One of the major challenges faced by today’s IT organization is to adapt to the changing needs of customers and technology along with maintaining the stability of existing services in the face of disruption and risks. In order to tackle this situation, visibility of IT Infra components has become a pre-requisite, in the absence of which an organization can be subjected to risks like business loss and unsatisfactory customer service. In order to avoid such situations, ample knowledge of IT Asset Discovery best practices is the need of the hour. This article will help you gain further insight into the best asset discovery tools and how they work.
What is IT discovery?
The process of identifying and collecting data within a network on existing IT components typically involves carrying out a sweep across the network using IT tools which helps in discovering all the IT assets within a specified environment which includes software, hardware, cloud components, smart devices and others.
Some of the information that can be gathered in the process of discovery is as follows:
- Device type and Device name
- Configuration of the device: Hardware/ Software
- Device status and its capacity
Why do we need IT discovery?
One of the major reasons is that it helps in taking a snapshot of the IT Infra components and their environment and their current state. This information can further be used to support other ITSM practices such as:
- Asset and Configuration management
IT asset management tools can identify and unearth information of the devices that are using unlicensed software, or the ones that are incorrectly configured. Apart from this, it will also unearth discrepancies e.g., devices that are not in use, lost or out of service.
- Change management
The information provided by IT discovery can be leveraged by the technical teams for managing devices. This can span replacements needs, software license renewal and device back-up details. It helps in preventing unplanned incidents while identifying dependencies.
- Information security
IT asset management software can be used in mobile device management in places like identifying and managing BYOD situations to mitigate risk situations.
It also possesses key capabilities used for identifying access points during enumerating a network for purposes of penetrating testing.
- Disaster recovery
Disaster recovery is one of the major areas where Software Asset Management Tools play a major role, right after a disruption that might require an organization to restore its services in a different IT environment. IT discovery can help in rebuilding the IT services from scratch.
What is a good IT asset discovery tool? Why is it important?
One of the major functions of a discovery tool is that it minimizes blind spots. An appropriate one will give you 100 per cent visibility of all IT assets. It helps you in finding all the devices that are connected to your systems even when you are not aware of them. Right from laptops, PC’s and servers, it will detect everything connected to and within your IT Infra. Apart from this, other platforms such as Linux, UNIX servers can also be detected and aptly managed.
Below mentioned are some of the reasons why IT asset discovery tools are important:
- IT asset discovery tools regularly check the authenticity of software licenses and hence prevent any possible penalties.
- It helps in understanding the network architecture. It will help technical teams in gaining visibility on all the information of the installed assets license status etc.
- Today a lot of organizations are working with the BYOD concept which makes room for unauthorized access to several devices. An IT asset discovery tool will scan such connected devices.
- Unlicensed software is one of the primary ways for malware to enter into the system and IT asset discovery tools will help increase the level of security and detect any unlicensed software modules.
Key attributes of good IT asset discovery tools
If you are wondering what the key attributes of a good discovery tool are, well then please continue reading below to learn more about them.
- Location scope
It also depends on the number of locations you are managing, some tools will be perfectly fine on a single domain network while others will struggle to support multi-national operations.
- Discovery frequency
Some of them create significant network traffic and overheads which means organizations are reluctant to run them regularly.
Benefits of Using Asset Discovery Tools
There are a plethora of benefits that one can obtain from using such tools and some of them are mentioned below:
- Reduce time spent on manual inventorying of IT assets
In an organization with thousands of employees, it is recommended to automate all processes because such big organizations will have a massive amount of IT assets on their networks and inventorying all of them will take a up a lot of time.
- Streamline IT asset acquisition
In an organization where there is a single database that includes all of the information about the IT assets of the company, decision making about future acquisitions becomes easier and saves a lot of time. IT discovery tools will help in saving a lot of money in the long run.
- Generate better reports
Always choose IT asset discovery tools as they will include all the valuable information in their IT reports. There are various types of reports such as audit before network upgrades and Internal Incidents report.
Handling IT assets manually gives rise to a lot of errors and hence automating the process can save a lot of your time. By automating the entire IT asset discovery process, enterprise can save, time money and effort.