Virima V6.0 will soon be available with an all-new look, enhanced discovery, mapping and vulnerability features and more. Stay tuned!

How does network asset discovery benefit your business?

how does network asset discovery help your business

As part of the IT team, how often are you asked what assets are present on your network? As somebody responsible for finding, tracking, and monitoring the usage of assets on your network, our guess? Far too often.

However, this can be a massive and tedious task, especially when you are a part of a larger organization with hundreds of assets on its network. This is where the network asset discovery process comes into the picture. 

This process helps you identify and monitor all the assets within your network at all times—manually or automatically. In either case, it’s an essential aspect of IT infrastructure management. For this reason, the Global Software Asset Management Market is expected to reach $5.4 billion by 2027, rising at a market growth of 17.3% CAGR during the forecast period. 

In this article, we will discuss the concept of network asset discovery, how it works, and how businesses can benefit from its usage.

What is network asset discovery?

Network asset discovery is the process of discovering, mapping, and describing all of your IT assets. It is an essential step in any IT infrastructure management strategy as it provides a detailed inventory of all your assets. This process can be conducted using an asset discovery tool.

Asset discovery tools can also help you understand: 

  • What software is installed on each device
  • How much storage space is available
  • Who uses and owns each device
  • Where all your devices are located

This information is valuable for identifying problems within your network environment. It can also help you make informed decisions about future purchases or upgrades based on facts rather than assumptions or guesses.

This process can be done manually too. However, it is often more effective to use an automated tool to quickly gather all relevant information and display it in an easy-to-read format.

Challenges of managing software assets

Before trying to understand how network asset discovery works, let’s understand why it is essential in the first place.

Here is a list of challenges of tracking and managing software assets within your network:

Lack of visibility into the entire IT infrastructure

It allows IT teams to look into their entire infrastructure and gain visibility into what assets exist on their network. It will enable the team to preserve, protect, and prioritize devices critical to business operations.

For example, now that remote work is the norm—it is far too common for employees to connect multiple devices that do not always belong to the company. It is also important to inventory these assets, as avoiding them could result in various security and compliance issues down the line. 

Also, this process will indicate when devices were last upgraded or changed out, which is helpful if you’re maintaining the asset inventory.

Regular asset failure leads to a longer downtime duration

It is easy to underestimate how complex network infrastructure is, especially when functioning correctly. When something goes wrong with even one system component, it can cause a chain reaction that affects the entire network. It is particularly true for highly distributed environments and spans multiple locations, such as cloud infrastructure or data centers. 

In 2020, 25% of respondents worldwide reported that their servers’ average hourly downtime costs between $301,000 and $400,000. So, a longer downtime duration could result in a loss of millions of dollars.

Unnecessary disruptions to IT services

Managing a network with hundreds of devices can be a challenging process. There are several reasons why this can happen: 

  • Lack of processes to manage these assets
  • No dedicated network asset discovery tools are in place
  • No clear separation of monitoring duties
  • Lack of a security structure

In either case, when you do not have a set system in place, that could result in regular service disruptions—leading to frustrating experiences for employees and customers.

Applications and programs freeze often

The most common cause of system downtime is a malfunctioning component within a network infrastructure. The discovery of network issues often involves troubleshooting by IT personnel, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Regardless of how well a company plans, one or more servers might experience hardware failure that prevents them from working as intended. It can happen to any system regardless of whether it is an integral part of an organization’s operations. It’s unrealistic to physically visit each server to run tests every single time this happens.

Increasing costs of using and managing IT assets

In today’s businesses, computers and network devices run various processes. A failure in any of them can lead to a loss of valuable data, irrecoverable documents, or incomplete work. Employees must deal with the issues and breakdowns if a computer is offline. 

The same is true of faulty network equipment. The company’s employee’s productivity will be affected by the number of working computers and other assets. 

When something breaks down in a small office, it takes the IT staff quite some time to find out what failed and why it went wrong. Hardware issues are not always clear-cut. Sometimes an outdated device or software can malfunction or crash because of a virus. In some cases, it needs to be restarted after not being used for too long.

How does network asset discovery work?

Network asset discovery tools can use various methods to discover assets on your network. Some network asset discovery tools are manual, and some are automated. 

An example of a manual technique would be going into the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) of each machine in your network to look for identifying information about each device.

