How Software Audits Can Improve Security and Efficiency

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How Software Audits Can Improve Security and Efficiency

Can you name every program your organization uses to operate your enterprise?

These days, just about any organization requires a wide variety of tools to get the job done. Project management, accounting, image editing, word processing, file conversion and the list goes on. There is a different software program designed for each task.  Most organizations can’t name every program they have running in the background on their PCs, let alone everything that’s installed. 

But installing tons of programs isn’t the same as having a drawer full of tools at home. If computer programs are just lying around waiting to be used, it can become a problem. Among other issues this causes, it’s difficult to keep a large number of programs updated—and out-of-date programs leave potential backdoors for hackers. 

According to a 2019 report by Avast, 55% of all programs installed on PCs are out of date. You read that right! That’s more than half of all programs in the world that could be used by bad actors trying to get their hands on data, even if the most recent versions of these programs are secure. In your own business, this could mean more than half of your programs are making you vulnerable.

“The more software you have, the more difficult it is to stay on top of it all and secure it properly,” said Justin Ekstein, a solution engineer with Prime Secured. “It’s much easier if everything you do is on one platform and you’re able to easily standardize everything and lock it down.” But, of course, a single platform may not be able to meet every need you have.

Justin Ekstein

How can you determine the best configuration of software for your company—whether some or all of it is in one platform or it’s just a series of separate programs? And how do you figure out which programs are necessary and which ones you might be able to do without?  How do you determine if you have the best hardware to support the software you’re running?

Fortunately, there’s an answer to these questions. You can request a software audit—a service offered by managed services providers such as Prime Securedto find  exactly what programs you have in your network and determine exactly what you need.

What is a Software Audit?

A software audit uses industry best practices to analyze and create a secure, coordinated, sustainable plan for every piece of software in your business network. By looking into the details of your network, it can help determine whether everything is up-to-date and how all the pieces (both software and hardware) work together. From there, an MSP can figure out which programs to standardize, to make it easier for employees to work with each other and avoid both logistical and technical problems. Conducting a software audit can even suggest unique ways to increase efficiency or lock down security.

At Prime Secured, we leverage our years of experience to quickly identify what’s necessary, what’s not, and what’s normal or not normal. We also provide recommendations based on what we’ve seen in other industries and situations with other clients, to provide guidance and best practices. Coming into your organization with an objective view can help identify problems and opportunities your own staff might not catch because they are so used to working with the system. A third-party audit from an MSP can not only make your network more secure but, in the end, also may improve your organization’s public-facing image and increase competitiveness. 

Protect Your Network

One of the most potentially damaging problems to happen if you have numerous programs scattered across different devices, is an inability to determine just what’s updated and what’s not, and that means you have a network full of potential security holes. A countless number of hackers across the globe are working daily to find ways to worm their way into networks everywhere through old versions of popular programs. 

Web-facing programs are common these days, and it’s these programs that present the biggest threat. Responsible software companies continually test applications to find security leaks before they can be used by malicious actors, but the updates offered by these companies to patch holes won’t do you any good when your program is out of date.  

You can’t leave it up to employees to update their own software. Most don’t think about the version of a particular program they’re using. After all, they have a job to do, and these types of security updates often have no bearing on the way they use the programs. Nevertheless, when they continue to use out-of-date programs, they may be unnecessarily exposing your network to threats.

“It’s very common for attackers to take advantage of outofdate or mismanaged software,” Ekstein explains. “Attackers are always finding new and creative ways of getting into networks. They take advantage of all sorts of security holes in the software packages you use.” 
 
Even when things are up to date, there are other risks a software audit can help mitigate. 
 
“Mismanagement is a big problem for some organizations, judging from the issues we’ve seen,” Ekstein said. “A lot of popular software is not being used in the most secure fashion. There are a lot of controls that must be configured the right way to keep a company secure. 

Whether it’s making sure the programs you’re using are necessary and up to date or configuring those programs correctly so they’re as secure as possible, a software audit can be just the thing to help you avoid exposing your company to unnecessary risk. 

Use a Software Audit to Make Your Process — and Collaboration — Smoother

Your employees have diverse backgrounds. As a result, they might have learned different ways of doing the same tasks. In addition to that challenge, using different programs to work with the same files can cause trouble when they need to collaborate. 
 
The same file opened on two different pieces of software can result in documents that have major differences between them. Constantly moving a file between programs that reads a document differently can destroy a lot of hard work, and your employees may find themselves having to make the same changes over and over to correct what was lost in the transition. Other times, they may find themselves unable to open the file at all with their preferred program, and they may have to download something else that allows them to work with it.

A software audit can get this under control and save you and your employees time, money and frustration by standardizing the tools they use to do their jobs. When you all use the same tools, you’ll be better equipped to collaborate.

Use a Software Audit to Take Control of the Way Your Organization Operates

Ultimately, a software audit provides something that’s often hard to achieve for businesses and organizations: peace of mind about potential threats to their networks. Do you feel as though you don’t have a good view of the programs your organization is using and whether that software is being kept up to date? It may be time to consider a software audit to improve security and make your work more efficient. 
 
In the world of cybersecurity, a lot can change in a short time. For that reason, we recommend annual software audits to keep your business secure. Regular check-ups make the process easier and less expensive and keep your business wellprotected against evolving threats. 
 
Prime Secured is an experienced provider with the knowledge necessary to help you tighten up your software management plan and keep your systems secure. Visit us as at Prime Secured and take control of the way your organization works. 

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