IT asset discovery vs. service mapping debate: Which one is right for your business?
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IT asset discovery vs. service mapping debate: Which one is right for your business?

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To run a successful IT environment, you need to manage your assets. This includes everything from computers and hardware to software licenses and network peripherals. Here comes IT asset discovery and service mapping.

You may already be familiar with service mapping tools, which help you keep track of IT assets. But if you want to go beyond just identifying what’s out there, asset discovery is the way to go. 

Here we’ll explore the differences between these two approaches and show how they work together in an organization’s overall end-to-end solution for managing its technology infrastructure.

What is IT asset discovery?

IT asset discovery is a software tool that helps you find the hardware and software that your organization has in use. Also, it can run as a standalone tool or as part of a larger solution. It is a process of cataloging your hardware and software assets.

This is important because when you know what’s in your IT environment, you’ll be able to better manage it. If you have a problem, it’s easier to troubleshoot when you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

You can also use the data from your discovery process in reports and other internal documents to help with budgeting, compliance, and other management tasks.

Read: Is agent-based discovery helpful for your business?

What is service mapping?

IT service mapping is an approach to IT management that uses information about assets, services and relationships between them to enable better decision making about how best to plan for change within your network.

You can use service maps to depict the relationships between various business services. They can also identify redundant or outdated technology in your organization. This understanding illuminates how your technology is configured, what changes you need to make, and who manages each system part.

Why is asset discovery important?

IT asset discovery is a key component of IT asset management. It’s important for several reasons, including:

  • You can’t manage what you don’t know. If your organization doesn’t have a clear picture of its IT assets, it’s impossible to know which ones are in use and which ones are sitting around gathering dust. This means that there will likely be gaps in security coverage and compliance efforts as well as wasted money spent on unnecessary services or products.
  • Asset discovery identifies the location of your assets to manage them effectively throughout their lifecycle—from procurement to retirement—and ensures that they meet all standards, such as data security requirements, during this process.

How does asset discovery work?

Asset discovery is the process of identifying what assets are present in your environment. Asset discovery software collects data from a variety of sources, including network devices, operating systems, and databases. The software analyzes the collected data to determine each asset’s location, age, configuration, and other characteristics.

You can perform asset discovery either manually or automatically using an automated tool, with or without agents.

Manual methods involve reviewing documentation or interviewing employees who regularly work with specific applications or systems. These employees share their knowledge about how end-users use these applications. However, this approach is time-consuming as it relies on human input which may not always be accurate. People often forget details about how things work over time. This is particularly true when significant changes have been made to these systems or applications since they last worked with them.

How to prevent data breaches with IT discovery?

Why is service mapping important?

Mapping your IT services can be a big undertaking, but it’s worth it. The purpose of IT service mapping is to identify relationships between services, the components that make up those services, and how they interact with each other. It also helps to point out where outages occur and the impact of those outages.

When a service fails to work, IT professionals need to know which other services rely on it in order to fix the problem quickly.

The IT service mapping tool automates this process by scanning your network and identifying all the devices that contain services. It then lists them in a tree structure so that you can see how each service is connected.

The tool also makes it easy for you to add or remove services from your map without having to manually update any records. This saves time because you won’t have to manually enter information about every service into multiple databases.

Read: Why service mapping is crucial to your change management plan?

How does service mapping work?

Service mapping is a process that helps you understand and manage the services that your IT infrastructure provides. It uses a variety of methods to gather information about your application’s endpoints, including the network ports they use to communicate with other applications or systems.

Service mapping deploys various methods for creating application services.The primary method of service mapping is to use patterns. You create a pattern once, and then apply (or map) it to other devices or applications. After mapping a device or application, you can monitor and manage it just like any other device or application in your network.

IT discovery vs service mapping

You should collaborate with your technical staff to develop a plan for their use within your environment. This plan must include an understanding of which assets you need to map and the mapping process. Your team may need to customize some aspects to ensure accurate results, but they can easily accomplish this.

Furthermore, you must emphasize that substituting one for another is not an option.

