Without adequate IT hardware asset management, companies face all sorts of troubles, including licensing issues, purchasing problems (over or under purchasing hardware), trouble keeping software updated, issues with outdated hardware malfunctioning, and a plethora of security issues.
Asset management is an ongoing process, and asset managers should focus on improvements, not ultimate perfection. The larger the organization, the more challenging and time-consuming asset management becomes. A mobile workforce and BYOD policies add additional challenges to asset management, but a well-run management system, backed by robust asset management software, can make this job easier and more efficient.
Physical Asset Checks
It isn’t necessary to visually check every piece of equipment all the time; it is sufficient to stroll around and put your eyes on a set percentage of your hardware assets per month or per quarter. In small- to mid-size organizations, visually checking about 20 percent of assets per month or per quarter is sufficient. In larger organizations, it may only be possible to eyeball about 10 percent per period. Random checks are a good way to verify that the rest of your asset management system is working properly.
Lifecycle Asset Checks
The help desk regularly works with most or all of your users, and is a good place to conduct hardware asset checks. Have your help desk verify hardware through your ordinary ITSM processes. Workers should check and log what department the hardware is in, hardware specs, and other pertinent information during the ticket resolution process. Check these logs against your other asset data sets to identify weaknesses.
Comparing Inventory to Other Information
Finally, compare the data in your IT hardware inventory list or asset register with the data in your Active Directory, SCCM, or other inventory tools. There are often reasons for hardware being listed in one data set but not another, but each of these exceptions should be explained satisfactorily and should be well documented. Some ITAM tools feature ways to identify and reconcile discrepancies in IT asset management processes, so be sure your ITSM software includes these features.
Keeping Accurate Inventory
When reconciling data to compile a complete asset register, notate the total number of devices, total number of exceptions (why an asset is in one data set but not another), the number of assets audited (through visual checks or via the help desk during ticket resolution), and how many devices are missing. This gives you a basis for accurate asset verification and lets you know if your asset tracking tools are working as planned. Antivirus software scans, network scans, and comparing your SCCM with MAP can also help nail down missing or incomplete inventories.
About Chris Walls
Read more articles by Chris