Video Series: Part 5 – Inventory Source Reconciliation

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Last time, we touched on the process of reconciling IT assets across various sources. Let’s walk through how you might reconcile multiple sources of inventory data.

Let’s imagine a very simple scenario that illustrates this problem: suppose that you have 2 different systems that can report inventory. For simplicity, let’s say each of those 2 systems reports 2 assets. 

At first you might think – great – that means I have 2 assets! 

But – let’s step back and think about the potential scenarios:

    1. Both systems may be reporting the same two devices and we indeed have only two devices.
    2. Each system is actually reporting completely separate devices with no overlap between them, and we actually have four devices.
    3. Each system is reporting one completely separate device – that’s two devices – but the other device they’re reporting is the same device between them. That means we have three devices total.

So the reality is, in this example, we have anywhere from two to four devices without some sort of reconciliation process. Now imagine this scenario, but with hundreds or thousands of devices reported across many more sources.

To reconcile the inventory reports from each source, we need to analyze and then correlate the detailed attributes that are reported by them in order to determine the true number of unique assets. Without this, we CANNOT arrive at a comprehensive and unified view of the inventory — and without a unified view, we still won’t have a good handle on our inventory.

We also won’t be able to understand which devices are missing from some sources. For example, are there devices that our Active Directory is reporting but which aren’t in our endpoint security solution? Those devices represent gaps in our security, and without a unified, comprehensive view of our IT assets, we won’t be able to close those gaps.

Next, we’ll talk about why organizations need to not only have a comprehensive inventory, but also have a continuously updated understanding of the changing attributes of each device in that inventory.

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