Managing IT assets is a crucial and exceedingly frustrating part of running a small business. This is especially true if you deploy numerous laptops in a remote environment.
The key to any successful asset management policy is having an asset management checklist. This list needs to be clear, concise, and easy enough for a non-technical person to read.
Technicians and IT staff should not diverge from this list unless absolutely necessary. Strict adherence to the established process will produce the least amount of errors and increase the quality of the finished product.
To help you get started, here is a sample checklist you can employ and your company.
This step is first up on the list because it determines the type of hardware that needs to be provisioned to the user. Different roles will require different tech almost 100% of the time.
For example, a powerful CPU and an abundance of RAM may be needed for a data analyst. But, the graphic design team may need a heftier GPU in addition to the RAM and CPU.
Even if you are provisioning different devices often, try and get them from the same manufacturer. This will make patching and support much easier. In addition, many vendors offer discounts for bulk orders.
If you're using an Excel workbook as an inventory management system, cease and desist immediately. There are a number of awesome free asset management systems that can reliably track the devices leaving your facility.
Be sure to label each device you allocate with its own unique ID number. To make things easier, use a barcode so you won't have to worry about typos.
All peripherals including chargers, mice, keyboards, and usb hubs should be logged into the inventory. These items are inexpensive relative to the computers themselves but are still costs that should be tracked.
All devices should be running some sort of anti-virus software. This is especially true for people who work in heavily regulated industries such as finance and healthcare.
This step on the checklist involves installing anti-virus, IPS/IDS, applying content control policies, etc. Also, make sure you don't accidentally give someone admin access to the device who does not need it.
If users need to download executables or access certain sites outside the list of approved ones, a request should be submitted to the IT department.
Most people, regardless of job role, will need access to the Microsoft suite of productivity products. These include applications like Word, Excel, and Outlook.
Here are some applications that I have to install routinely for all my clients.
In addition to these, users who communicate with customers will need whatever telephony software your company uses installed. Be sure to test calls and other functionality before handing devices over to people.
You might have to enable browser permissions or open a port on a firewall to have some applications function properly. Its a good idea to develop a set of test scenarios each techinician will have to run.
Try to send emails with and without attachments, access network shares, perform certain tasks in the company CRM and any other task the user will be expected to perform.
Doing so will save the IT department a ticket or two in the future.
With the devices outfitted with the needed software and hardened, its time to move on to the ongoing support section of the checklist.
Anyone who has ever worked with or used a computer knows that things will break. When they do inevitably break, you will need a way to manage issues outside of e-mails.
A ticket system like NetBot21, can provide your organization with a centralized means of storing all tech related issues. Users can submit requests for help and the system can provide real time feedback as the ticket progresses through its various milestones.
Managing security patches for end users is painful. Most people will simply ignore the update warnings that Chrome or the computer's OS flashes at them.
To them, its just an inconvenience that may result in them having to stay at work longer. Personally, I don't blame them for feeling this way at all. Who in their right mind wants to spend more of their life working than they have to?
To make things a little easier for IT departments, services like Group Policies exist in Windows. With this service you can force updates and other company policies without having to touch each workstation manually.
Beyond ongoing support and patch management, part of your checklist needs to include steps for offboarding or decommisioning devices. This part of the process involves removing data and properly disposing of devices.
Before you dispose of a device, you will need to remove all data remnants from it. This can be done a number of ways but the easiest and most scalable method is to use a software tool like MiniTool Partition Wizard.
With tools like these you can rest assured that all sensitive data will be erased from memory.
With all data wiped, its time to part ways with the device permanently. You can either destroy the device and recycle the individual parts or sell them.
And that's it! To recap, here is step-by-step breakdown of the it asset management checklist.
Clean and clear operating procedures are one of the many benefits of it asset management.
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