When managing assets across your organization, IT asset tagging acts as a starting block. It ensures that everything is properly identified and easily tracked to avoid inaccurate inventory records, unregistered losses, or misusage.
The practice provides a systematic approach to label and identify software and hardware assets to easily track relevant information throughout the asset’s whole lifecycle.
In this article, we will explore the world of IT asset tagging, the different types of tags, and which information they should include. We will also provide practical insights into how to tag software and hardware assets effectively, and how to do so on InvGate Insight.
So, let's dive into the world of IT asset tagging!
What is IT asset tagging?
IT asset tagging refers to the practice of labeling or marking IT assets with unique identifiers that contain relevant information about each one.
It plays a crucial role in establishing a well-organized and efficient IT Asset Management (ITAM) strategy by simplifying all the fundamental practices: asset identification, tracking, and management. In this sense, it contributes to improved operational efficiency and cost optimization.
There are primarily two types of tags:
- Physical tags - They are attached to the asset itself and contain relevant information – such as names, serial numbers, inventory numbers, barcodes, or QR codes – allowing for straightforward identification and retrieval of asset-related data.
- Digital tags - They are built within your ITAM solution and can be assigned to assets that fall under certain categories or conditions. They facilitate accurate asset tracking, simplify Inventory Management, and enable efficient maintenance and support processes.
Why is IT asset tagging important?
To understand the importance of IT asset tagging, we need to go back to ITAM fundamentals. Basically, by affixing unique labels to software and hardware assets, you can quickly, easily, and effectively identify them.
But, of course, assets don’t come on their own. Properly designed tags also offer clear and concise information on the asset that facilitates readability for employees. This streamlines tasks such as reporting incidents, requesting maintenance, or conducting audits, saving time and reducing errors in the process.
Furthermore, it also facilitates proactive ITAM. Good information is everything. It allows agents to plan for hardware and software upgrades, ensure license compliance, manage maintenance schedules, and optimize resource allocation.
However, there are also considerations regarding security and user privacy. Tagged devices may become attractive targets for theft or unauthorized access. So, you should implement additional security measures and establish clear policies and guidelines to mitigate these risks and protect sensitive data.
4 benefits of asset tagging
Implementing asset tagging as part of your ITAM strategy can offer you several benefits:
- Better organization - Quick and efficient asset tracking minimizes the risk of lost or misplaced assets, ensuring better control over the whole IT infrastructure.
- More accurate information - Automating digital asset identification and tracking streamlines tasks such as Inventory Management, audits, and maintenance.
- Complete IT Asset Lifecycle Management - Tagging assets with relevant information allows organizations to track asset data through acquisition, deployment, utilization, maintenance, and retirement. This enables better decision-making regarding asset replacement, upgrades, and maintenance schedules and allows you to apply protocols in different stages of its lifecycle.
- Enhanced visibility and reporting - With improved visibility, you can generate accurate reports on asset utilization, maintenance history, and compliance.
Remember that asset tagging can be done physically or in digital environments. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the specific considerations and best practices for tagging with each method.
How to do physical IT asset tagging?
Physical tagging of hardware assets is a central part of Hardware Inventory Management. It involves affixing identification labels to individual hardware assets. Here's a guide on how to do it with InvGate Insight.
To start, let’s see the different types of tags that can be used for hardware asset tagging:
- QR Codes - Two-dimensional barcodes that can store large amounts of information. They can be easily scanned using smartphones or specialized scanning devices, allowing for quick access to asset details.
- Barcodes - Vertical lines of varying widths that represent data, typically encoded with numbers. You need barcode scanners to read and decode the information.
- RFID Tags - Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags use radio waves to transmit data wirelessly. They are commonly used for asset tracking in large-scale environments, as RFID readers can capture information from multiple tags simultaneously.
When tagging hardware assets, include name or inventory name — which should contain the asset type and a distinctive number, the code tag, and any other pertinent details that help identify and track the asset.
