By Colin Bartram, Director of Technology, Vector Networks (Page 3 of 6)

ITIL – the role for Location Information

If for the moment we can presume that the reader is already convinced of the nightmare of physical assets and data on the loose, we can look in parallel at the idea that Location information can have wider application and value in overall management and exploitation of IT assets.

Many organizations handle IT assets separately from the management of ‘Fixed Assets’. It's easy to point to the peculiar nature of software as the main reason for this, but many IT assets are so mobile they tend to physically disappear from view within hours of arriving in the organization – which makes inclusion in ‘Fixed Assets’ just a little ironic. So the term IT Asset Management has evolved for the collection of capabilities and functions needed to properly quantify, regulate and exploit IT hardware and software items in line with the needs of the business.

It is hard today to consider IT Asset Management without thinking about ITIL. As an instance, ITIL stresses the importance of Change Management procedures, and a good ITAM system will support those procedures through automatic change recognition, permitting reconciliation with the change process management systems. Change management is normally associated with changes of configuration, but if we accept that location is an important asset characteristic then current asset location is also required.

As an operational example of the importance of location information, if a Change or Configuration Management report indicates a laptop escaped a recent patch or AV update, but that system is not live on the network, you ideally need to know where it is so the deficiency can be fixed before it causes problems such as introducing a virus to the network. Until the huge penalties of security breaches arrived on the scene to justify the introduction of locator technology, managers had to do without this information.

In this context, the natural repository for the new location information is the ITAM (or the full CMDB) database, from where it can be extracted through the various Change, Service etc process management interfaces. Vector believes it makes sense to adopt the principle that the introduction of an asset location scheme should include the sharing of that data with the database(s) that underpin the organization's Service Management, Change Management, Incident Management, Configuration Management and Asset Management procedures. In short, Location matters in ITIL.

Next page: The Value of Location Information in IT Operations »

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