Poker "Tells" and Lessons in Network Assessment

January 18th, 2018 by admin

A good Texas Hold Em’ player is an expert at assessing risk and then calling, raising or folding based on the data they observe. Poker is all about information availability and analysis, but players must operate on limited information and assumptions. There’s no definite way to know what cards the competition holds. That’s what makes it a gamble. A poker expert makes an assessment by picking up on an opponent’s tells, the betting patterns and little unconscious movements that give away their hand. Poker success comes in two forms: winning and taking home the pot, or learning from what went wrong to improve in future games. A good network assessment plays out a lot like a hand of poker — you don’t know what you don’t know until the cards are on the table.  The assessment will determine whether you have the right tools to be successful or need to adjust your plan of attack. In business, you should never gamble on what you don’t know.  A proper network assessment arms you with the precise data needed to ensure your technology aligns with your business goals. So what does a good network assessment look like?

Related: The Importance of a Network Assessment

Infrastructure Survey

The first step in a network assessment is to survey and inventory all the connected devices that comprise your infrastructure. Much like a poker player sizing up the other players at the table, this means compiling a list of every device operating in your network to determine which devices need replacement. It also identifies devices not operating at full capacity, or likewise being underutilized. Knowing as much as possible about all the players in the game is key before individual and group performance can be determined.   

Performance Assessment

Once your equipment gets lined out, the next step is to assess the network’s performance. This takes into account the configuration, bandwidth, response time, traffic, and any errors occurring within the network. In the same way a poker player looks for tells among other players, the performance assessment looks for performance tells in the network’s functionality. This can lead to recommendations about upgrades and identification of bottlenecks slowing down the network.    

Vulnerabilities and Security Protocols

Assessing the network’s security helps identify any vulnerabilities that should be shored up. You wouldn’t have a professional poker game in a casino that didn’t have extensive, well-functioning security. The same goes for your network. Hackers want to harvest your data and steal your money. The security assessment shines a light on all the places someone might exploit to gain access for nefarious purposes.

Documentation and Recommendations

Think of it like a poker player’s game strategy based on details about all the individual players at the table. A poker player takes into account each of their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and uses an understanding of their performance to decide how best to proceed. The assessment works the same way. By generating a detailed analysis of all the data from the assessment, the IT expert can then provide recommendations to address current problems, as well as a technology plan to support business growth. This means closing security gaps, fixing bottlenecks, recommending equipment upgrades, and building a complete strategy for achieving business goals.

Network Assessment Success

In poker, they say you either play the hand or play the man. Businesses operate best on controlled data that ensures peak performance. There’s no room for speculation. Unlike a poker tournament, at the end of the business day one player shouldn’t be holding all the chips. By streamlining your business systems using the insights of a true network assessment, you can become one of the best players at the table, and provide a greater level of service for your business and customers in the process!

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