IT Asset Tagging Best Practices
What is Asset Tagging?
Asset tagging is the process of applying a label to an asset that serves as its identifier and can then be scanned to get essential information about that item, including its description, location, usage history, serial numbers, performance metrics, and other custom info.
When it comes to fixed assets (assets that exist in the real world like computers, hardware, peripherals, etc.), asset tags are literal tags attached to equipment and feature a bar code or other means for digitally scanning the label. When this label is scanned with a mobile device or dedicated barcode scanner, an employee is presented with all of the saved information about that device. For companies that use a check-in/check-out system for assets, you can also use scanning to that effect.
Asset tagging is most important for items that are used in multiple locations and departments, allowing their location and chain of use to be tracked. However, there are also other uses for asset tagging— for example, it’s a quick way to indicate that a given item is in need of maintenance, updating, or other services.
Software assets can also be 'tagged.' However, this doesn’t involve physical labels but rather the process of attaching metadata to those assets that provides information about licenses, access history, and more.
Why is Asset Tagging Important for IT Departments?
To fully understand why asset tagging matters for your IT department and business as a whole, think of it as more than just a way to determine where a specific item should be located— though that’s important, too.
Asset tagging is the first step in establishing an efficient system for managing your IT inventory and ensuring that every item is available when, where, and by whoever needs it. Asset tags for equipment are essential for companies that ‘loan’ out IT equipment to specific employees throughout the company, as well as any organization that uses IT equipment as tools in the day-to-day operations of their business.
Asset tagging is also vital when it comes to warranty issues. When assets are correctly tagged and associated with relevant warranty information, it’s simple to see when an issue is covered by a warranty and take the necessary next steps.
Finally, asset tagging is a matter of security and loss prevention. IT asset tagging and management doesn't only help protect against unknown theft by providing a record of what assets your IT department owns and to who they were last checked out. It also helps provide accountability to reduce ‘misplaced’ items by ensuring that the responsibility is placed on whoever used the item most recently.
Which IT Assets Should be Tagged?
Now that we understand why we tag assets, it’s time to address which assets you should tag.
After all, just because your company owns a set of billiard balls for the office break room doesn’t mean they each need to have an asset tag affixed to them. This is an extreme example, but it speaks to the point that choosing which assets to include and exclude from your asset tagging system is an essential part of the process.
First, start with assets that are:
- Highly mobile
- Highly valued
- Highly used
Beginning with this trio of classifications will help you identify the most critical items to tag. From there, you can use your discretion to determine which other items should be tagged.
Software Asset Tagging
While software can’t be physically ‘tagged,’ you can enter it into your asset management software to help track its value, update history, access history, and other important data that can help keep it secure and valuable.
Plus, even though the software itself can’t be tagged, a hard drive containing sensitive or high-value information can have a tag affixed to it, which can be scanned and used to call up information about the hardware and the software includes.
Hardware Asset Tagging
We’ve addressed hardware asset tagging above, but in practice, you should remember that physical assets can range from the size of a massive industrial copier to a tiny thumb drive. Fortunately, you can print or purchase tags in a range of sizes to meet your unique needs.
Insights for Labeling IT Assets
What about IT asset tagging best practices to improve your IT asset management? Here are some of our recommendations for how to use labels effectively, provide the correct information, and more.
Information to Include
Most asset tags don’t just include the barcode or QR code but also include a bit of text that provides information and context at a glance. Generally, you won’t have much space to work with, so keep text to a minimum. We recommend including the name of your organization and a generated numeric or alphanumeric (letters and numbers) code that can be used to manually access that item’s info if the scannable portion is unable to be read.
Types of Tags
Did you know that there are multiple types of tags featuring unique scanning systems that can be used for asset tagging?
QR codes and barcodes are among the most popular, as they’re simple to generate, can be scanned by a smartphone or other mobile device, and can contain a range of information that’s relevant to the item.
Applying Physical Tags
When it comes to actually applying your tags to devices, there are some additional IT asset tagging best practices to follow. First, make sure the label is somewhere clear and easy to locate for someone that doesn’t know where it is. Keep it on a flat surface, allowing the tag to be easily scanned by whatever device is used to scan it.
When applying the tag, make sure your hands are clean and the area where the tag is being applied is clean as well. This will help it adhere better to the surface. Finally, smooth out any air bubbles that show up after applying the tag and let the label ‘cure’ for some time before the item is used again. This will ensure that the tag doesn’t peel or fall off, causing confusion and delay when trying to track that item.
Customize Your System
While some asset tagging software will try to make you conform to a rigid set of parameters based on how their system is designed, leading software platforms are highly configurable. For example, Asset Panda will let you configure fields, forms, and tagging systems to help you create a custom solution for your organization’s unique needs.
Asset Panda — Your Solution for IT Asset Tagging
Asset Panda is the most trusted solution for any organization looking to implement IT asset tagging best practices at their organization. With our fully configurable, automated platform, you can ensure that you never lose track of another IT asset again.
Here are some of our key features that help users get up to an 800% return on investment in time saved alone.
Manage Assets from Anywhere
Our mobile app is available on Android and iOS, so your employees and teams can track assets seamlessly on devices they already use. This eliminates the cost of purchasing dedicated barcode scanning equipment and, thanks to widespread familiarity with smartphones, reduces the need to train your team on how to use new devices.
Configurable for Your Workflow
Create custom actions, configure data fields, and generate forms that all make your workflow seamless and efficient from start to finish.
Consolidate Asset History
Asset Panda provides a full IT asset audit trail that builds accountability into your asset tracking system and even helps you forecast future asset needs.
Determine how you want to keep your teams and employees informed with custom notifications that you can automate for better efficiency, planning, and information sharing.
Determine which job functions require which levels of asset tracking access and benefit from enhanced data security that doesn’t interrupt your ability to get the job done.
Faster Identification with Record-Level Attachments
Identify assets more quickly, access important data about each asset instantly, and help employees get the information they need without involving other parties in what can otherwise become a wasteful and inefficient process.
Built-In Mobile Device Scanning
Scan barcodes directly from any mobile device— no expensive, bulky, and difficult-to-use barcode scanning equipment is required.
Ready to make IT asset tagging best practices a seamless part of your business? Try Asset Panda free for 14 days (no card required)!
With your free trial, you’ll receive full access to user guides, video tutorials, free mobile apps, and call-in and live chat support from our knowledgeable Asset Panda support team.