Automated techniques include port scanning, which sends packets across each computer to determine what services are running at those ports. Then, it uses this information to identify the machines that run those services. Manual techniques, like reviewing BIOS settings or inspecting manually, take more time than automated asset discovery. However, they also tend to provide more detailed information about every device connected to your network.

Agent vs. Agentless discovery

The two most common types of network asset discovery are agent-based and agentless. 

Agent-based discovery: In this case, the IT asset management discovery tool places a target on each system that collects data and consolidates that information in one place. They are hosted locally and are usually manually deployed to ensure it is done properly.

Agentless discovery: You do not need to install probes/agents at the endpoint manually. Instead, all the data is gathered remotely using a tool run on a server. While they save time on manual deployment—they cannot access complete information about a software asset. Plus, they might suffer from issues like latency, packet loss, or poor connections.

Using a tool that offers both options is best, and you can create a workflow that works best for you.

Benefits of network asset discovery

There are several benefits of implementing network asset discovery processes within your organization. 

Tracks all your assets in one place with minimal manual intervention

A good asset discovery solution will provide insight into each element of your IT infrastructure. These assets include hardware and software components like servers, routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, databases, application servers, storage devices and printers. 

Once you know where these assets are located and connected to, you can use this data to plan for upgrades and other network changes that might be necessary later.

You get a bird’s eye view of all your assets at any given time—ensuring security, service management and reliability, and efficiency. Ultimately, it gives you complete visibility into your entire network.

Manages your software licenses in one place

Another critical benefit of asset discovery is software license management. It involves maintaining a database of your organization’s third-party providers and their contracts. This process will help you keep track of registered and unregistered software on your network.

Software licenses can be free or paid, depending on the product. They exist in many different forms—agreements with service providers and subscriptions—that require extensive tracking.

Unregistered or pirated software can lead to penalties for the stakeholder or client, costing your company thousands of dollars. You can prevent such issues by tracking the software your employees use. It also helps you reduce redundant technology purchases—driving operational costs down over time.

Facilitates data-driven decisions for asset usage and management

You can use asset discovery data for many things, including planning, troubleshooting, and security. For example, you will know exactly how many software licenses need replacement because you can consolidate this data centrally. You can also assess whether the software licenses were worth the investment by monitoring their usage across the network.

Moreover, you can employ efficient troubleshooting—dramatically reducing IT maintenance costs in terms of money and workforce.

Always keeps stakeholders informed about the state of your assets

Your organization needs to be aware of the assets that support your employees and their associated services. Without this awareness, you cannot assess the impact of a data breach or cyberattack. It means you must learn to take action when the unexpected happens.

Employing a network asset discovery tool helps you gather critical information about these assets and inform employees during an outage or breach. This practice ensures that employees know what is happening during a critical event and can take the necessary steps to rectify the issue (based on internal protocols).

Additionally, if there is an update in your network, the discovery tool automatically identifies this change and intimates the necessary personnel. It ensures that no asset is left hidden within the network.

Flags critical IT issues before they become actual business problems

Network asset discovery is a way to protect your business from malicious threats like malware and viruses. Without this protection, viruses can spread to other devices on your network, affecting everything from your employees’ productivity to your company’s reputation.

This allows them to determine which devices are authorized to access the enterprise network and which should be blocked. If you’re using a bring your own device (BYOD) solution, you can scan an employee’s laptop to see what software and hardware is installed by locating its port and components.

This way, the IT team can take proactive measures to ensure that employees’ devices can only access the enterprise network when required. Also, employees can continue using their laptops for office use. The discovery tool can help prevent an external attack from spreading to other users connected to the same network when such a vulnerability has been identified.

Helps you optimize IT costs by identifying redundant purchases

When you use an asset discovery tool, it becomes much easier to track all the devices, applications and related licenses in one place. It’s fairly common to see companies spending too much on their IT infrastructure without realizing that some of their purchases are redundant or irrelevant. Using such tools, it will become easier to monitor these aspects.

For example, if two users in the company are purchasing different project management tools, you can remove one of these purchases. This practice ensures that all internal users are working with similar applications and there are no unnecessary expenses.

Generates automated reports and monitors assets continuously

It is crucial to have access to comprehensive reports that detail every aspect of your infrastructure. When you use a discovery tool that generates these automatically at specified time intervals, it frees up your IT team to focus on more pressing tasks. It also ensures that they have a hold on every single asset at any given point. This capability in turn allows them to identify issues in time—ensuring effective monitoring 24×7.

