Automating Technology Audits
- By Sam Zippin
- April 1st, 2016
Throughout the country, schools have significantly ramped up their use of technology as a
teaching tool and as an administrative asset for teachers,
administrators and students alike. But along with that increased
adoption comes an increased scope of work for business and IT departments
whose personnel must manage, secure and optimize the
ever-increasing array of devices across their network infrastructure.
One of the first and most important overall steps in the automating
process is to conduct a technology audit.
What is a technology audit? Simply put, it is the process of
identifying and confirming the status and location of all of an
organization’s information technology assets. This includes
individual desktops, notebooks and tablet computers — which,
depending on your district, may be Apple products, Chrome products,
Linux-based computers or others, as well as their component
parts — and server computers.
Other hardware and accessories also need to be audited,
including printers, networking equipment and presentation
equipment such as projectors and electronic whiteboards. In some
cases, assets such as telecommunications equipment and security
systems can also be included in an IT audit.
Confirming proper software licensing is also a significant
part of a technology audit. Unlicensed software installations can
expose your district to expensive fines and even civil litigation.
Installed software that has not been licensed or approved for use
by your institution can not only violate licensing agreements, but
can place the security of your network and your data at risk.
Regular technology audits can improve compliance, protect assets,
minimize unauthorized installations and provide a blueprint
for future upgrades and replacements. However, conducting these
audits manually can impose a significant additional burden on
your already thinly stretched staff.
Software for a Technology Audit
IT asset management has become more complicated, especially
now with the technology readiness requirements of Common Core.
Using software to manage IT audits offers a number of benefits:
Automation. Automating your IT audits will free up significant
amounts of staff time.
Software Management. An automated technology audit solution can
discover and monitor all the software on all computers within the organization,
then provide the tools for optimum software management.
Proactive IT Support. Using an automated technology audit solution
can improve customer service. Technicians can identify issues
before a teacher or faculty member has to put in a help desk ticket.
Asset Security. Effective technology audit automation software
will identify all the PC hardware on the client network and then
monitor it daily to ensure it remains there.
Network and Data Security. Many technical problems and the
related costs occur as a result of the installation of unauthorized
software. An effective IT audit automation tool allows software to
be blacklisted, gray-listed or white-listed.
Strategic Planning/Emerging Trends. Having an excellent and accurate
database of all hardware and software is a critical foundation
for short- and long-term planning. An audit system should provide
excellent support for planning next year’s budget as well as multiyear
How to Get Started with Audit Software
If you’re convinced that technology audit automation will benefit
your district, you may be wondering where to begin. To find the best
product to meet your needs, follow these five steps:
Step 1: Look for a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that lowers
total cost of ownership.
Step 2: Work with your vendor to ensure all assets and IP addresses
are imported into software to automate and streamline audits.
Step 3: Appoint an audit manager to manage the process.
Step 4: Conduct audits and monitor software on a regular basis to
monitor hardware, software licenses, and other devices.
Step 5: Analyze time saved through reporting functionality —
assess, evaluate and improve!
Automating technology audits can eliminate the expense and
errors of manual audits, automatically manage your district’s
software licensing and hardware deployment, improve the security
of the district’s technology investment, and help you comply with
applicable fiduciary regulations. In today’s technological and
budgetary climate, a technology audit automation solution is an
essential element of your business and technology plan.
— This article is excerpted from the March 2016 issue of School Business
Affairs, published by ASBO International. www.asbointl.org.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.
Sam Zippin is public K-12 industry marketing manager for SchoolDude. He can be reached at email@example.com.