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IT asset management and inventory tool that works via the web?

Posted on 2009-06-30
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I am looking for an IT asset management and inventory tool so that I can keep track of our hardware and software. I have been searching on the internet and have found numerous applications that will do exactly what I need EXCEPT that they are all LAN / WAN based. All the systems that I have found require that computers be connected to a central server via the LAN or at least via VPN.

This is a problem for me because that vast majority of my machines are laptops in the field. And most of these do not have the option to VPN back to the office becasue they are working onsite at client locations where VPN is blocked.

Several years ago we used a tool called AssetMetrix that was an entirely web-based hosted service. To run an inventory I just sent out an email with a link. Clicking the link took users to a website that ran the agent and uploaded the data. Then I could just log into the site and run my reports. The reports were a little raw but still worked.

AssetMetrix appears to have been purchased by Microsoft and is no longer around. Does anyone know of a similar tool? Does anyone have any experience with auditing computers that are not connected to the network?
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Question by:MosaicRP
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Kamran Arshad
ID: 24752272
Hi,

How many computers are there?
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by:c01000100
ID: 24754005
I suppose it depends on what you are looking to gain from the audit.  McAfee purchased Hercules Server from Citadel.  It's capable of auditing security policies, remediating clients, providing client inventories, and more.  It has a method of pushing the client to remote machines, given that you know administrative credentials, or allowing remote systems to download the Hercules Client from a webpage hosted by the server to be installed by someone with local administrative permissions on a client machine.  It's not a free service, but is fully supported by McAfee.

info from Communications Security Establishment Canada
http://www.cse-cst.gc.ca/its-sti/services/cc/mcafee-hercules-eng.html

It appears that McAfee has split Hercules Server into two products now
info from McAfee about McAfee Policy Auditor
http://www.mcafee.com/us/enterprise/products/risk_and_compliance/policy_auditor.html

info from McAfee about McAfee Remediation Manager
http://www.mcafee.com/us/enterprise/products/risk_and_compliance/remediation_manager.html
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Author Comment

by:MosaicRP
ID: 24755824
@uetian1707: I have almost 100 nodes to audit/inventory. 65 of those are laptops in the field.

@c01000100: I will have a look at those links. I mainly want to know hardware basics and what software is installed where so I can track license compliance.
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Expert Comment

by:c01000100
ID: 24756193
Sounds like this is the tool for you then.  The inventory feature retrieves specifically three categories of information from its clients Hardware, Software, and Services.  This suite though, is highly powered and intended for Enterprise level usage as a remediator, and likely won't be cheap.  For something like hardware and software auditing, there is likely a much more cost-effective solution.
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Author Comment

by:MosaicRP
ID: 24757740
I took a look at the McAfee solution and it appears to be way beyond what I am looking for. Any other ideas?
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Expert Comment

by:c01000100
ID: 24758617
None here.  I would suggest eEyse Retina, but it requires prior knowledge of client IP addresses, and if the client is behind a NAT network, Retina is even more useless.
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MosaicRP earned 0 total points
ID: 24817354
I finally found a solution that I think will work well for our organization. The product is called SAManage and is a hosted service similar to AssetMetrix that we had used some years ago.

It uses a small agent that is extremely simple to deploy. For LAN systems it deploys automatically via startup scripts or group policy or a simple push tool. For remote systems I simply send out a one-time email with an install link.

The agent runs as a background service in Windows that wakes up and "phones home" once a day if the computer is connected to the internet. This means that information in the database is always current.

It provides all the features I was looking for  inventory, easy reporting, license compliance, risk assessment, email alerts. It also has a help desk feature. I'm not sure if I will use that or not.

It's also very inexpensive in my opinion and you can pay month to month with no contracts. I'm still evaluating it but so far it looks like just what I was looking for.
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