What is IT Asset Discovery?

IT asset discovery involves the identification and documentation of all IT assets within a network, encompassing both hardware and software, whether actively utilized or stored in archives. This is a critical component of IT asset management (ITAM) that allows businesses to track their IT assets effectively.

Through asset discovery, data sets can be created that provide valuable information, such as which devices need rebooting, who is logged on to which device, and which applications are installed. With this information, IT managers can make better decisions, saving time and money.

Using IT asset discovery tools automates an otherwise manual task and ensures the security of asset data while keeping software licenses up-to-date and compliant. Overall, IT asset discovery is a crucial tool for managing IT assets and optimizing business performance.

How does IT asset discovery work?

IT asset discovery involves the scanning, identification, and mapping of devices across a company’s network using either active or passive techniques to gather detailed information such as IP address, manufacturer, activity time, and subnet. While for smaller operations, discovery tools can be installed on specific assets like mobile devices; the tools are mainly used to locate, monitor, and provide status updates.

This process can either be manual, which is complex and time-consuming, or automated, which helps to pull asset data into a specified agent. Once the tool is deployed, it scans and locates new IT assets on the network, including pre-installed software and SaaS products, providing regular updates on asset data.

The collected data is then stored in an inventory management system or CMDB, providing enterprises with a comprehensive view of their IT assets. Overall, IT asset discovery is an essential process for organizations to manage their assets effectively and optimize business performance.

What are active and passive IT asset discovery?

Active IT asset discovery requires sending a ping to each asset on the network and waiting for a response. It involves configuring multiple settings and can slow down the network’s speed.

Passive IT asset discovery involves devices sending syslogs, and it listens for activities broadcast within the network, making it a more efficient method. It consumes less bandwidth and enables the discovery of both live and historical information.

5 Benefits of Deploying IT Asset Discovery

#1: Ensure compliant software is being used

Tools for discovering assets are utilized to keep tabs on hardware and oversee software, including both authorized and unauthorized programs.

By establishing a centralized and accurate repository of your IT assets, you gain visibility into which software is installed on which devices, who has permission to use software licenses, and which devices are operating on the latest software versions. For example, having insight into who has access to your software keys streamlines the process of removing access for departing employees.

With a comprehensive understanding of your software licenses and assets, you can more effectively manage risks and enforce policies. This helps you avoid penalties for employing unlicensed software and minimizes the likelihood of a security breach.

#2: Track hardware in remote areas

The practice of IT asset discovery initially stemmed from the need to monitor hardware devices, such as computers, printers, scanners, and routers. In today’s world, with the rise of remote work, tracking IT hardware remains just as critical.

Modern asset discovery tools conduct real-time, remote network scans to deliver current details on the location of the hardware. This encompasses IP addresses, recent activity, and users assigned to devices, in addition to the geographic location of select hardware.

#3: Improve time management

IT Asset Management (ITAM) solutions were created to eliminate laborious manual procedures, such as the management of IT assets. Automated asset discovery is set up to examine a network for new, present, and modified assets, guaranteeing that your asset information is constantly current. This is a departure from the traditional approach, where IT asset managers would manually label, scan, and tag assets.

#4: Visualize your entire network of IT assets

A crucial aspect of asset discovery involves obtaining comprehensive visibility into your IT infrastructure. Given the frequent movement of equipment and applications in and out of your organization, it can be challenging to monitor your ownership accurately. However, having full visibility allows IT managers to create a network map, simplifying the asset acquisition process.

#5: Detect asset anomalies

The key objective of IT asset discovery is to reduce security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may arise from using outdated software, data breaches, and installing software that contains vulnerabilities. Conducting regular network scans and obtaining current data can help prevent these risks.

Creating a centralized database that contains all your registered assets enables you to identify changes in behavior as soon as they happen. This allows you to flag and resolve issues before they worsen.

What types of IT assets can you discover?

IT asset discovery tools can capture information automatically on nearly every type of IT item, whether it’s physical, virtual, or in the cloud. The information can be captured at a high level, such as identifying a PC asset, or at a more detailed level, such as network cards, firmware, and configuration information within that asset.

Asset discovery is especially valuable for identifying information about assets that are challenging to inspect physically, such as those in remote locations or those contained within another asset.

The IT assets you may discover fall into three main categories: networks; servers; and PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.

Evaluating asset discovery and inventory solutions

Evaluating asset discovery and inventory solutions is essential to ensure that businesses can accurately track and manage their IT assets. The evaluation process involves assessing the features, functionality, and compatibility of different solutions to determine the best fit for an organization’s needs.

Try Atera’s all-in-one IT platform

Trying Atera’s all-in-one IT solution and all-in-one RMM and PSA solution provide businesses with comprehensive tools and features for managing their IT assets. With features such as remote monitoring and management, AI ticketing, and invoicing, Atera streamlines IT management, reduces costs, and improves efficiency. Overall, Atera strives to increase efficiency by helping professionals to work smarter, not harder, adapting to unique needs.

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