Though physical tags are usually created with third-party tools, InvGate Insight allows you to generate QR codes directly from your instance. This way, you can access the assets’ profiles as soon as you scan them, giving you the ability to perform various actions such as changing its state, updating its data, or creating a related ticket through the InvGate Service Desk integration.
How to do digital IT asset tagging?
Digital IT asset tagging is oriented to manage software assets by attaching digital tags (or metadata) to them.
The most common ones you can use on InvGate Insight are:
- Categories - Assets can be tagged based on the classifications set by the organization. They are usually static categories like productivity software, design tools, communication applications, location, or the age of the hardware. Categorizing software assets helps to organize and group them for better visibility and management.
- Licensing information -Tags can be used to indicate the licensing status, such as whether they are licensed, unlicensed, trial versions, or expired. You can even automate notifications to get an alert when a license is about to expire. This is especially useful for License Management.
- Usage or department - Tagging software assets based on their usage or department can be helpful for tracking software allocation within an organization. It allows for better resource allocation and cost optimization.
- Version or release - Tags can also be used to indicate the specific version or release of software assets. This is particularly useful for Software Management, including managing updates and patches.
Even though digital tags are mainly related to software assets, that doesn’t mean that you can’t also use them on hardware. In fact, InvGate Insight allows both options. In addition, Insight offers you the possibility to turn any tag into a Smart Tag so that, once you design its conditions, it is automatically assigned to the CIs that meet them, providing real-time asset visibility.
IT asset tagging best practices
Implementing best practices for IT asset tagging ensures the correct identification of your CIs and saves lots of time for agents. Consider this before you start:
- Use a single ITAM platform - Centralize asset tagging and management into one solution to improve operations and increase the Return on Investment (ROI). Make sure that it offers features like automated scanning, digital asset tracking, and comprehensive reporting capabilities to track overall performance (of course, all boxes are checked by InvGate Insight!).
- Define consistent tagging standards - Create clear guidelines to design the tags, precising the information to include and their placing to ensure uniformity and ease of interpretation. Though this may vary with each asset type, tags typically include asset name, serial number, owner, location, purchase date, and other pertinent details.
- Generate unique identifiers - Use a unique combination of alphanumeric characters, branding, and a QR code for each asset to avoid mix-ups of physical tags (InvGate Insight does it for you). For digital tags, you can name the labels and assign them a color for better differentiation.
- Conduct regular audits - Periodic internal audits help you verify the accuracy of asset information and tag integrity. InvGate Insight’s reporting and dashboards are ideal for identifying any missing or misplaced tags and ensuring the asset register remains up to date.
- Implement security measures - Balance asset visibility with security actions to avoid including sensitive information on asset tags that could pose a security risk. Implement additional security measures to protect tagged assets from theft or unauthorized access.
To sum up
Accurate IT asset tagging is a way to simplify and organize asset tracking, making sure everything is correctly identified and easy to track down and access. It works as a starting point in your ITAM processes to manage your assets through its complete lifecycle.
You can do so by using both physical and digital tags, according to what assets and information you need to keep an eye on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of asset tagging?
An example of asset tagging is affixing a barcode label to a computer or attaching an RFID tag to a server for easy identification and tracking.
Which assets should be tagged?
Generally, both software and hardware assets should be tagged. This includes computers, servers, mobile devices, software applications, and other IT infrastructure components.
What should an IT asset register contain?
An IT asset register should contain essential information about each asset, such as asset name, unique identifier, description, owner, location, purchase date, warranty details, and any other relevant license or maintenance information.
How do you asset tag a computer?
To asset tag a computer, you can affix a physical label or sticker containing a barcode or QR code to the device. This label should include essential information like the asset name, serial number, and any other relevant details.
What is the tagging process?
The tagging process involves assigning unique identification labels, such as barcodes, QR codes, or RFID tags, to assets. These tags are associated with relevant asset information in an Asset Management system, allowing for easy identification, tracking, and management of the assets.