Project Description

How often is your MSP auditing your environment?

While many of us might cringe at the idea of an audit, the process of regular inspections and reviews is essential for quality control. In the managed services world, regular audits are your assurance of a finely tuned IT environment.

The term ‘audit’ is drawn from the financial world, but is also applicable in the delivery of managed services. In fact, at CodeBlue we audit on a constant basis, tracking essential metrics like device warranties, software licensing usage, software patch / version status, employee account access, and quite a few other items. Auditing underpins our ability to meet Service Level Agreements. It also enables us to keep every client’s environment secure, efficient, and cost-optimised.

This is one of the key value-adds delivered by a competent Managed Services Provider (MSP). Our value proposition boils down to ‘we do the IT so you don’t have to’. When we take charge, we want to be sure every dollar you spend with us, delivers value.

Matt, Systems Owner

The rate of change

But even if we nail that on day 1, by day 2 things could be ever so slightly out of kilter. Someone may have joined your firm, someone may have left, a software update might be issued, a laptop might go to laptop heaven. In the IT world, things change constantly. That change is both external and internal. It could be big things like a merger or a natural disaster, and (it routinely is) small things like patches and Microsoft Office updates. Combined, the rate of change is ferocious: by day 30, your environment might be completely different to what it was at the start of the month.

This goes to the heart of why we constantly monitor and audit. We capture masses of information, using it to identify and pass on savings by:

  • turning off things that nobody is using (but you’re still paying for).
  • maintaining an appropriate security posture.
  • keeping everything running smoothly.

Typical issues found

Our constant audits find a lot of licensing issues, plenty of accounts that aren’t used (e.g. ex-employees’), or people employed but never started. Of course there are the constant rolling patches and updates, across the many software packages used in every organisation. In more detail:

  • We track workstation/server warranties using automated reporting and ticketing tools.
  • We use an auditing tool that looks at various aspects of your Microsoft 365 licensing and builds reports in PowerBI.
  • We use the same tools to find unused accounts, then confirm which can be cleaned up. This delivers licensing savings and improves security.

· Patching is a challenge. So we use multiple procedures and checks, so devices are updated. Our tools automatically scan devices and identify missing patches. This includes tracking firewall and other networking firmware upgrades, as well as SSL Certificates and domains.

The information you need, not data you don’t want

Now, most customers don’t need an overwhelming supply of highly detailed data. You’ve left the IT to the specialists for a reason. We keep and analyse the data generated by your environment, via our specialist monitoring tools. We’ll report back on an agreed schedule e.g. bi-monthly or quarterly. These reports contain as much (or as little) detail as you want, and are compared against our Service Level Agreement with you. It’s the ‘track and trace’ element of the MSP arrangement, so you’re assured of the value added by looking after your environment.

From reactive to proactive management

Consistent auditing means we catch issues before they become problems. Our relationships with vendors like Microsoft and others, ensure we are across their patch / update schedules. Simply put, auditing is an essential tool which helps us do our job better. Your IT is always reliable, always available, and always secure. And we have the paper trail to prove it!