Notions about auditing and inventories (part one)

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An inventory is an operation allowing to collect the maximum information on the computer park in the shortest amount of time.

There are three types of inventories:

  • Initial inventory: this is the longest. It is a question of registering all the hardware and software managed and requires most of the time to pass “physically” on each PC.
  • Control Inventory: Validate that the managed data is up to date. The control inventory makes it possible to validate that the equipment has not been purchased or set up without informing the IT department.
  • Permanent inventory: it requires the use of automated inventory software that regularly scans (stations every month or every week) the stations connected to the network. This type of inventory makes it possible to monitor the software installations and to protect against the theft of hardware components.

2.Can we do without an inventory?

No. The management of a computer asset base is intended to provide statistical data that will serve as a basis for decision-making.

Do not make inventory at least once for startup would mean that the managed data is unreliable. However, it is not possible to make a reliable decision on piecemeal data.


3.Should we aim for 100% reliability?

No. The data collected by the inventory will never be 100% accurate. An inventory that lasts several days means that there may be changes during the inventory period. New software can be installed after the inventor, inventoried materials, new installed hardware …

But that does not mean that we should not make an inventory. 99% accurate figures are more than sufficient to make informed decisions. In addition to the inventory, it is necessary to implement procedures for tracking changes: notification of arrival of new equipment, reports on the installation of software, etc.


4.Equipment to be inventoried:

To carry out an inventory goes through the definition of the objects to be inventoried. In this respect, the exhaustive list of these materials will be established.

This list will serve as a basis for the construction of repositories, the families of stations and peripherals.

Some constraints must be considered:

  • The more elements to be inventoried, the longer the inventory and the risk of errors.
  • All items must not be inventoried. For example: if the keyboards are not managed in a unitary way, it is perfectly useless to record their serial number. Similarly, if IP addresses are assigned by a DHCP server …


5.Data to be collected:

The details of the information collected depends on the purpose of the inventory. If you want to have a precise technical vision of the park, you will collect more data than if it is a check for updating the tax declaration.

Another crucial element is the tool used. If the inventory is done using a software tool, it costs nothing to collect as much information as possible. If it is done with paper cards, it is recommended to limit yourself to the strict minimum. In this exercise, care must be taken to evaluate this information according to the following criteria: Is the information still valid and to whom is it addressed? (technicians, administrative services …)? How often does it change? Is it essential for the management of the park? Will we be able to make this information live (changes, updates …)?