Some say asset management began as the first wave of business PCs met with the economic downturn of the early 1980s. The result was downsized employees walking away with computers as souvenirs from their no-longer-existing jobs.
Whether that’s true or not, IT asset management has grown into an area of major importance for businesses. But that doesn’t mean IT asset management disasters don’t happen. Here are five cautionary tales regarding IT asset management.
Here was a company growing so fast that the IT staff had little choice but to let department heads deal with delivery of desktop computers. What could possibly go wrong? This: 75 new Dells arrived at once and were all hooked up and running happily. That was until the Windows XP automatic update, scheduled for noon on a weekday, started up on all 75 of the new Dells simultaneously. In other words, 75 machines were all downloading Service Pack 2 at the same time, bringing the LAN to its knees. A good, centralized IT asset management system could have scheduled software updates strategically as the desktops were entered into the system to avoid such a problem.
If your company is building a data center and it’s ready for placement of racks, cables, and other infrastructure, who better to have purchasing authority than a non-technical purchasing exec? This company’s purchasing exec waited too long before ordering the necessities for the data center, but decided to go ahead and pay a premium for overnight shipping. On a Friday. The data center construction site on Saturday morning was, of course, completely deserted except for the security guard. Plus it was raining. The result: a frantic series of calls by the security guard to anyone who might have a pallet jack to help rescue the IT equipment from the rain-soaked loading dock. Good IT asset management includes tracking of asset shipments by someone who understands that you can’t leave $300,000 worth of data center equipment out in the rain until someone shows up on Monday.
What do you do if you discover someone has hacked into your network and wrought havoc? If your network is wired, you’ll probably start going through firewall logs for clues. If you’re lucky, one of your IT team members will go ahead and run AirSnort. With this particular company, an open Linksys wireless access point was traced to the office of a senior executive who had decided to address his cord management issues by buying a wireless router and plugging it into his office’s secondary network port. While it may take a certain amount of diplomacy to make the importance of your company’s peripheral policy known to the corner office club, it’s necessary so your IT asset management strategy can protect company data from hackers.
You may pride yourself on working for a company that allows telecommuting. It keeps cars off the road! It saves on office rent! It brings viruses right to the office next time your telecommuter has to come in for a meeting! Nobody has to tell you what can happen when a telecommuter’s teenager plays on mom’s or dad’s computer after hours. While your company probably won’t implement a “smack upside the head” policy for such infractions, your IT asset management plan can include use of security technology that scans outside machines as soon as they connect to the company network. Machines that don’t meet criteria are quarantined until they can be proven safe.
When a company is moving to a new office, IT management demands that IT professionals stay on top of making sure all ports are wired to the appropriate drops in sufficient numbers to get everyone up and running ASAP after the move. But when the ops guy doesn’t let IT take a day to check out the drops, things happen. Bad things. In this case, a senior marketing person, misreading the blueprints, signed off with the contractor after a room that was supposed to get 40 data drops got none. Why? He thought the blueprints labeled that room “Research Library” instead of “Research Lab” and figured it didn’t need data drops. Walls were closed in, paint was applied, and all heck was unleashed once everything had to be done over.
The moral of these stories is that strong IT asset management is much more than just record keeping. When your IT asset management software is integrated into your IT service desk software, you save time and money. SAManage offers IT asset management that simplifies and automates many asset management tasks. Avoiding asset management disasters requires more than just good asset management software, but without the software, great IT asset management just isn’t possible for today’s businesses.