The differences between IT discovery and service mapping include:

ScopeIT discoveryService mapping
ApproachWith asset discovery, you can uncover your customers’ devices that are on the network. This includes desktops, laptops, printers, servers, routers, and switches.IT service mapping is a process that identifies and documents all of the IT services that are in use by an organization. The goal is to map them to their respective customer devices. This information can be used to help determine which devices should be inventoried as part of asset discovery, which is the process of discovering all hardware assets that are on a network.
VisibilityWhen you need to know exactly what’s on your network, asset discovery is the way to go. The IT asset discovery process is the first step in ensuring that you have a complete and accurate inventory of your hardware and software assets.
The IT asset discovery process provides visibility across data center infrastructure, virtual assets, cloud resources, and helps you find which asset resides where. With this information, you can make informed decisions about how to manage your IT resources.
Service mapping is typically conducted in two phases: discovery and analysis. The discovery phase involves identifying all of the different components that make up an IT service. The analysis phase involves documenting how each component interacts with other components and how these interactions affect end users. This documentation becomes part of the blueprint for building new application components or updating existing ones with new functionality.
ComplianceIT asset discovery safeguards a company from the dangers of unlicensed software and malware by identifying all the devices that access its network and collecting information about them—including their operating system version, hardware specifications, installed applications and patch history—to build an inventory of all the devices that are connected to its network. This inventory can then be used for risk assessment purposes.The service mapping tool makes it easy to identify critical services and infrastructure, as well as establish recovery processes for each one. This tool will allow you to document the dependencies between systems and processes, helping you make more informed decisions about how to protect your business from disruption and achieve regulatory compliance.
CMDB updatesIT discovery locates devices and applications in your network and stores them in the CMDB. This helps you have distinct visibility into the services you’re providing to your customers, so you can keep them updated as needed.A service map provides a visual representation of your services’ configuration information, including what components make up your service, how those components interact, who owns each component, how often each component is updated, and dependencies between components.

Why isn’t just service mapping enough?

Service mapping is a good way to visualize the relationships between services, but it doesn’t show you what the services are. If you’re looking for an inventory of your IT assets, service mapping won’t help you much.

If you want to know what assets are being used by which users and teams within your organization, then asset discovery tools will be more appropriate than just service mapping software.

Find out: What type of service mapping works best for your organization?

A full-featured solution for asset discovery should have the following features:

  • Automated discovery and inventory of all software assets, including hardware and network devices.
  • Automated discovery and inventory of all hardware assets (servers, desktops, laptops).

With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right software for your organization’s needs.

One of the most important parts of any IT project is making sure you have the right tool for the job. When it comes to asset discovery and service mapping, there are many options available. This can make it difficult for organizations to choose the right software for their needs.

When choosing an IT asset discovery or service mapping software solution, consider:

  • Cost – How much does it cost? Will your company be able to afford it?
  • Scalability – Is this solution scalable enough for future growth in your organization’s size and complexity? Does this solution have enough flexibility so that as business conditions change over time, this tool will still be able to adapt easily without requiring major changes or upgrades?
  • Integration – Will the solution integrate seamlessly with your existing systems or other systems you might add in future?

Put your trust in Virima’s all-in-one asset discovery solution

The bottom line is that you need to be able to discover your IT assets, and then use that information to better manage them. You can do this with service mapping or asset discovery software, but it’s more important that you choose the right tool for your organization’s needs than whether it’s one or the other. 

What would it be like to have a complete, accurate and visual CMDB? What would it be like to know exactly what your IT assets are, where they sit, what they do and how they connect to each other? Also, what would it be like to understand exactly how much of your budget is being spent on each asset, and where you are wasting money?

Well now, with Virima’s IT Discovery and ViVID Service Mapping, that dream is a reality!

With Virima Discovery and ViVID Service Mapping, you’ll be able to see exactly where every device is located on your network—even if it’s hidden behind a firewall or tucked away in a remote location across town. You’ll also get information about who uses those devices and how they’re connected together. Finally, with ViVID Service Mapping integration, you’ll have an accurate view of how each device interacts with other devices across your entire organization so that even if something goes wrong somewhere down the line, you are alerted immediately to take corrective actions.

If you want help figuring out how best to get started with this process, reach out to the experts at Virima today!

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