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What Are the Best Tips for Network Inventory Management?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

A network describes a number of connected computers, servers, and other computer related components. Information Technology (IT) specialists use network inventory management to optimize computer performance, keep track of hardware, and lower cost related to computer damages and repairs. A great starting tip for practicing this kind of inventory management is to determine the needs of your network dictated by its size. Next, it is a good idea to develop a practical tracking system for hardware and to optimize the processes for program updates, troubleshooting, and repair services.

There are two basic kinds of networks. Local Area Networks (LANs) comprise computers, servers, printers, and other related components within one location, such as an office. Wide Area Networks (WANs), on the other hand, are made up of computers and related devices that may be in several different geographic locations. The size of your network can determine which tips are best for network inventory management.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

IT professionals who are dealing with LANs may prefer to assign each device an ID number that can be manually recorded. These networks tend to be small and may allow for professionals to work with each individual device. For example, if one workstation is performing slowly, an IT professional may need only walk down the hallway to check the health of the computer.

A network inventory management system for a WAN may be much more complex. IT professionals in these contexts may choose to use remote control functions that allow them to access a computer's operating system from another location. Likewise, tracking computers in a large network may be best achieved through the use of bar codes that allow for digital recording of network components.

A good tip for both kinds of networks is to create an automatic updating system that operates on a large number of computers at once. It can be more efficient if a network inventory management system includes upgrades to operating systems and security programs that occur at times when there is little network activity. This method can cut back on the number of IT workers, reducing labor costs.

It can be expensive to keep multiple in-house IT technicians on staff to troubleshoot and perform repairs. For this reason, a good tip may be to install troubleshooting programs that allow workstation users to solve potential problems. Automatic virus scans can reduce the risk of malfunctioning computers.

Larger companies often choose to outsource their network inventory management. The cost of hiring an outside company to keep records of devices and track their performances can be much less than doing so in-house. Smaller companies with inventories that are more manageable may find that a small IT department of several employees can handle workloads.

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