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Why network asset management might be crucial for your business

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For many organisations the compute infrastructure can be complicated and inefficient.

One of the main contributors to this complexity, and the leading factors toward inefficiency, is uncontrolled infrastructure spread.

It’s hard to comprehend that all these devices and software stacks are a singular collaborative unit as the types and management solutions for them fight for resources.

Imagine trying to manage all the devices within the Range International Information Group’s data centre.

Based in Langfang, this goliath facility is 6.3 million square feet – equivalent to 110 football fields.

The larger the scale and proliferation to the edge the more problems that emerge.

If data centre managers don’t have an understanding of what is happening in the network, applications will start to lag and acquire security problems, due to old versions of firmware and resulting non-compliance issues.

If the network is not properly scrutinised, operating costs will soar from these multiplying inefficiencies.

IT staff will always be held accountable for every piece of software and device running on the network – wherever it is located.

Explaining and exploring IT asset management

Data centre managers who don’t attain a deep level of operational awareness encounter problems with their facilities as they don’t have visibility or the metrics to see what’s happening and why.

However, managers sharp enough to install a technology asset management (TAM) system will avoid such hardware and software problems as it can collect detailed information in real-time.

With the data collected, these managers have a single source of truth which covers the entire network which manages security, software licensing and compliance.

A global survey of TAM adoption and use delivered by Sapio Research, demonstrated how IT managers are struggling with not only identifying everything on the network, but also updates, audits and C-Suite expectations.

It found that out of 1,500 technology asset decision makers in organisations employing over 1,000 people, almost all of them (96%) view hardware and software asset control as a top-five priority in their business.

Nevertheless, nearly one third (31%) of those businesses were still trying to manually track their assets because of budget constraints – stopping these organisations having accurate visibility.

Of those surveyed, only 45 per cent said that their assets are validated daily, this dropped to 30 per cent regarding weekly validation of assets.

The spectrum of commitment poses a direct question: What are IT staff actually tracking?

The survey revealed that 62 per cent are doing this for desktops and laptops too.

C-Suite respondents believed that assets are being scanned hourly (27%) or daily (35%). However, at manager level there is less confidence as 8 per cent presume asset scanning of the network is taking place hourly, and 28 per cent think it’s happening daily.

When asked about their vendor software audit worries, 34 per cent of the C-Suite is concerned, in comparison to 19 per cent of Vice Presidents/ Senior Vice Presidents, 20 per cent of Directors and 14 per cent of managers.

The IT security percentages were as expected as they ascended above the 50 per cent mark, on average 67 per cent have the latest security software and firmware patches.

When the numbers descend below 50 per cent regarding audit trails for security patch management, 49 per cent of respondents said they have a solution that validates all devices, but 48 per cent said that they do not go out of their way to proactively manage devices.

A standout revelation from the Global Technology Asset Management survey was that a massive 78 per cent of respondents claimed that up to 20 per cent of their assets remain undetected from network scans.

Of course the fact that 67 per cent of individuals claim to use the latest security software is good, it is crucial to also consider the fact that a third of assets remain in a state of risk.

These assets are visible to IT and not inclusive of the total asset inventory. The risks from licensing, vulnerability and cyber hygiene are all still present.

Conclusion

It is evident that there is high understanding of TAM, but the adoption needs to be increased across the IT spectrum for larger organisations.

The growth within organisations often runs parallel to a loss of control over technology assets.

Taking back control no longer requires spreadsheets, keeping a watch on paperwork or counting off assets with a clipboard.

It is possible to exacerbate a false sense of network protection when the notion of proper security and compliance adherence varies from the C-Suite and different individuals across the organisation.

This creates an urgency for obtaining true network visibility.

Achieving visibility and transparency can be found in modern solutions that allow the sharing of data across business systems such as ERP, IT infrastructure library (ITIL), data centre infrastructure management (DCIM), IT service management (ITSM), configuration management database (CMDB) and others.

Utilising a TAM solution to automate the process by linking assets, locations and device usage with these systems for a single view at the whole edifice will reduce hundreds of hours of inventory, audit and compliance activity.

This will give the IT staff more time to focus on delivering business value and innovation.