A key stage in implementing a software asset management (SAM) program is discovering the hardware and software assets you have in your organization. Without an IT Asset Management (ITAM) discovery tool producing an accurate and comprehensive inventory, the results of your subsequent SAM-based activities will be severely restricted and incomplete.
5 Key Attributes of a Good ITAM Discovery Tool
There are many discovery tools in the ITAM market place that claim to be a ‘silver bullet’. There is no silver bullet, but you need to understand what the important functions you are likely to need are. To help with this we have outlined what to look for in a good ITAM discovery tool.
- Native integration with 3rd party platforms – having confidence in your data is crucial, the ability to cross check and validate the data that you have pulled from a wide number of sources will provide just that. By taking multiple feeds, via connectors, it provides an easy way to identify what’s ‘missing’ and give you confidence that you are tracking everything. These connectors should work out-of-the-box so that you can install, configure and deploy the tool to large and complex environments with minimal impact on resources. The connectors that different organizations require varies so below are some examples of the key ones to look for:
- Microsoft Active Directory
- Hyper V
- Amazon Web Services
- Native network discovery – The ability to perform comprehensive network discovery to identify ALL network attached devices, including everything from desktop PCs through to network printers and switches is crucial. This means using a number of different protocols to efficiently scan the network to locate all of these devices and collect as much information as possible about them without the need to have an agent installed. The information collected as part of the discovery is a vital stage, providing the check and balance of what is active and inactive on the network against the information collected through the various connectors.
- Native Deployment – There should be no reliance on 3rd party software for the collection of inventory from client devices (Agent or Agentless). The success and efficiency of the deployment is often directly linked to the connectors and network discovery. All of the required information to successfully target a client device is already collected through the connectors and network discovery so the most efficient method of deployment can be utilised. All operating system platforms need to be targeted: (Windows, Mac, UNIX, Linux, etc.)
- Reporting and alerts – Knowing the ‘coverage’ of the inventory across the whole estate is crucial for the success and measurement of any SAM solution. Reports should encompass the information from all data sources to provide a clear and concise view of the whole organization. Tracking changes over time through ‘Trend’ reports provides the added value of being able to easily track the progress of any ITAM and SAM projects.
- Auto-Client Inventory – Newly discovered systems should be automatically targeted based on a user defined set of criteria to ensure that all active devices submit a full hardware and software inventory through either agent or agentless technologies.
Current & Future ITAM Tools in Your Business
You could already be using an ITAM tool in your business, but to ensure you are getting the most and accurate information it is important to consider what you should be receiving from the list above, compared to what you are currently. If there is clearly something missing, it could be time to update to a good ITAM discovery tool.
If you are uncertain as to whether your current ITAM tool offers this level of functionality, get in touch with Certero today.