You can’t manage an IT system effectively if you don’t know what it comprises. It’s alarmingly easy to lose sight of what makes up your IT ecosystem. And the job isn’t made easier by developments like employees bringing their own devices to work.
1. Start with the hardware
Bring your own device policies have made it easier for IT to lose track of the hardware being used in the business. Less restrictive policies don’t just allow employees to bring in personal devices; they mean those with access to departmental budgets can amass all sorts of hardware without running the purchases through IT.
Your accounts department should be able to give you the official list of what hardware has been purchased. But other purchases might not have been given an “IT” code when run through accounts.
Now is a good time to survey department heads to see what’s actually in use. You’re likely in for some surprises. You’ll find some employees working on consumer devices they own and others working on consumer devices the company bought.
2. Good records make for good decisions
You can track the findings in a basic spreadsheet, but it’s better to use a dedicated desktop management app.
Knowing what’s actually happening will help you look into whether there are better ways to pay for what employees need.
3. Check those use-by dates
Keep an eye out for devices, servers, printers, and other office hardware that's close to end-of-life or end-of-lease. Work with your account department and suppliers to put together a plan for easing out the old to bring in the new.
4. Software audit
Find out what software is running on your machines—and which machines it’s running on.
Ask what budget was used to buy it. Again, this information will help you make better decisions in the future.
Remember, software can also have a use-by date if the vendor isn’t going to support it. And software as a service (SaaS) subscriptions do expire.
Those might not only be corporate subscriptions. Find out if employees are subscribing to their own cloud solutions. Even when those services are paid for on corporate credit cards, they can slip through accounting because they aren’t assigned to the right budget.
That problem is minor compared to those that can arise with employees downloading untested cloud software.
5. Security focus
Security software, like antivirus apps, virtual private network solutions, and encryption, needs special attention. You don’t want to find your licence or subscription has lapsed when it’s key to your defences.
6. Finish with a walk
Just by walking the floors, you’ll be amazed at what hardware and software use you spot that wasn’t picked up in any other process.