How to Implement Hardware Asset Management for the Modern Workspace

May 22 - 2024

Hardware asset management (HAM) has become increasingly challenging in today’s hybrid work environment where IT teams must manage growing fleets of devices with access to company networks and sensitive data from anywhere. 

Organizations must implement systematic and streamlined processes to track company hardware and devices to protect their investment, reduce IT workloads, improve security, and ensure compliance. Moreover, they should address procurement and deployment processes to control shipping, warehousing, and storage costs. 

Let’s delve into the essential components of effective HAM. We’ll examine what they are, how they work, why you need them, and the best practices to follow. 

5 Essential Components of Effective Hardware Asset Management 

The complexity of HAM increases exponentially with a hybrid, remote, or distributed workforce due to the processes’ physical nature. Your IT asset management strategy should incorporate the following components to facilitate procurement, deployment, tracking, maintenance, and disposal.

1. Asset Tagging

This process involves labeling equipment with unique identifiers to ensure seamless asset tracking and management. The label is typically placed in a visible and accessible location on a device for easy identification and scanning. 

IT teams will record the unique identifiers and relevant information like asset type, serial number, specifications, purchase date, and location in a centralized asset management database. They can then track the assets and use the information for inventory audits, asset transfers, maintenance scheduling, warranty tracking, and retirement planning. 

Asset tagging helps reduce the risk of loss, theft, or misplacement while fostering a sense of responsibility and accountability among employees. It simplifies asset audits and inspections for regulatory compliance and financial reporting. You may also collect data to identify underutilized devices, plan for upgrades or replacements, and optimize resource allocation. 

Asset Tagging Best Practices 

Establish a standardized format for asset tags to ensure consistency across all devices. Each entry should include essential information like asset ID, serial number, asset type, and location code. Also, conduct regular audits and verification checks to reconcile physical assets with the details stored in the asset database. 

2. Configuration + Imaging

The process involves configuring device settings to meet your organization’s specifications, installing the required software, and conducting rigorous testing. Configured devices meet performance standards and are ready for immediate deployment, reducing downtime, the security risks of misconfigurations, and user frustration. 

Imaging creates a complete and exact copy of a device’s hard drive, including the operating system, installed software, configuration settings, and data. You may use this image to restore a device to a specific state, efficiently deploy identical configurations to multiple devices, and maintain control over software versions and configurations. 

Configuration + Imaging Best Practices 

Establish consistent configuration standards to ensure uniformity across devices, minimize compatibility issues, and simplify management tasks. Leverage standardized configuration templates or images to streamline workflows and use deployment software to automate the configuration process and ensure consistency across your fleet. 

Create a baseline image that includes the operating system, essential applications, and standard configurations for deployment. Update it regularly to incorporate software updates, security patches, and configuration changes. Also, maintain a centralized repository of approved images and version control to manage and track image updates and revisions.

3. Laser Etching

This technique creates permanent markings on physical assets like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. You may include unique identifiers, such as serial numbers, barcodes, QR codes, or other data, to support efficient asset tracking and lifecycle management.  

Laser-etched markings resist wear, tampering, fading, and environmental factors such as moisture, chemicals, UV radiation, and extreme temperatures while providing high precision and exceptional legibility. It also supports regulatory compliance with accurate and permanent asset identification records. 

You may laser etch on various materials, such as metals, plastics, glass, and coated surfaces. The non-contact process minimizes the risk of damage to delicate equipment and allows for marking on curved or irregular surfaces. 

Laser Etching Best Practices 

Standardize laser-etched markings to include essential information like asset ID, serial number, and organizational logo or identifier. Check the markings’ legibility and position them in visible and accessible locations for easy scanning. You should also document laser etching procedures, specifications, and quality control measures to ensure consistency.

4. Hardware Upgrade

This practice upgrades individual hardware components like memory, hard drive, video card, etc., to enhance IT assets’ performance, functionality, and longevity while reducing the frequency and costs of asset replacements. You may upgrade hardware to increase processing power, storage capacity, or graphics capabilities. 

The process starts with evaluating hardware performance and configurations to identify areas for improvement, such as checking if a device meets specific requirements to support new technologies. It may also involve adjusting configuration settings after the installation to optimize performance and ensure compatibility with existing software and peripherals. 

Hardware upgrades help reduce maintenance costs and minimize downtime due to hardware failures. You can extend an equipment’s lifespan and maximize the ROI of your hardware assets by improving its reliability and compatibility with new technologies. Moreover, modern hardware components are often more energy-efficient, helping you lower operating costs. 

Hardware Upgrade Best Practices 

Assess your current hardware components, performance metrics, and user requirements to set objectives for your upgrade project. Check compatibility between the new components and existing systems and backup critical data and files before the upgrade. Also, maintain detailed documentation of the hardware upgrade process for future reference and troubleshooting.

5. Storage + Warehousing

This service ensures that hardware assets are securely stored and readily accessible when needed. The process involves inventory management, storage allocation, and security measures like access control, surveillance cameras, and alarm systems to safeguard the assets. The facility may also help track, monitor, retrieve, and distribute the devices. 

A storage and warehousing solution provides a secure and controlled environment for storing hardware assets, protecting them from theft, loss, damage, and environmental hazards while ensuring regulatory compliance. Organizations can achieve scalability without investing in storage infrastructure, equipment, and personnel. 

A flexible solution like our Integrated Device Service provides temporary storage service for customer devices in our secure warehouse facilities. You can gain additional storage capabilities to support staged refresh or deployment and only pay for what you use. The fee also covers utilities, inventory control, and insurance to simplify your internal processes. 

Storage + Warehousing Best Practices 

Choose a storage facility that follows ISO 9001:2008 process management standards to ensure inventory accuracy. It should implement security measures and provide climate control to protect assets from temperature fluctuations, humidity, and environmental hazards. It should also document all inventory transactions and movements for traceability and accountability. 

Hardware Asset Management Simplified 

Hardware asset management is challenging because you can’t manage everything from a keyboard. The physical, hands-on aspect means you need boots on the ground, the appropriate equipment, and state-of-the-art facilities to handle storage, tagging, distribution, and more. The processes are much less scalable, while the costs of mistakes can be high. 

Compugen’s Integrated Device Services helps modern IT teams simplify HAM with a comprehensive menu of services to streamline project planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and decommissioning. Moreover, the à la carte, per-asset pricing model offers modern enterprises the flexibility to meet shifting requirements. 

Learn more about our Integrated Device Services and get in touch to see how we can help you increase ROI, enhance security, ensure compliance, and improve the employee experience. 

Guide: Hardware Asset Management in the Age of Hybrid Work

Topics: Hybrid IT, Integrated Device Services

Hybrid IT allows companies to take advantage of cloud
The rise of hybrid working and the modern workspace
With the constant evolution of technology, it can be
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