ITAM Tips from the Trenches: Device Inventory Management
In this installment of our series, ITAM Tips from the Trenches, Director of Anglepoint’s Microsoft practice, Mandi Sue Bleau (MSB), shares practical tips for great IT Asset Management. Specifically, she explains why device inventory management is critical to software asset management and establishing accurate compliance positions.
Active & Inactive Devices
It is very important to manage your devices throughout the entire asset lifecycle. As a rule of thumb, if the data collection software that you are using shows consumption and active inventory dates, then a device is considered active. Once the inventory date hits 90 days of inactivity, which is an industry standard, you should follow-up with the manager of the device to confirm that the device is no longer being used.
You can then mark the device accordingly in the software asset management tool with the current status, such as: retired, decommissioned, disposed, etc. We often see instances where the device has an older inventory date, but the status was never changed to match the Asset Lifecycle.
Another common issue we see includes virtual machines that get spun up and down quickly. It can be difficult to keep up with this given the frequency at which this occurs. Often virtual machines are not updated to reflect their status as “retired” or “ignored” after they are spun down. It’s a dangerous game to lose track of this status as these would use a license entitlement for compliance position in the event of a software publisher audit.
Let’s take a closer look at that example: If you have a virtual machine that was spun up to work on and you install licensable software, if you apply the use rights and rules according to the application and the contract, then it should consume the entitlement that is applicable. Once you are done using the virtual machine and it is spun down, some data collection software will continue to show that virtual machine as active and consuming an entitlement. So you can see how important it is to keep track of these virtual machines. You should review the virtual machine to confirm it is no longer active and then update your inventory to “ignore” the machine. The industry standard for this is 30 days after the virtual machine was last inventoried – then it can be ignored for consumption.
Cornerstone of Software License Compliance
In summary, managing your device inventory is a cornerstone of software license compliance and requires the utmost attention. If you aren’t managing your device inventory throughout the software asset lifecycle, then there’s a good chance you won’t have an accurate position when it comes to software compliance.
About ITAM Tips from the Trenches
ITAM Tips from the Trenches is an on-going series of useful, bite-sized ITAM knowledge and expertise shared by Anglepoint experts who work in the ITAM trenches day-in and day-out.