How to Identify the Best Inventory Solution
There are many inventory solutions in the market, all of which promise to provide a complete overview of a company’s technical inventory. To figure out which inventory solution can provide the highest quality for compiling the essential data of your IT environment, there are three quality characteristics to look for.
1. Stay Pure: Collection of Raw Data for the Inventory Database
The raw data is needed to provide qualified and first-class identification patterns for the software identification. Every previous product identification could result in corruption of the data, which causes complications or errors in the software identification process.
To fully identify software versions and editions not only clearly related inventory items are required, but it is often necessary to define additional criteria to link single data sets to each other. This is only possible when the complete data volume of a system can be analyzed. The raw data provides exactly this volume of data.
2. All Roads Lead to Rome: Providing Different Scanning Methods
Many inventory tools are just not able to cope with the different requirements of a heterogeneous IT environment. In some situations, a certain inventory technology cannot be used because of corporate restrictions. For instance, when local installations on the scanned systems are not allowed, data collection with an agent technology is not possible.
To guarantee that every single system in the company network can be scanned, the inventory solution needs to provide different scanning methods for different requirements. Typically, two scanning methods can be distinguished: with Agent or Agentless, with a script technology using, for example, remote scan, logon scripts or group policies to gather the data.
3. Carry Only what You Need: Capture Software Usage Data (i.e. Metering)
The collection of user data of individual employees is, however, not possible in some countries due to the protection of personal data. The use of the metering must then be approved by an employee representation.
Some inventory solutions allow anonymization of the data so that it only becomes visible when the software was last used but the user remains anonymous. This information is sufficient to make the appropriate decisions for this software asset and facilitate the argument against the employee representatives because the data collection is not assigned to the individual user.