Modern businesses are dealing with an ever-growing inventory of IT assets as workspaces today are powered by a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and more.
Keeping these IT assets properly cataloged and organized is crucial for streamlined IT operations. Although the task of managing these hundreds or thousands of devices, access points, and software licenses may seem laborious, automated IT asset discovery simplifies this process and helps to keep an updated and centralized database of IT assets.
What is IT asset discovery?
IT asset discovery is the process of scanning, organizing, and managing all IT assets in your organization. A dedicated ITAM solution comes equipped with advanced IT asset discovery capabilities to help you build an exhaustive database and a real-time picture of your technology landscape.
It strengthens your cybersecurity measures and empowers your IT teams to make smarter business decisions. With a comprehensive view of how IT assets are being utilized across your organization, you can take measures to ensure streamlined business operations and eliminate unplanned downtime.
Without accurate IT asset discovery, you can run into problems such as unauthorized devices, non-compliant software, and undetected malware in your workplace devices. These challenges can further lead to:
- Faulty endpoint management
- Under or overused assets
- Inaccurate procurement forecasting
- Delayed delivery of services
- Data breaches and other cybersecurity risks
ITAM software can offer multiple ways to automatically capture information on every software and hardware asset, access point, and any other network fragment in your organization. It especially benefits your business if you have a remote or hybrid workforce or a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture.
Here are the main types of assets that can be detected by IT asset discovery tools:
1. Hardware IT assets
Servers, PCs, laptops, and mobile phones can be detected by IT asset discovery configurations. An efficient ITAM tool records the purchase date, vendor and warranty information, installed software, usage, and maintenance history of all these devices. Discovery for assets like servers, cables, and other peripherals can be easily streamlined with barcodes or RFID tags while laptops and mobile phones can be detected by software agents installed in them.
These pre-configured agents send data back to the IT team at short intervals. Most of the hardware IT assets are assigned to specific users so the provisioned user details can also be stored and updated.
2. Software IT assets
IT asset discovery for software consists of the repository of all cloud and on-premise software tools being used across your organization. If your ITAM software is coupled with powerful asset discovery sources, then you will be able to scan every software and its version details, license information, and usage data.
By running this information against the software asset’s contract agreement, you can figure out whether the software is properly licensed and the user is compliant with the vendor agreement. A few integrations also allow you to extract data on cloud applications and SaaS assets.
3. Network assets
Network assets are a crucial part of an IT environment. These assets include access points, printers, firewalls, routers, and switches, etc. These assets are the hardest to track as you cannot download and install a discovery source in them. When these assets are not maintained properly, they can lead to network breakdown, disrupting or halting the IT operations.
Top-of-the-line ITAM software comes with discovery features that automatically scan both the network components and the traffic between them. You also get granular information on these network assets, their configurations, and usage.
IT asset discovery sources
Below, we list some key integrations with IT asset discovery tools that are necessary for centralized IT asset management.
1. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
To discover and manage Windows devices, MacBooks, and Linux devices, you can integrate your ITAM software with Microsoft’s discovery tool SCCM. This integration will leverage SCCM’s scan capabilities to help you discover IT assets and update their data through regular syncs. By using SCCM for IT asset discovery, you get real-time information on software tools being used on the device, license keys and IDs, and other data on the device.
Jamf integration with your IT asset management tool enables you to detect and manage iOS and macOS devices present in your IT environment. By fetching this IT asset data, you can see who last logged onto a device, its warranty information, and the security measures on the device. Jamf helps you save time and manual effort by mass importing assets data from your Apple devices to the ITAM database.
3. Microsoft Intune
Microsoft Intune is also a leading mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) platform with extensive IT asset discovery features. Using Intune to discover your assets increases your IT governance with respect to security, features, and other settings. Its integration with an ITAM tool helps you discover Android devices and Windows laptops.
4. Google Mobile Device Management
For Android and Chrome devices, Google MDM acts as a reliable IT asset discovery source. You can integrate your ITAM software with Google to find undetected assets in your environment and add them to your database.
5. ITAM Agent
If you are using a robust ITAM tool across your organization, chances are that it comes with its own agent for IT asset discovery. This agent is usually deployed across the network on all devices but it detects new off-premise devices as well. An ITAM agent helps you update and track your devices and fetches details from MacBooks, Windows, and Linux devices.
6. Network Discovery
Intelligent ITAM tools come with a network discovery feature to help you build a complete inventory of your IT infrastructure. It detects all network cloud and hardware components including firewalls, routers, and servers, etc. Along with discovering, scanning, and mapping network connections and access points, it automatically updates the relevant data in real-time.
Benefits of IT asset discovery
IT asset discovery not only helps you create an inventory repository but it also optimizes your IT and business operations in various ways. Some of its crucial benefits are:
The use of unauthorized and non-compliant software can lead to failed external audits and hefty penalties. With software IT asset discovery, you can take a proactive approach towards software licensing and compliance by keeping track of all the authorized and unauthorized software applications that are being used in your organization. With regular syncs happening through asset discovery, you can get regular updates on software compliance status.
Constant adoption of new technology comes with its own set of security risks. The widespread adoption of BYOD policy and remote work means that a lot of these security threats go undetected.
With IT asset discovery, these assets also become a part of the organization’s IT infrastructure and are periodically and thoroughly scanned for any hidden malware before it causes any damage to the network infrastructure. Furthermore, having a 360-degree view of your infrastructure also helps you identify security loose ends and you can use this information to perform effective patch management.
3. Automated centralized database
If your ITAM software is integrated with multiple asset discovery sources, it completely eliminates the process of manual tagging and instead, you can detect the assets via the mass deployment of a discovery agent.
Once deployed, all the asset information will automatically be uploaded to a centralized database in your ITAM solution. This data is critical for processes like procurement, maintenance, compliance, and reporting. With all the crucial assets information already stored in your ITAM database, you can be ready for malfunctions and unexpected troubleshoot problems.
4. Automated syncs
An ITAM solution with extensive features not only allows you to detect assets through multiple discovery sources but also enables you to automate regular syncs so you can add any new assets in the IT landscape and update the data of already existing assets.
These periodic syncs also act as a preventive measure for any foreseeable anomaly or security risk. Automated syncs are also useful for cleaning up any redundant data on retired assets to reduce data clutter.
5. Insightful reporting and analytics
As the discovery sources are automatically updating asset information all the time, you can see a significant improvement in reporting and analytics. You can create custom reports per your requirement without having to wait for data to be updated. From audit reports to asset usage reports, you can derive meaningful information and assets trends and make timely and informed strategic decisions.
AssetSonar is the leading hardware asset management software that supports multiple IT asset discovery sources to ensure a seamless, centralized IT asset management experience. Sign up today for a free 15-day trial.