This post covers provisioning of resources. Therefore, we cover the topics from a provisioning standpoint, rather than an overall management or design standpoint.
- Asset inventory. You need to have a method for maintaining an accurate inventory of your company’s assets. For example, you need to know how many computers you have and how many installations of each licensed software application you have. Asset inventory helps organizations protect physical assets from theft, maintain software licensing compliance, and account for the inventory (for example, depreciating the assets). There are other benefits too. For example, if a vulnerability is identified in a specific version of an application, you can use your asset inventory to figure out whether you have any installations of the vulnerable version.
- Asset management. Assets, such as computers, desks and software applications, have a lifecycle — simply put, you buy it, you use it and then you retire it. Asset management is the process of managing that lifecycle. You keep track of all your assets, including when you got it, how much you paid for it, its support model and when you need to replace it. For example, asset management can help your IT team figure out which laptops to replace during the next upgrade cycle. It can also help you control costs by finding overlap in hardware, software or other assets.
- Configuration management. Configuration management helps you standardize a configuration across your devices. For example, you can use configuration management software to ensure that all desktop computers have anti-virus software and the latest patches, and that the screen will automatically be locked after 5 minutes of inactivity. The configuration management system should automatically remediate most changes users make to a system. The benefits of configuration management include having a single configuration (for example, all servers have the same baseline services running and the same patch level), being able to manage many systems as a single unit (for example, you can deploy an updated anti-malware application to all servers the same amount of time it takes to deploy it to a single server), and being able to report on the configuration throughout your network (which can help to identify anomalies). Many configuration management solutions are OS-agnostic, meaning that they can be used across Windows, Linux and Mac computers. Without a configuration management solution, the chances of having a consistent and standardized deployment plummets, and you lose the efficiencies of configuring many
computers as a single unit.
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