business practices. A thorough assessment will reveal any compliance gaps that should be addressed.

Is there any waste or potential cost savings in the IT environment?

Redundant and unused applications and underutilized cloud services are common areas of IT waste in many organizations. The MSP will review the organization’s application portfolio to identify software licenses and subscriptions that are no longer needed. Cloud services should also be reviewed for overprovisioning and waste. The MSP may determine that moving workloads to or from the cloud could save the organization money.

How Mainstream Can Help

The experts at Mainstream are here to help you evaluate your IT environment, identify gaps and pain points, and develop a plan for creating a more robust infrastructure. Let us help you enhance your operations and fully leverage technology to create competitive advantages.


Mainstream Technologies delivers a full range of technology services in Arkansas and the surrounding region including managed technology services and consulting, custom software development, and cybersecurity services. We also offer industry-leading data center services in our Little Rock facilities. Established in 1996, Mainstream has earned a reputation for delivering quality, reliable, and professional technology services for public and private-sector customers across the United States. 

Jeff Pracht
IT Business Development Manager
(479) 715-8629 Office
(501) 529-0008 Mobile

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