Network Inventory

What is Network Inventory

Network inventory is essentially a catalog of all devices linked to a network. These devices can range from computers and servers to routers and printers. The depth of information collected about these assets can vary, depending on the inventory tool used and the level of access it has.

At its simplest, a network inventory is a basic list of devices. However, it can become more intricate, containing detailed data such as software installations, hotfixes, Windows events, and serial numbers.

Network Inventory

Implementing Network Inventory

There are two primary methods for collecting network inventory: using scanning agents or employing agentless scanners.

Scanning agents necessitate deployment on each networked computer. These agents scan the respective devices and relay the collected information to a central database. One advantage is that scanning agents don’t require direct device connections, bypassing potential firewall and antivirus issues. However, managing and updating agents on all network devices can be cumbersome.

In contrast, agentless scanners operate from a central installation and don’t require software installation on each device. If your network is well-configured and maintained, an agentless scanner is often more convenient.

Benefits of Network Inventory

Effective network inventory management offers numerous benefits:

  • Software License Compliance: Keeping track of software installations helps ensure compliance with licensing agreements, saving money and avoiding legal issues.
  • Efficient Troubleshooting: With a comprehensive inventory, IT professionals can quickly identify software issues when users report problems, streamlining the troubleshooting process.
  • Loss Prevention: Knowledge of who has access to specific software licenses can prevent unauthorized installations and losses.
  • Bandwidth Optimization: Monitoring software usage helps in optimizing bandwidth and prevents network congestion.
  • Change Tracking: Network inventory keeps a record of changes, making it easier to identify security vulnerabilities and troubleshoot problems.
  • Capacity Planning: It aids in estimating network size, capacity planning, and cost estimation.
  • Inventory Across Multiple Networks: For organizations with multiple sites, network inventory can provide snapshots for each location, enabling effective management and planning.

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