Tech Dictionary: Discovery Network Assessment (DNA)

A wise IT consultant once said the only perfectly secure computer system in the world is the one that isn’t turned on. That may be true, but for those of us who need to use computers to get their work done (which includes pretty much everyone), security is sacrificed for productivity.

On the other hand, security can’t simply be ignored, since a security breach can lead to far bigger problems than a temporary loss in productivity.

Here is the first in a series of Tech Dictionary posts on the Pacific Coast Informer Blog outlining some of the terminology CEOs and managers need to keep on top of their IT department and computer systems.

Discovery Network Assessment (DNA): A packaged service that provides a report including an inventory and topology of your network to help your organization understand the state of your IT environment, how it is connected and what kinds of security improvements may be required.   

In plain English, a DNA is the first step for organizations that want to defend their information from both outside attacks to their computer network, or to block inadvertent or deliberate sabotage by staff with access to those systems.

Organizational changes and normal staff turnover can lead to a loss of institutional awareness about the building blocks of your network and prompt some nervous questions.

For instance, what exactly is this tangled nest of cables connected to? Aren’t we supposed to be patching this software regularly? Why are we giving server-room access to the guy who delivers the pastries every Monday? And who knows how to delete the access to all these databases from those people we had to let go last month?

A Discovery Network Assessment gives you the basic information you need about your network to start asking questions and take the next steps in protecting your organization.