Asset Management Intelligence; What You Don’t Know, Will Cost You

Have you ever made an inquiry about the status of a server or application to your IT staff and received a less than a comforting reply?  Clearly, this is not the zone you want to find yourself in. A lack of in-depth knowledge regarding what is connected, who has access and which software version is running on the network will lead to security breaches, unnecessarily high operating cost and vendors taking advantage of you.

Unfortunately, this scenario is commonplace. To help find an answer, Data Center Knowledge turns to Nlyte’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Gaydos, for some real-world advice to give to readers.

As originally posted in Data Center Knowledge, read below, how to arm your IT staff with the visibility needed to truly understand what is happening--anywhere--on the network.

Asset Management Intelligence; What you don’t know, will cost you.

“What do you know about your computing infrastructure?”

It’s a question that is often asked but seldom replied to in a sufficient manner by IT staff. In fact, most replies seem to contain the phrase, “we think.” When it comes to important questions on receiving information from directory services or contract sizes, “we think,” will not cut it. In order to properly answer these questions, IT needs the ability to gather data from a large host of assets and more importantly—consolidate and reconcile the data so it all makes sense for human resources, financial, legal and other stakeholders within the company that requires current information.

Collecting data is only the first step. Once the necessary data is in one system, asset intelligence can be leveraged to serve a number of vital needs. For example, achieving a greater understanding of a company’s vendors in order to negotiate with confidence. Asset intelligence uncovers all the hardware and software details to enable confidence, such as empowering a purchasing department to negotiate more favorable prices from contracted vendors.

Utilizing asset management intelligence is not only about vendor negotiations, but it also has many other practical applications because the data is always fresh—it’s the single-source-of-truth to an ever-changing inventory. Imagine having information on who is using what software, on what desktops and when the last patch was applied at your fingertips. For example, if there is a Microsoft fix or a big Intel patch for a CPU problem, how do you know how many systems actually received the patch?

Then there is attempting to control maintenance renewals. Do you know what you’re renewing or are you just signing a check? Applying asset management techniques, you can reconcile the necessary data and cross-reference it with contractual obligations to determine if a vendor is charging you too much.

The fact is: IT has become responsible for finding things nobody knows about and older, legacy asset management systems are of little use because they don’t have these advanced capabilities. Change management applications can help to an extent, but 3% to 4% of technology assets are fantom, which means, that nobody knows about them. Yet, they are still connected to and running on the network—change management applications will never see them.

Technology Asset Management Solutions provide the Single-Source-of-Truth

By contrast, today’s asset management solutions go far beyond change management capabilities. They offer granular information such as the ability to geo-locate a device, identify a subnet in prefixing and link it back to the core system. This is important because fresh data is now required by all parts of the organization; service management wants to know the configuration of the hardware in the operating systems; facilities need to know how many servers there are to properly power the racks, as well as the mergers & acquisitions that need data to know exactly what they're acquiring. IT managers who are savvy enough to deploy a technology asset management system (TAM) will have that single-source-of-truth to better manage security, compliance, and software licensing.

Additionally, a full understanding of the devices and configurations responsible for processing workloads across this diverse IT ecosystem will help applications run smoothly. IT managers need a TAM solution to remove many challenges that inhibit a deep dive into the full IT ecosystem because today, good infrastructure management is no longer only about the cabling and devices neatly stacked within the racks. Now, data center managers need to grasp how a fractured infrastructure, spread across physical and virtual environments, is still a unified entity that impacts all workloads and application performance.

Conclusion

One of the biggest problems vexing IT is: you can't manage what you don't know about.

And now, the IoT economy is exacerbating the device and application problem because

everything is literally connected to the network, water metering, home oil tank gauges, and even rodent traps. It’s not uncommon to see a hundred-fifty to two hundred devices on the subnets because everything is now connected. If you don’t have visibility nor inventory of these devices, you will have problems. Without this information, items are invisible on your network and hackers who are wise to this will exploit these vulnerabilities.

The situation is similar to installing a security system in your house. If you don't know how many doors and how many windows you have—you are vulnerable. TAM solutions solve the vulnerability issue with visibility as well as turning isolated data into actionable information vital for many other operations.

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