IT Hardware Auditing Service

Government Department

“IT Hardware Auditing Service for a UK Government Agency, “By utilising Capital who have a UK wide coverage, we could ensure continuity and accuracy across all sites.” – IT Service Management

The Problem

With an ever evolving estate, split over 38 sites across the UK, the need to have an accurate inventory of all client devices is paramount. It was decided that a scheduled approach where dedicated locations were to be visited on a monthly basis, this allowed all parties involved to communicate to the users of the relevant offices to ensure they were prepared for the upcoming visits & IT hardware audits.

Added to this there was an element of home/mobile workers which had to be captured. As the end client worked within a sensitive environment the staff had to be vetted and were required to carry a level of Government Clearance. Added to this there was a requirement to capture Network Devices along with any erroneous pieces of equipment located on site, regardless if this was connected to the network or not.

Site LocationInformed HeadcountEstimated QuantityActual QuantityAccuracy Percentage
Manchester151680103365%
Nottingham5524763539%
Chatham3616430254%

Challenges

As this department had an element of fixed, mobile and home users, it created an initial challenge to ensure all; relevant staff were captured within the allocated timescale. The plan was to run 2 separate audit services simultaneously, one would be an actual visit to the designated sites to capture the ‘fixed assets’ and the second would be captured via the designing and building of a secure web form, where the information would then be transferred into the same document prior to submitting this back to the client.

This form had to be secure due to the nature of the client and allow them the confidently allow their staff to submit the required details, as the users were not all technically aware of the requirements, it also had to be extremely user-friendly and easy to use. Due to the unknown capabilities for all potential users, the secure web page had to be constructed in a way which ‘walked them through’ each stage of the process.

The only information that was available for scheduling the relevant resources to capture the fixed assets, were the estimated head count per each office. This was not always accurate and with each user having up to 4 devices, the actual quantity on site was expected to be higher but the client was not aware by how much.

Added to this the multiple Heads of Department and Company’s involved trying to achieve continuity at a top level was challenging due to the numerous reasons why this service was required. Gaining access to the users devices, whilst not being a disruption is always a challenge, added to this the nature of the environment which they work, planned visits on specific days, was the agreed approach. Additionally the unknown element of the Network Devices, their accessibility and location was potentially problematic.

Due to the nature of a mobile estate, the possibility of movement of devices is part of todays business life, there had to be an agreed timeframe for each location to be completed which allowed a level of accuracy which the client was looking for. To enable the client to receive the data, a process had to be agreed where this can be transferred safely and securely in a timely manner upon completion of each site.

Solution

As the client was unable to provide an extract of potential devices a new Data Capture form was designed and approved by all parties. Once this aspect had been agreed the construction of the online secure form could commence. It was agreed to design this as an ‘Acordeon’ style, this would allow the form to be extensive without the user feeling overwhelmed by the look. This form was branded with the company details and logos along with information should they have any submission issues. The form also had to be non-indexed to ensure this could not be found within any Internet Search Engines.

Due to the uncertainty of the quantity of devices it was agreed by all parties that a site would be completed on each day, this allowed for an element of device increase. For any site which already had more than 1 day allocated to it, a contingency day was allocated, this was usually the following day, so not to cause any more disturbance to the users. It was also agreed that the staff would concentrate on the mobile devices who were present, as the fixed devices could be captured anytime.

To ensure that everyone associated with the relevant site was aware of their requirement, a communication email was sent out to all concerned, this provided them with the link to the secure form, a help guide as to how to complete it, along with a deadline for when the submissions were required by.

It also informed the office users when the audits would be completed and who the staff were that were attending. It was thought that the sites needed 2 weeks notice in advance and the portal would be open for at least 3 weeks, with it closing at the end of the week of the on-site visit, as we were able to provide the relevant management a list of the submissions received to date.

The data had to be returned securely due to the sensitive details which were captured. Alongside the captured Audit Data, Capital also provided a detailed report of the relevant location alongside photographic evidence of the network devices, concentrating on their location, accessibility, availability and its status.

This assisted the client in planning for future networking projects. During the visits Capital’s national service team also included a report of any device which was not networked as these should be returned for re-deployment or disposal. This proved invaluable to the client as it allowed them to see the full estate and stopped an element of additional purchasing which was not needed.

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