Manage your network infrastructure with Virima

Network asset discovery is a crucial part of any IT infrastructure management strategy. It allows you to keep track of all your servers, switches, and other devices to ensure they are working correctly. 

This aspect is vital if there are any problems with these devices. It can cause major disruptions in productivity or even security breaches if not addressed quickly enough. Businesses need this information because it is vital to understand what they are working with when it comes to the hardware side of things.

For example, you can use Virima’s asset discovery tool that helps you scan multiple environments like data centers, cloud, and edge to gather all your assets in one place. Moreover, it ensures that your data and credentials are always encrypted, using secure discovery at every step. 

You can also use agent-based or agentless network discovery based on your needs, as each option has pros and cons. When you take advantage of both probe types, you can access a broad range of devices on your network.

This process’s primary advantage is that it uncovers information about these devices in real time, including vendor, model, and serial numbers. It will help you keep track of all the devices on your network, which is especially useful in an organization with many different types of employees or user groups.If you are looking for a network asset discovery tool for your business, schedule a demo with us today.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

More to Explore

Table of contentsWhy does your business need automated asset discovery?Benefits of automated IT asset discovery1. Complete visibility into assets and better management3. Reduces time and cost of asset maintenance4. Improves overall performance5. Provides up-to-date information of assets in your networkGet…

Table of contentsSimplified inventory management of IT assetsRobust handling of support ticketsReliable data on cost structure and asset utilizationUnderstand your network architecture and stay compliantComprehensive reporting on IT assetsReduced time to project completionManage your projects with Virima The role of…

In today's competitive business world, anything less than optimal efficiency can create a big problem for the continuity of your operations. That's why businesses are increasingly adopting IT asset management (ITAM) tools as part of their tech stack. When companies…

Table of contentsHow does a service map work and why do you need it?ViVID™ Service Mapping: What is it and how does it work?1. Helps your organization reduce risks associated with change 2. Equips you to deal effectively with incidents and…

Table of contentsKey service mapping challenges 1. Inability to establish the correlation between infrastructure, applications, and configuration items (CIs)2. Use of outdated workflows for maintaining configuration management databases (CMDBs)3. Use of manual and error-prone processes4. Difficulty in mapping peripheral dependencies5.…

Table of contentsWhy do companies need a CMDB?Change management and controlDisaster recoveryIT governanceVisibility into the business5 common CMDB challenges and how to get past them1. Inaccurate discovery of virtual and cloud assets2. The maintenance of CI data is a challenge3.…

Table of contentsWhat is network asset discovery?Challenges of managing software assetsLack of visibility into the entire IT infrastructureRegular asset failure leads to a longer downtime durationUnnecessary disruptions to IT servicesApplications and programs freeze oftenIncreasing costs of using and managing IT…

The cloud is a new frontier. An accurate, well-maintained Configuration Management Database (CMDB) can help to reduce the risks of the cloud transition and support day-to-day operations and maintenance processes. This article analyzes whether you need a cloud CMDB. As you…

Table of contentsWhat is service delivery?Challenges of IT service deliveryData is scattered across multiple systems, and teamDifficult to identify bottlenecks in the process lifecycleLack of technical support for internal teamsInability to meet service level agreements consistentlyThe ITIL 4 service value…

Table of contentsWhat is service mapping?InfrastructureApplicationsDependent servicesPeopleSettingsHow does service mapping work?Pattern-based discoveryTraffic-based discoveryHow service mapping helps your businessVisibilityAccuracyEfficiency Flexibility Benefits of service mappingEnsures quality incident, change, and management processesHelps track outages and their impactImproves resolution time of infrastructure issuesMaps services with minimum…

Before you delve headlong into service mapping implementation, it is imperative that you properly prepare the necessary elements for the same. Business service mapping is a robust process that can help you efficiently manage your IT infrastructure. It allows you…

Table of contentsManual vs. automated IT discovery8 reasons why you need an automated IT discovery toolConsolidate data from multiple sources within your IT networkImplement process optimization and tighten up internal asset managementAvoid errors due to manual IT asset auditsEliminate unknowns…

Table of contentsWhat is CMDB?The criticality of CMDB for organizationsChallenges of CMDB dataData from multiple sourcesNoisy dataLack of tracking usageCloud adoption challengesLack of license trackingLack of automated CMDBs Determining your CMDB’s accuracyNo impact on network or device performanceAutomatic application dependency and…

