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Managing Offline IT Assets: What’s Wrong with Spreadsheets?

by on April 2, 2014

ImageIt doesn’t matter what day, what year, what the weather is outside, when I am talking to people about how they are managing their offline IT assets, I keep hearing “oh, we are using spreadsheets”. This kills me! Even as a fan of spreadsheets for most of my work day activities and personal life, I still would never advise operators to track assets by using Excel Spreadsheets.

Whether you are tracking tapes, hard drives, switches, servers or anything else in your data center, manually managing your offline IT assets leaves you susceptible to a great deal of risk, excess costs and other implications.

    – Administrative Costs: You may be tracking hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of assets manually and the time you spend manually inputting data, or responding to audits or locating data results in excess costs.

    – Human Error: Autosave or the control Z function only works so many times before you run out of lives! By using spreadsheets, you are putting a lot of faith into everyone who is updating the spreadsheet(s) that they are doing so with 100% accuracy.

    – Chain of Custody: It is close to impossible to determine the “who, what, when and where” actions that were performed on the assets within spreadsheets. Simply, there is a lack of an audit trail and transfer of ownership for the tasks done to the assets.

    – Locating Assets: Without a central repository of all of your offline assets, it is very difficult and time consuming to locate assets and determine their status.

    – Security Breach: I don’t know why I saved this one for last because I consider this the worst case scenario. Taking into account all of the above points and without automated procedures for assets to follow, you are susceptible to a security breach. For example, you could lose an asset, an asset may be stolen, or you may not wipe information prior to reselling an asset. Following a security breach, your company may be impacted by fines, litigation, the tarnishing of your company and loss of trust by those aware of the breach.

Updating information on the constant movement and changing statuses of offline assets within spreadsheets is a lot of work. And that work is only going to get more difficult and time consuming as your organization continues to grow.

Offline assets may be data bearing assets, such as tapes and hard drives, and if they end up in the wrong hands, will expose sensitive company information. Companies need to know that assets are in the right place and that their data is secure. Using automated procedures eliminates all of the concerns above and puts you in a place where you are ready to handle more assets as your company grows. If you want to learn about how you can automate offline IT asset management, visit our product pages on

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