Not long ago, the term inventory or inventory management was restricted to warehousing, logistics, supply chain, and other usual suspects. Indeed, terms like IT asset management (ITAM) or IT inventory management have been around for a while. However, with the proliferation of mobile devices across workplaces, which are organizational IT assets after all, the term mobile device inventory management has gained significant traction.
So, how to create a device inventory? Why is it essential for IT admins? How does a mobile device management (MDM) solution fit into the device inventory scheme of things? This blog intends to provide all these answers.
Why Create a Device Inventory and What Are Its Benefits
In its initial days, ITAM was mostly about assets like devices in server rooms where IT geeks were found daily all day. But as things get intricate in modern workplaces with mobile-first strategies, IT teams must see mobile devices (corporate – or employee-owned) as IT assets. Hence, the significance of maintaining a meticulous device inventory is of high magnitude, especially in environments of contemporary business and IT operations.
A comprehensive device inventory serves as the bedrock upon which an organization’s technological infrastructure is built. This inventory encapsulates a record of the hardware and software components and plays a pivotal role in the seamless functionality of an organization’s mobile devices.
A. Operational Efficiency
A well-curated device inventory facilitates resource optimization by providing a real-time overview of the organization’s technological assets. This insight enables IT administrators to allocate resources judiciously, ensuring devices are utilized to their fullest potential.
Armed with a comprehensive device inventory, IT administrators can proactively schedule maintenance tasks, preventing potential downtimes. Regular maintenance extends the lifespan of devices and ensures they function at peak performance levels.
B. Security and Compliance
The device inventory forms the cornerstone of a robust cybersecurity strategy. By having a detailed account of all devices connected to the network, IT administrators can swiftly identify and mitigate security threats, ranging from unauthorized access to potential malware infiltrations.
Regulations and standards across industries are more prevalent than ever. A well-maintained device inventory aids organizations in adhering to industry standards and legal requirements. It provides the necessary documentation to showcase compliance with data protection laws and other industry-specific regulations.
C. Strategic Decision-Making
The device inventory acts as a strategic tool for budget planning. By understanding device lifecycle and replacement needs, organizations can allocate budgets more effectively, ensuring technological investments align with broader business objectives.
A forward-looking device inventory serves as a guide for formulating a technology roadmap. It assists in identifying opportunities for upgrades, new device acquisitions, and the integration of emerging technologies, thereby keeping the organization at the forefront of being future-ready.
D. User Experience Enhancement
An up-to-date device inventory streamlines user support processes. IT administrators can swiftly identify and resolve issues, reducing downtime and enhancing the overall user experience. This, in turn, contributes to increased productivity across various departments.
Personalization and Customization
With a nuanced understanding of the devices at their disposal, organizations can tailor user experiences to individual preferences. This personalization fosters a positive work environment and encourages user satisfaction, ultimately contributing to employee retention and organizational success.
How to Create a Device Inventory with MDM
All the above benefits sound great, don’t they? But nothing great happens in a day. Creating a device inventory requires IT efforts, and when the number of devices is large, it requires time and effort. Before an MDM solution comes into play, IT admins must do their homework right.
Here’s a tour of how to create a device inventory. Note that the role of MDM begins after the first step.
A. Assessment and Documentation
Conducting an Inventory Assessment to Identify Existing Devices
- Initiate the process by conducting a thorough inventory assessment to identify all existing devices within the organization. Collaborate with department heads and IT staff to comprehensively understand the current device landscape.
- Create a detailed list capturing essential device information, including make, model, IMEI/serial number, operating system, and user assignment. This meticulous documentation lays the foundation for accurate device tracking and management.
Documenting Device Details
- Develop a standardized template for documenting device details to maintain consistency across the inventory.
- Assign unique identifiers to each device for easy tracking and reference. Ensure user information is associated with each device entry, facilitating efficient communication with end users during the enrollment and configuration processes.
Once this step is accomplished, here’s how to select the right MDM software for your organization.
Post-MDM software selection, the pathway to creating a mobile device inventory is as follows.
B. Device Enrollment
Establishing a Streamlined Process for Device Enrollment
- Begin by defining a straightforward and user-friendly device enrollment process. Simplify the steps involved to minimize user confusion and enhance efficiency.
- Leverage the capabilities of your chosen MDM solution to facilitate over-the-air (zero-touch/OOB) enrollment. This reduces the burden on IT administrators and ensures a seamless onboarding experience for users.
- Consider implementing user-based enrollment options (QR code, email, 6-tap, etc.) where users can register their devices with minimal IT intervention, fostering a sense of autonomy and convenience.
Leveraging Automation to Minimize Manual Intervention
- One popular and most common way to leverage automation is to extract device inventory via CSV files.
- Utilize enrollment profiles that preconfigure device settings based on user roles or departments. This ensures consistency in configurations and compliance with organizational policies.
- Regularly update and refine the automation scripts to adapt to evolving device and security requirements, maintaining a proactive approach to device management.
C. Configuration and Customization
Implementing Standardized Configurations for Devices
- Define standardized configurations for different device types and operating systems within your MDM solution. This ensures uniformity across the organization and simplifies troubleshooting processes.
- Categorize devices (or device groups) based on their functions (e.g., sales, marketing, or administration) and establish configuration profiles tailored to each category. This targeted approach enhances user experience and optimizes device performance.
- Regularly review and update configuration templates to align with industry best practices.
Customizing Settings Based on Departmental Requirements
- Acknowledge the diverse needs of various departments within your organization. Customize MDM settings to align with the unique requirements of each department, accommodating specific applications, security protocols, and functionalities.
- Collaborate with department heads to gain insights into the distinct workflows and preferences of their teams. This collaboration ensures that configurations enhance, rather than impede, departmental productivity.
- Document and communicate customized settings to relevant stakeholders for transparency and understanding across the organization.
D. Security Protocols Implementation
Enforcing Passcode Policies and Device Encryption
- Set stringent passcode policies through your MDM solution to fortify device security. Consider parameters such as complexity, expiration, and auto-lock duration to enhance protection against unauthorized access.
- Activate device encryption protocols to safeguard sensitive data. Encryption serves as a crucial defense layer, especially in device loss or theft, ensuring corporate information remains confidential.
Setting Up Geofencing and Compliance Checks
- Leverage geofencing features within your MDM solution to define virtual boundaries for device usage. This is particularly valuable for organizations with specific location-based restrictions or regulations.
- Regularly conduct compliance checks to ensure devices adhere to established security and usage policies (AUP). Automated checks can swiftly identify and address non-compliant devices, mitigating potential security risks and maintaining regulatory compliance.
E. Application Management
Creating an Inventory of Approved Business Applications
- Develop a curated inventory of business applications deemed essential for organizational workflows. Clearly define a list of approved applications, ensuring compatibility with your MDM solution for seamless management.
- Regularly update the inventory to reflect changes in application usage patterns and business requirements. Consider feedback from end users and departmental heads to refine the list and improve overall efficiency.
Implementing Automated App Deployment and Updates
- Harness the power of your MDM solution to automate the deployment of approved applications to relevant devices. This tones down the IT workload and ensures users access the latest tools required for their roles.
- Enable automatic updates for business applications to maintain security and compatibility. Timely updates address vulnerabilities and enhance features, contributing to a secure and efficient mobile device ecosystem.
Create, maintain, and manage your device Inventory with Scalefusion MDM.
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