Time for Anonymous Hardware Asset Tagging?

One of the biggest challenges within Hardware Asset Management (HAM) is knowing where your assets are. Technologies like SCCM, ITAM tools and other inventory tools can help you and show the last logged on user, IP address for location and all of the hardware information you need to manage the asset effectively.

However, Asset Tagging is another way to track your assets. In 2014, I produced a blog for the ITAM Review called “Quick Guide to Hardware Asset Tagging.” If you are unfamiliar with the process or what asset tagging is, I strongly suggest you have a read of the article. Despite being 6 years old the core content is still very relevant – the technology may have come on a bit though!

In that article I stated “Asset Tagging, and the corollary activity of associating accurate data to the asset tag, is a practice for managing and reconciling ownership, location and configuration of hardware assets.”

Fantastic, and vital for effective HAM. You can dictate what kind of asset tags you want too – some invest in expensive RFID tags that integrate with your ITSM or ITAM technology, whereas others go for bar-codes that can scan into an Excel document. Either way, you also have the option of putting your company name, address and phone number on them.

But should you be advertising your company on asset tags or should you consider anonymous tags?

For Anonymous Tags

  • Company name not visible when customers using assets when travelling
  • New technology to still allow the device to be identified if the bar-code/QR code is scanned
  • More secure – if left on a table on a train and the asset tag doesn’t show the company name the public may be less inclined to snoop around or steal the device

Against Anonymous Tags

  • No contact details for members of the public who genuinely want to return a lost device (they could scan the QR code though…!)
  • May be smaller tags so not as obvious should the device be lost (related to the first bullet point)
  • If your organisation likes showing off they buy the latest EUC technology, they won’t get the chance to advertise it!

My opinion

If money was no object within your organisation, I would go for anonymous asset tags that are a QR code. Having a QR code that can scan directly into your ITSM or ITAM technology comes at a price, but is incredibly effective and a huge time saver for your ITAM function.

I personally believe anonymous tagging should be the future and can add that extra layer of security for your organisation and I like the QR codes as they are smaller and less intrusive on your device. Looks much better on mobiles and tablets!

What do you think? Put your company details on Asset Tags, or go anonymous?