Taking inventory of the hardware and software in your company is a worthwhile investment of time and effort.
Technology is a significant investment for most companies and a vital tool for business success. As IT teams are asked to do more with less, it's critical to know what assets are already in place.
This can be a tedious process, but the time and effort does have an Return on Investment (ROI). This process provides several opportunities: To get rid of unneeded items, to spot security risks, and to find new ways to use or repurpose existing equipment.
Your asset inventory should include:
- Network and communications infrastructure
- Mobile devices
- Cloud assets
This process also allows you to prioritize these assets. Some elements of the inventory will be more important than others, and that's where the time and effort of the IT team should be directed..
Manage software licenses
Another part of this process is managing your company's software licenses, a tedious but important task. Getting a handle on software licenses will make it easier to ensure compliance. You also may be able to reduce costs by identifying duplicate services or products that no one uses any longer.
Reducing the threat surface
Mapping your inventory is the first step toward securing it. If you don't have an accurate list of the equipment in your office, it's impossible to protect it.
Creating a thorough list of equipment will help IT teams spot outdated equipment that can't be patched or updated. Conducting an inventory also provides a head start on a security review.
Once an IT team has an up-to-date map of all active equipment, it's easier to map connections among that equipment and conduct a review of permissions on and access to these devices.
Hardware lifecycle management
The lifespan of a piece of hardware has several phases:
Understanding and managing this lifecycle can help IT teams extend the life of hardware and maximize the initial investment. Other potential benefits are lower total cost of ownership, fewer emergencies, and better overall control of IT infrastructure.
Having a comprehensive inventory of IT hardware and software is the first step in managing this lifecycle.
Asset management is a process, not a project. By starting with a comprehensive inventory, you'll have a solid foundation for this important task on the IT to-do list.