Understanding IT asset control – Tracking IT assets

11 Oct 2016 | ITAM

In a previous article we looked at the issues surrounding IT asset discovery and inventory. Here, we are presuming that you have managed to address these and are now want to look at better controlling, managing and tracking IT assets.

The major issue here is around processes, so this is what we be looking at in this article. Basically, the issue is tracking IT assets throughout their entire lifecycle – from the cradle to the grave. In particular, most problems usually occur at either the start or end of the lifecycle for both the assets themselves as well as users.

IT asset authorization

If we start by focussing on the IT assets, the first thing to consider is how new assets are initially authorized. Because of the difficulties of configuration and installation on a corporate network, authorization of new hardware tends to be well controlled. However, software is a different matter. With your users now familiar with the idea of app stores like iTunes and Google play, their capability to download and install unauthorized software on corporate devices is now greatly increased.

This immediately opens your organization up to all sorts of problems. From the dangers of security breaches through unpatched software, to being non-compliant when an audit occurs, the impact of these outcomes could be costly.

Rather than try and fight these new app stores, it is better to embrace the technology and look to implement a corporate app store that will enable users to get the software they need quickly, but with the correct authorization, all under the control of IT.

Corporate app stores enable license reharvesting

Such an approach will also deliver benefits for the installation of the software. Rather than being a time consuming inconvenience for IT teams, software installation will become automatic without any user or IT intervention needed.

One area where much money is wasted is on unused licenses. For example, a user may change his job within the organization or, the project for which he originally required the software may be ended, but the software will still be sat on their device – using up a license.

You need to be able to identify such unused software and remove it based on published policies (e.g. automatically removed after 90 days non-use or request removal after 30 days non-use). This re-harvesting of licenses will enable you to maximize cost savings by reducing the need to buy additional incenses in the future.

Again this process can be automated, typically within the corporate app store such as AssetStudio App-Centre, but also some ITAM/SAM solutions will have this functionality built-in and so the process can be incorporated as part of your overall SAM plan.

Automated, process-driven SAM – tracking IT assets becomes easy!

Your users need to be aware of the policies and procedures that surround the request of new IT assets and their subsequent retirement. But, you also need to be aware of exactly what users exist on your corporate network. Non-existent starters and sudden leavers create all sorts of problems with regard to hardware and software lying unused across the organization. All of which costs you money.

So, you can see that controlling your IT assets is very much based around implementing the proper processes for both the assets and users. If these processes are backed up by the right software tools like app stores and software distribution it will be possible to implement automated, process-driven SAM based on pre-defined policies. Making everyone’s (users and IT) lives easier and saving your company money through having an optimized IT infrastructure.

If you would like to talk to us about how to achieve this nirvana, please get in touch.