Network inventory is a tool developed specifically for this purpose. However, many still have doubts about its operation, its advantages, and how it can be implemented.
The IT sector deals with a series of equipment whose efficiency directly impacts the business’s financial health. It is necessary to manage not only the computers themselves but the digital infrastructure of the entire company. Therefore, it is essential to implement strategies that optimize management processes.
What Is Network Inventory?
Managing a company’s assets is not just an administrative monitoring job. IT professionals deal with several tools (physical or digital) that need attention. Otherwise, the overall dynamics of the company may be compromised.
If, for example, server migration is required, it is incredibly complicated to perform it without a clear view of the environment we are dealing with. The same applies to equipment in general. Any action by the IT team becomes limited and risky without the exact information of which items, where they are located, etc.
The network inventory was created to address this issue. Like other inventories, it keeps a record of several items that belong, in this case, to the company. However, the network inventory has a particularity.
As we mentioned, IT deals with physical and digital tools. The network inventory covers the physical equipment (hardware) and the digital solutions (software) used in the company.
After all, programs are also products — they are linked to an investment cost, need maintenance, and may even have an expiration date or license to be renewed. If dealing with these issues without having efficient control is already a problem for small businesses, imagine for an IT service provider!
In addition to the equipment, it is necessary to pay attention to the customers’ IT infrastructure. Solving any problem becomes much faster if your professionals have immediate access to a document that indicates everything the customer has — servers, computers, mobile devices, switches, routers, and cables. Network inventory lists these items and relates them to your technical information in detail.
Why Is Network Inventory Essential?
The IT sector assumes an increasingly important role in the functioning of companies. Optimizing its operation is to speed up the work of everyone, individually and collectively. Therefore, the network inventory provides the necessary control over the available technological assets.
Firstly, it allows faster tracking of devices. In general, this work can be very time-consuming — companies that do not adopt network inventory may even lose equipment and not be able to recover it due to a lack of proper registration.
Instead of having an employee locate hardware and software every time an action is needed, having a unified record of all equipment is enough. Consequently, localization is also facilitated.
The inventory, more than a simple list of assets, should detail which sector the equipment is used in, the direct user, and even the physical location. For example, when registering hardware for a large server, it is interesting to specify which cabinet and shelf they are in.
The reliability of the inventory offered for the registered information is worth mentioning. For example, if several notebooks are purchased over a few years, it is crucial to record the purchase dates for each one, identifying them by a serial code.
This makes it easier for IT staff to monitor equipment degradation and track software (and licenses) used by each employee. The manager’s work is optimized, as he can extract reports based on the inventory to prospect the purchase of new items.
For example, we know that computers’ processing power doubles every two years. Thus, sectors that need high-performance hardware require periodic renewal of their devices.
It is enough for the manager to create a schedule and keep an eye on the records to replace older equipment or buy new RAM cartridges.
How To Implement It In My Company?
To begin with, it is essential to keep in mind a few questions that facilitate the preparation of the network inventory. After all, the record must be as detailed as possible, preventing relevant information from missing when you need it most.
Thus, it is necessary to raise answers to the following questions:
- How many computers does your company (or the customer) have?
- What is the number of notebooks?
- What is the number of desktops?
- What is the operating system (OS) of each of them?
- What is the version of this OS?
- What software is installed on them, including antivirus?
- How big are the HD and RAM?
- What is the processor?
- What hosts (switches, servers, printers, and other terminals) does your network have?
This list could be even longer. As you can see, it must include the equipment (computers). And the parts that make up its configuration (RAM, processor, HD, etc.).