Some people look at asset labels as a grudge purchase or bureaucratic nonsense, to keep the management or governors’ happy, however the importance of these is more significant than would initially appear.
Firstly, there is an obvious financial impact of equipment being misplaced or stolen, however the more sinister after-effects are loss or distribution of confidential personal data and business records.
Having a poorly implemented or, even worse, an absent system is no excuse and allowing your equipment to be floating around without an unique identifier or where encryption has not been deployed, is a recipe for disaster.
Repercussions of this mis-management and a lack of an asset register can result in disciplinary or legal action, hefty fines, prosecution and have been known to result in a criminal record. This is especially true with entities such as government bodies, schools, other education institutes and corporate businesses.
The cost of a asset label is marginal, compared to what you are protecting, so why risk it?
1. Inventory control and auditing
Asset labels and a well-kept asset management register play an important role in assisting with control over where IT equipment is located. This can include checking warranty statuses, expiration of service contracts, records of disposed equipment, whether equipment has been lent or borrowed and an instant figure on your current exposure or value, should an audit be required.
2. Acts as a deterrent and can help prevent theft
Having these labels not only helps with visual identification, but also deters thieves. If you were a thief and saw two identical laptops on a desk, one with a fixed asset label on it and another without, you would be instantly attracted to the one without. You may think that if they’ve made the effort to mark their assets, they’ve probably implemented other methods to protect their laptop – such as encryption an/or other electronic protection measures; Conversely, the unmarked laptop appear to be an easier target and may not even have a password on it.
3. Prevent tampering of components
Strategic placement of these labels can allow you to protect important areas of a computer, portable devices, networking or server equipment. For instance, you could straddle a seam where the laptop battery meets the casing, therefore providing instant notification of attempted removal. This can also work with memory compartment covers, slots and screw holes. If you choose a voiding asset label, this leaves the word VOID where the label has been lifted or removed and once replaced, still indicates evidence of tampering. The addition of labels quickly reduces the instances of swapping or removing memory modules and ancillary devices, without the IT department knowing.
4. Make police aware of owner
Quite commonly, people who purchase asset labels also provide address details or telephone numbers that are included in their design. You may find that the top line would say Property of and then the company name, followed by a barcode, a number and then a postcode and/or telephone number. This is especially useful if an item has been placed in lost property or handed into the local police station. They can give the ‘relieved’ owner a call and advise when the item can be collected. Fact: There are thousands of bits of IT equipment that get handed into lost and found that never get reunited with their owner.
5. Insurance purposes
Insurance for IT equipment is essential (and not cheap!), however certain insurers require you to mark your assets with labels in order to be covered, should a claim arise. Some companies offer incentives and discounts if you label up all your equipment. Insurance companies are shrewd when it comes to paying out, they want to get the best value out of their policies. When they recommend that you use asset labels, surely this should make you realise that it actually works!