Trust Your CMDB with Modern Technology Asset ManagementBy: Arthur Lozinski
It's no secret that most IT organizations lack confidence in the accuracy of their Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Inaccurate control over technology asset inventory leads to a slew of issues, including security vulnerabilities resulting from exposed endpoint attack surfaces, the risk of failed audits and non-compliance, and wasteful capital expenditure when replacing unrecovered offboarded employee laptops.
While you may desire your CMDB to serve as the 'single source of truth' for technology assets, it often falls short. In fact, the accuracy of most CMDBs typically hovers around 60%.
Why is this the case?
In today's modern, dynamic technology landscape, complexity stands out as a formidable challenge, rendering the task of maintaining accurate CMDBs increasingly difficult.
CMDBs were introduced during an era characterized by client/server computing when on-premises data centers reigned supreme in the IT data center. This was prior to the advent of cloud virtualization; before the common challenge of paying for unused SaaS licenses; before the deployment of multiple technology management tools storing conflicting data on the same assets; before the ubiquity of employees carrying mobile phones, putting them at risk of phishing attacks; before cybersecurity became a top priority in the minds of every C-suite executive.
The CMDB remains at the core of the Service Management world, with its primary objective being to provide the information necessary to run ITSM processes more efficiently. However, it's crucial to recognize that configuration management is a separate discipline from IT asset management.
Configuration management and IT asset management are different
IT Asset Management (ITAM) oversees the entire lifecycle of an organization's technology assets. It involves maintaining an accurate inventory and monitoring changes, including adjustments in location, ownership, and proper disposal at the end of an asset's life. These technology assets encompass a wide range, including endpoints, SaaS and on-premises applications, security software, networks, and more.
Many companies deal with substantial quantities of assets, ranging from thousands to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands. This customer must manage 40,000 laptops alone. This multitude of assets necessitates tracking numerous interdependencies within a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). While it's common for nearly all Configuration Items (CIs) in a CMDB to also be monitored in an ITAM tool, not all technology assets will be tracked in an ITAM tool.
For example, let’s take three typical assets: A network router, a desktop computer and a keyboard accessory.
- A network router is pivotal in an organization's network infrastructure, directing traffic, ensuring connectivity, and managing configurations. Alterations to its settings can impact network performance and security. Tracking its details, firmware updates, and changes in a CMDB is crucial for network stability and security.
- An office desktop computer is a common end-user device, but changes to a single desktop typically don't broadly impact the organization's IT infrastructure. Thus, tracking every asset related to individual desktops in a CMDB may not be necessary, as they don't significantly influence IT configurations, dependencies, or network-wide changes.
- A keyboard typically lacks interdependencies, making it unlikely to be tracked in a CMDB.
However, all three categories of assets must be tracked by an asset management tool.
Running in-house projects to try to keep the CMDB data accurate
In the age of cloud computing, SaaS, and mobile technology, the IT environment has undergone significant transformations since the inception of the CMDB. Consequently, IT teams are compelled to undertake ongoing projects to adapt the CMDB, aligning it with their ever-evolving technology landscape. These projects often involve extended development cycles, lasting several months to a few years, building highly customized and often rigid solutions.
This approach essentially aims to convert a configuration management database into an asset technology database. But again, these are essentially two different databases with overlap but effectively supporting two different use cases.
Enter Modern Technology Asset Management
An important point to bear in mind is that a CMDB continues to be a vital database for running businesses, particularly concerning its role in supporting the service management realm. What's necessary is for the asset management domain to contribute to improving CMDB accuracy without necessitating lengthy development cycles. This is where Oomnitza's agentless Modern Technology Asset Management (TAM) capability proves invaluable.
Legacy ITAM solutions concentrate on asset counting and tracking, which alone is insufficient for significantly improving CMDB accuracy. In contrast, modern technology asset management offers comprehensive visibility into a company's complete technology asset portfolio. Modern TAM equips organizations with the essential components for automating manual tasks within IT's procedures, ensuring the provision of accurate, real-time data concerning the status, performance, and security of the entire technology asset portfolio.
As a result, Modern Technology Asset Management replaces a substantial portion of manual efforts and tickets linked to routine IT processes with automation, all while enhancing a company's security position and reducing overall costs.
The precise data integrated into a Modern TAM solution can then be leveraged to enhance the precision of CMDB data. The outcome: IT can (finally) trust their CMDBs, improving services delivered to the business, without the need for lengthy and costly IT projects.
In fact, thanks to its agentless architecture and standardized workflows, a company can deploy Oomnitza's standard data hygiene workflows to cleanse its CMDB in less than a week with automation in place to continuously maintain CMDB accuracy.
What's even more compelling is that, in a way, deploying Modern Technology Asset Management essentially makes a company money when you consider the potential savings and return on investment. For example, Carvana saved $600,000 annually by increasing their endpoint recovery rate from 50% to 98% with Oomnitza.
And the cost savings extend beyond that – for instance, one customer reduced their annual SaaS expenditure by 27% by identifying and mitigating unused licenses. Another customer achieved annual savings of over $300K by enhancing IT productivity through automation that eliminated manual tasks. Furthermore, Carvana managed to reduce the risk of human error and the risk of costly rework by 70%.
So, if you're responsible for a CMDB, take a closer look at how Oomnitza's Modern Technology Asset Management can be seamlessly deployed to enhance CMDB accuracy, reduce security vulnerabilities, minimize audit and compliance risks, and, at the same time, contribute to cost reduction.