Company mergers and acquisitions are financial processes designed to improve the financial outlook of one or more companies.

There are many different elements involved, and many mergers and acquisitions end up being unsuccessful, because the parties involved did not look at all the different angles.

You need to learn more about company mergers and acquisitions if you are to be successful in your operations, therefore. One of the areas that you need to be particularly careful about is IT security.

IT security audits

If you are considering merging with another company, it is vital that you perform a full security audit and assessment on the other company’s IT infrastructure first. Some of the things you need to look into in particular include:

1. Whether or not the company’s IT infrastructure is already infected with worms, Trojans, spyware, viruses or other malware. You must check all the PCs, as well as the server network itself. If you merge your IT system and their system already has malware on them, your own system will also get infected.

Even if you don’t merge your full IT server system, you may end up spreading the infections through network sharing drives, ftp and email. Additionally, they could be found on USB thumb drives, hard disks, CDs, DVDs and other items that personal carries with them.

2. Whether the other company has a good firewall in place. A firewall offers more capacity expansion and flexibility within the entire design of the network.

If the business requires having internet facing servers, which is likely to be the case, a firewall will make it possible to create separate network servers on which the internet facing servers are housed. At the same time, it will ensure network security is maintained.

3. Make sure that there are no existing network weak points. Look for things like a modem that connects to PCs and servers. This is an easy way for hackers to get into the network.

4. Check simple measures like network encryption, whether the servers have any unnecessary services running, whether the right people are able to access critical data, what software is included and whether it has viruses on, and so on.

Is there a security policy in place?

You need to also have words with the IT management team about what the current IT security state is within the company and what their security policies are.

Do also ask for a more detailed proposal, particularly if you need to reconfigure or add servers, change applications or equipment and more in order to provide better support for the business itself once merged.

These are the minimal things that you must do in terms of a security assessment. This should be an integral part of you setting up an IT strategy that is necessary when you merge a company.

Naturally, there are many other things that you should do and look into, particularly after the audit has been completed. You may want to enlist the services of an IT consultant to look into these elements and advise on next steps.