Asset Tracking Software: What Is It and How Does It Work?
Asset Tracking Software is a Valuable Digital Resource for Any Company. Find Out How to Use it to Your Benefit.
Last updated on June 22, 2022
Keeping a record of your company’s inventory is essential for the digital and financial well-being of your business. Knowing where your resources are located is not only good for your budget but your cybersecurity strategy as well. Asset tracking software can help you with that.
But what is asset tracking software? How does it work? Why should you use it? If you want to find out the answers to these questions, then keep on reading.
What is Asset Tracking Software?
Before diving into the topic of asset tracking software, it is important to, first of all, define what an asset is in an enterprise context. As per Investopedia,
An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation, or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit. Assets are reported on a company’s balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a firm’s value or benefit the firm’s operations. An asset can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow, reduce expenses, or improve sales, regardless of whether it’s manufacturing equipment or a patent.
According to Techopedia, asset tracking software facilitates the monitoring of the software, equipment, and devices in a company’s IT environment. By supervising the movement of each resource, it provides administrators with an inventory of the enterprise’s technology, as well as its location. Its very nature makes it a key program for asset-heavy and asset-reliant businesses.
But aren’t all businesses asset-reliant to some extent, you might ask? The answer is yes, they are, but the necessity of using asset tracking software is particularly strong in fields that rely on technological resources either equally or more than physical ones. Therefore, an airport coffee shop might not need asset tracking software as it can keep its inventory on paper.
However, organizations that handle logistics, warehousing, automation, retail, or construction utilize digital assets galore and thus need asset tracking software as well. The same goes for critical infrastructure in the healthcare and education sectors.
How Asset Tracking Software Works
To better define the concept of asset tracking software, it’s important to understand how it works. As further stated by Techopedia, asset tracking software performs four main functions:
hardware inventory management,
software inventory management,
network inventory management,
and licenses/vendor contract management.
An asset tracking software can fill either one or multiple of these roles at a time. Let’s have a look at each one to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Hardware Inventory Management
As the name suggests, the hardware inventory management function of an asset tracking software monitors the movement of company hardware. There are two main categories to consider here:
internal hardware (components)
external hardware (peripherals)
Common examples of components include RAM, motherboards, and hard drives. These exist in a wide variety of machines, not just employee computers. As for peripherals, ordinary instances are keyboards, monitors, headphones, and any other type of digital accessory that is attached to the main device.
Tracking the location of these items is predominantly important in today’s enterprise landscape dominated by working from home policies. When staff members take their workstation outside of the physical boundaries of the office, you must know where and how they are being used. In addition to this, hardware inventory management can provide you with crucial intelligence and data in the case of theft, misplacement, or property damage incidents.
Software Inventory Management
As opposed to hardware, which represents a company’s physical assets, software consists of the files, programs, and applications that execute on company devices. For this reason, software inventory management is an essential part of any cybersecurity strategy.
When it comes to this facet of inventory management, asset tracking software creates a digital database of everything running on your enterprise’s machines, constantly scanning for updates and vulnerabilities. That’s exactly what our Heimdal™ Patch & Asset Management automatic updater does.
Network Inventory Management
An asset tracking software that performs network inventory management deals with both hardware and software, but only if it pertains to the organization’s online network perimeter. Hardware in this category consists of servers, clients, and connecting devices, while the software is represented by protocols and the operating system.
Network inventory management allows your company to not only keep track of what you own but also helps you feel out when it’s time to acquire new components. In addition to this, it can also inform of what hardware or software has reached its end of life and needs to be decommissioned, thus reducing the frequency of vulnerabilities opening in your system.
Licenses and Vendor Contract Management
Licenses and vendor contract management is an adjacent function that usually comes as a package deal with one or more of the aforementioned three. An asset tracking software can also help you with that by giving you the option to specify these details for any pieces of hardware or software that you own. This is particularly useful when licenses or contracts reach their expiration date, as it brings the issue to your attention and prompts you to decide whether you want to renew or cancel them.
Asset Tracking Software Benefits
#1 Accurate Inventory
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of asset tracking software is that it keeps an accurate record of your organization’s physical and digital inventory. In doing so, you will have all your bases covered in the eventuality of a breach, allowing the enterprise security team to respond to a cyberattack or any other incident promptly and efficiently. Besides, this assists administrators in creating detailed reports that can be used for many purposes, including billing, budgeting, or insurance.
#2 Reduced Costs
Asset tracking software is a cost-effective administrative tool that eliminates the need for cumbersome and pricey manual tracking. With it, all your company’s hardware and software are registered and monitored in one handy place.
Furthermore, this usually requires one or two subscription plans at most, depending on what types of inventory management solutions you require. The physical alternative involves dedicated teams or departments keeping pen-on-paper registries, which is not only more expensive but also subject to human error.
#3 Accessible Data
Just above, I mentioned that an asset tracking software registers and monitors your data in one handy place. This outlines the final benefit I want to touch upon in this article, namely accessibility. Being able to see when and where company resources are moving, as well as swiftly identifying any changes will save your business a lot of time and money in the long run.
To Sum It All Up…
Asset tracking software is the ideal way to automatize a basic, yet crucial task in your enterprise. By efficiently managing your hardware, software, network, and licenses, you will know exactly what and when to update, remove, or replace. This is crucial to closing gaps in security and eliminating system vulnerabilities towards the creation of a more cyber-secure workplace.
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Alina Georgiana Petcu is a Product Marketing Manager within Heimdal™ Security and her main interest lies in institutional cybersecurity. In her spare time, Alina is also an avid malware historian who loves nothing more than to untangle the intricate narratives behind the world's most infamous cyberattacks.