Defining the types of IT assets to include in your IT inventory is the first step to implement your IT Asset Management (ITAM) strategy. But it’s not just about understanding their classification, but also how to monitor and manage each type. This will make sure you are optimizing their utilization, mitigating risks, and controlling costs.
However, something important to consider when implementing ITAM practices in your organization is to start with what is most important and not to try and incorporate everything at once. And how do you do that? By categorizing information. Once you group the types of assets, you can establish a gradual ITAM strategy.
So, in this comprehensive guide, we will explore the baseline. Keep reading to discover the four main types of IT assets that your organization's IT inventory should encompass:
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
What are the assets in the IT industry?
An IT asset refers to any hardware, software, or technological resource that an organization utilizes to manage and deliver its IT services. They serve as the building blocks that enable companies to achieve their objectives, streamline operations, and stay both competitive and sustainable.
This is why effectively managing them is crucial for optimizing costs and minimizing risks. To accomplish that, you need to build a complete IT inventory that includes all the variants.
The database acts as a single source of truth of everything you own so that you can manage assets throughout their lifecycle, and establish relationships among the ones that are also considered Configuration Items (CIs).
4 main types of IT assets in your IT inventory
IT assets encompass a wide range of components that collectively contribute to an organization's technological ecosystem. They can be categorized into different types that serve specific purposes within the IT infrastructure.
Furthermore, they can be branched into as many categories you might need (i.e. device type, usage, vendor, model). But no matter how deep you want to go, these four types will make up the foundations of your inventory.
Hardware assets consist of the tangible components that form an organization's IT infrastructure. Typical devices included under this category are:
- Mobile devices.
- Printers and scanners.
- Security cameras.
Hardware assets are commonly handled by the Hardware Asset Management practice, and among the challenges asset managers can face are:
- Effectively monitoring stock, ownership, and location.
- Tracking them throughout their lifecycle.
- Detecting early signs of needed maintenance to expand their lifespan.
- Controlling warranties to avoid unnecessary costs.
For example, InvGate Insight can not only help you build the inventory we mentioned above but also closely monitor hardware devices. To add them to Insight, you can either upload them manually, by using the Discovery feature, or by uploading an Excel template.
Once it’s populated, you can:
- Automate Risk Management to detect issues before they escalate.
- Track associated warranty and maintenance contracts for timely servicing.
- Create relationships with their owners, and warranties to manage their lifecycle.
- Automate notifications to keep a minimum amount of assets in stock.
In contrast to hardware, software assets are not physical, they only exist if they’re installed on a device. The most common ones include:
- Operational systems
To perform proper Software Asset Management (SAM), you need to track every asset installed in your IT environment and register its location, compliance, status, and usage. This practice will help you:
- Efficiently track the usage of assets to allocate resources smartly.
- Minimize the risk of non-compliance or under-licensing.
- Effectively respond to requests from vendors for software audits.
The biggest challenge here relies on simultaneously managing multiple titles, vendors, versions, users, and devices. With this amount of variables, it’s easy to have blind spots — especially if you are doing it manually.
However, if you install the InvGate Insight Agent on your devices, it will automatically report and incorporate into your inventory all the titles associated with them. Through this feature, the tool tracks software licenses, version updates, and usage patterns.
By collecting this valuable ITAM data you can:
- Monitor license compliance, reducing risks and costs.
- Get insights into software usage to optimize license allocation.
- Relate software titles with contracts to optimize costs and check on compliance.
- Add smart tags to automate their classification.
Cloud assets are virtual resources hosted on cloud platforms that offer organizations the scalability and flexibility they need to perform their daily operations. Some of the most common types include:
- Virtual machines
- Storage resources
- Networking assets
- Identity and Access Management platforms
- Security services
They usually fall under the scope of Cloud Infrastructure Management, and as they are the most abstract type of asset, their details can be easy to miss. Nevertheless, it’s important to make sure you incorporate them into your inventory as they often hold data related to your whole infrastructure.
To add your cloud assets into your inventory and monitor them within your IT environment, InvGate Insight integrates with Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances, Microsoft Azure virtual machines, and Google Cloud resources.
If you make use of them, you’ll be able to:
- Manage cloud subscriptions.
- Identify underutilized cloud resources for cost savings.
- Monitor resource consumption and predict future needs.
- Ensure compliance with cloud service agreements and security policies.
Data assets encompass the information an organization collects, processes, and stores. They are a key asset to ensure compliance and manage costs, as they keep track of all your investments and legal terms. Under this category, we can find:
The challenge here relies on being able to visualize the invisible. To address this, you can include data assets in your InvGate Insight inventory by:
- Creating custom assets manually.
- Integrating with your directories.
- Mapping your business applications.
Then, to manage them through their whole lifecycle, you also need to clearly map out the relationships they have with other CIs by adding them to your CMDB, follow the key dates, and cross their data to generate reports.
InvGate Insight helps manage data through data classification, access controls, and backup strategies, so you can:
- Create relationships, dependencies, and assign ownership between these and other assets.
- Implement data retention policies to align with legal requirements.
- Enforce access controls to protect sensitive data.
- Automate notifications when the contract is about to expire.
- Automate notifications to know when you have a few licenses left.
A well-organized IT inventory, bolstered by an Asset Management solution, is not just a matter of convenience but a strategic imperative. It allows you to allocate resources efficiently, minimize risks, comply with regulations, and pave the way for future growth.
By embracing InvGate Insight, you will make sure the four types of IT assets are efficiently managed and tracked. With this put in place, every important facet of your IT infrastructure can be brought under control.