In today’s interconnected world, small and medium-sized businesses must manage their devices safely and seamlessly to boost productivity and keep threats at bay. Device inventory management entails tracking all devices within your organization’s corporate network, including computers, mobile devices, and other end-point devices. In doing so, you can centrally monitor their health, security, and assess when devices need replacing or updating.
What is Mobile Device Inventory Management?
Mobile device inventory management refers to the monitoring of all company device information in a central database. In this inventory, you’ll have device details such as serial numbers, operating systems, and models. Additionally, this database should give you visibility into the health of your mobile devices, including application usage, battery capacity, policy compliance, RAM, and processor speed. Mobile device inventory management also plays a role in device standardization, ensuring all employees are appropriately equipped to do their jobs.
When you keep track of your mobile devices, business operations will run more efficiently and in compliance with information security requirements. To extract the full value from this process, it can be beneficial to outsource device inventory management to a managed IT support provider. This approach ensures your devices are monitored, upgraded, and patched as needed across your entire organization, without the workload being placed on your internal resources.
Why Asset Inventory is Important for Your Device Management Policy
The devices used within your organization should be viewed as valuable assets, and as such, they require careful oversight. Having full visibility of this asset inventory as part of your device management policy offers a range of advantages, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity.
Small businesses should implement measures for keeping track of all employee devices – this applies to both company-owned devices, and employees’ personal devices that may be used in the course of performing their day-to-day roles within the organization. Given the nature of today’s hybrid work environment, it is also critical to have a solid bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place to ensure the security of company data that is accessed from employees’ personal devices. This starts with keeping inventory of said devices.
With a device inventory management strategy in place, it will be easy to keep track of your devices while ensuring employees comply with your device management and cybersecurity policy.
The Best Way to Do Device Inventory Management
Device inventory management can be a labor-intensive undertaking, but it is worth investing time and resources into executing it well. Understandably, for small and medium-sized businesses, the workload involved can quickly become overwhelming, which is why many organizations turn to outsourced solutions. Whichever approach you take, below are some of the steps involved in successful device inventory management:
Know Your Assets
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you can’t perform device inventory management if you don’t have an accurate list of the devices your company owns and uses. For this reason, you should first audit your assets and have an up-to-date asset inventory list. Doing so will also help you pinpoint any assets that are not currently in use, and could be repurposed. If your company’s device asset inventory list is old, consider performing a fresh audit as the first step in your new device inventory management strategy.
Track Your Devices
Company phones, computers, laptops, and other assets move around a lot, particularly in the current environment where remote and hybrid working has become the norm. When employees work remotely or move around with company assets, it becomes even more important to track and keep an inventory of these devices.
Being able to remotely determine the location of your devices, how they’re being used, and who is using them is invaluable in this scenario. If an employee inadvertently leaves their laptop on public transit during their commute, for example, you should be able to lock and secure the device to avoid exposure to data theft. Ideally, you will also be able to track the device down and return it safely to the employee.
Update Your Database
A device inventory management system is only effective if it’s updated regularly. Outdated information is not only unhelpful in the event of a device being lost or stolen, it can also delay your response and add confusion to the situation as you attempt to verify the correct device details.
Another consideration is the fact your company’s devices hold massive volumes of data. Therefore, when updating your device database, ensure that you stay compliant with data protection requirements and avoid breaching employees’ privacy. Your inventory database should focus on information such as warranty expiry dates, user manuals, and PAT dates. In doing so, everything you’ll need to know about your assets will be readily accessible.
Assign Devices to Your Team
Whether you’re onboarding new employees or want to track the devices you’ve already distributed to your team, it’s critical to know who is responsible for which device. The beauty of working with a device inventory management solution provider is that they can help you assign devices to users as part of the onboarding process, and take care of the inventory management of these devices from the new hire’s very first day.
Generally, device inventory management works best when you know who is responsible for which devices. When it’s time for maintenance and replacements, it will be easy to track down individual device users and notify them. This information is also useful for cybersecurity purposes.
Monitor Hardware Performance
Device inventory management involves more than merely tracking where your devices are and how they’re used. You shouldn’t be in the dark regarding the performance of your devices. As such, the asset inventory management system you implement should also monitor your devices’ historical performance.
For instance, when a device requires reactive maintenance, it will be easy to use its performance history to determine whether it’s sensible to replace or repair it. At some point, you’ll need to repair, replace, or update your devices. Device inventory management aids your decision-making when determining the best approach.
Choose the Best Device Inventory Management Software
Ultimately, the success of your device inventory management boils down to the tool you use. Device inventory management software can streamline and automate many of these processes, from device tracking to maintenance reports. Electric’s device management platform is designed to allow you to manage your devices centrally and gain full visibility into your devices’ health details, while also supporting your organization to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. Contact us to learn more about how to enhance device inventory management in your business.