Across a distributed estate this can be a very difficult question to answer accurately

A quick quiz:

  1. How many Switches, Routers, Access Points, Servers & PCs are in your IT estate?
  2. Where are they physically located and are they in use?
  3. How many spare LAN switch ports do you have available for new projects?
  4. How many WAN circuits are you paying for and not using?
  5. do you have a current state assessment for physical PCi compliance?
  6. Are you paying for maintenance contracts on redundant or non-existent equipment?
  7. Do you have any rogue or unsanctioned devices connected to your network?
  8. How physically secure are your comms rooms and network equipment?Are there any dead-spots or capacity issues in your Wireless network?

In reality most IT Managers would either answer “don’t know” or at best take an educated guess as keeping an up to date inventory is really difficult and can be time consuming for your limited in-house resources!
Why? Because business is complicated and it doesn’t stand still. Companies change and as they add employees they add PCs, phones and software licences, and, eventually, servers, storage and bandwidth. When headcount is reduced, those systems and services aren’t always decommissioned. Staff often use their own devices to access systems, particularly online systems and they will often use non-sanctioned services to get the job done, whether that’s sharing a huge file that the corporate email system won’t allow or running a personal organiser app on their smartphones.
Mergers and acquisitions usually mean an IT mismatch as hardware and software vendors are thrown together and making sense of the combination can take years, if ever. But sooner or later, whatever has led to your IT jungle, there needs to be a reckoning, a thinning out, a spring clean.
Now is as good a time as any to be figuring out what you’re running, what is past its sell-by date, what the risks of de-commissioning are, your dependencies and so on. With GDPR approaching you won’t be alone in trying to untangle the IT spaghetti, sort the wheat from the chaff and create unity and a holistic outlook where siloes have long prevailed.
And it’s not just the physical, visible stuff, the LANs, WANs, devices, printers and scanners, the  keyboards and mice, and CCTV cameras. It’s also the logical, the insights into network performance, where WiFi is reaching and where it’s not, quality of service arrangements, terms and conditions of outsourcing or maintenance arrangements and when licences are up for renewal.
Where there are unknowns there are risks, but there are also opportunities to save money by consolidating and reducing maintenance contracts, disposing of unused or redundant equipment, cancelling unused circuits and lines, reducing power consumption and cooling costs and removing the need to blindly add additional capacity where it is not required!
The good, the bad and the indifferent … total visibility for the IT infrastructure
One approach is to follow a four-step process we call PARC