Table of contentsWhy do you need ServiceNow Discovery?IT asset discovery fundamentalsDeployment and support ease of IT Service ManagementServiceNow ITSM integrationDiscovered attributes of IT change management:Choose the right discovery toolEvaluate your requirements Virima: A constant in IT discovery services ServiceNow Discovery may…

Table of contentsServiceNow competitors may be right for you!ServiceNow pros and consThe ProsThe ConsWhat are ServiceNow competitors offering? Having a Configuration Management DatabaseWhy do CMDB initiatives fail often?Application and service dependency mappingWhat if investment in ServiceNow ITSM has already been made?What…

Table of contentsIT Problem Management: What it is and is not IncidentProblemThe phases in ITIL 4 incident managementProactive problem management: An elusive goalVirima: Your partner for comprehensive IT management The ITIL 4 Incident and Problem Management process is made up of…

Table of contentsFunctions of a CI in configuration managementWhy configuration items matter in CMDBVirima: Your partner for unmatched  IT management An ITIL configuration item (CI) is a basic building block for your Configuration Management Database (CMDB). And your ITIL CMDB…

What is service mapping? To understand the business value of IT service mapping, it's important to shift to a service delivery mindset, rather than thinking about delivering infrastructure, equipment, software, and applications. Defining services is relatively simple if it is…

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) contains information about the enterprise's logical and physical assets. Modern service management platforms provide core functionality referenced by all service management practices, including business-facing rules. As a result of its core functionality, the role of…

A previous post discussed “The problems with your problem management” and some of the obstacles standing between your organization and true, proactive problem management. This post delves deeper into some of those obstacles and offers recommendations to help you address…

Table of contentsWhat is CMDB, and why is it important for your cloud initiatives?CMDBs and change managementCMDBs and incident managementCMDBs and problem managementCompliance reporting made easy with CMDBsImpact analysis with CMDBs and cloud assetsMake better, fact-based decisions with Virima for…

Table of contentsHow does asset discovery work?What types of IT assets can you discover?NetworksServersPCs, laptops, and mobile devicesBenefits of IT asset discoveryLess time spent on cataloging IT assetsBetter and detailed IT reportsStreamlined IT asset acquisitionEnsuring compliance with security policies A single…

Table of contentsWhy stakeholder communications are importantHow to prepare for incident communicationIncident management best practicesCommunication plan High-quality major incident management communication plan Using visualizations in stakeholder communicationsIncident mitigation with visualizations Virima can help you with incident management Incidents are a part of business,…

Table of contentsAsset managementTracking and labeling assets’ locations and states through an asset register Tracking and managing software licenses Managing end-user devicesKeeping tabs and handling decommissioned assetsConfiguration managementIdentifying configuration items in the CMS Controlling  and managing all changes made to assets Understanding impact on…

Some people think that an IT service desk is the same thing as an IT help desk. It isn’t and we’re  going to explain the difference between service desk and help desk. Sure, there are some similarities, but there are…

Table of contentsA CMDB tool can maintain all other tools What is CMDB in ServiceNow?What are ServiceNow CMDB best practices?A few ServiceNow CMDB best practices include:Defining your goalsForming a configuration management teamEstablishing a governance structureUnderstanding configuration item designIntegrating with key business…

IT asset management (ITAM) and inventory management are both useful practices that can benefit any organization using IT. Inventory management can exist without IT asset management, and in fact, it does in many organizations as it has been in existence…

Table of contentsStep 1. Determine business objectivesStep 2. CMDB discovery toolsStep 3. ITSM system integrationStep 4. Equip data owners/data stewards with the right toolsStep 5. Data management and retention planStep 6. CMDB: data visualizationLearn more about these steps by watching…

Incident management is crucial while dealing with major incidents. They are the crises that have widespread impacts on your employees, disrupt your operations, and impact your ability to deliver on customer expectations.  While you may assume your company is prepared…

Table of contentsUnderstanding business service mappingA modern approach to business service dependency mappingDiscovery planning processUse casesVirima simplifies service mapping and IT discovery Business service mapping is the area of configuration management that perplexes so many IT professionals. Yet, it provides…

Understanding the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and its core functions is a critical aspect of service management. The CMDB forms the hub of numerous service management practices and provides a means of correlation needed to deliver business services successfully.   The…