One missed user. One open port. One wrong security setting. There are a thousand details driving your complex computer network, and it only takes one small setting to create one big security or maintenance problem.

Anyone who has been responsible for maintaining a computer network knows what I’m talking about. But if you’re not a computer or network expert, and have been fortunate enough not to have personally experienced a computer disaster, consider yourself fortunate.

Whenever I meet someone new, just for conversation, I’ll often ask them to tell me about their worst computer moment. And, the odd thing is, EVERYBODY has one! Somebody’s hard drive crashed, someone’s laptop fell out of their bag, someone’s PC got infected by a worm that wiped out their hard drive, someone’ email was deleted.

Then there are the more serious situations. Someone’s former employee stole important customer and prospect data, someone’s bookkeeper embezzled company funds, some hacker penetrated the company’s ecommerce site and grabbed a ton of credit card numbers, somebody’s web site was taken down by a denial of service attack.

The truth is that no system is fool-proof or accident proof. Even if you take every precaution and do everything you can to maintain and safeguard your system, something could go wrong. But the likelihood of things like this happening drop dramatically when you take pro-active steps to prevent them.

That’s why we always recommend that everyone perform a quick and relatively painless network assessment at least on a quarterly basis. There are tools available that can scan your network in just 10-20 minutes, and then produce a consolidated report that identifies risk factors that need to be looked at.

We use the Network Detective to perform these assessments on all of our clients. What do you use?