GFI Software has announced a new initiative to help small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) manage their servers and workstations at no cost. Free Asset Tracking Forever is a no-charge component of the GFI Cloud suite of cloud-based IT management services that enables organisations to audit and asset manage servers and workstations across the organisation, as well as identify and manage units running legacy operating systems with minimal effort, all from a single management console.
As businesses grow, auditing and inventory of the increasing volume of computer and other IT assets becomes a major consideration for the business as a whole, as well as for IT personnel. SMBs frequently struggle with deploying and using asset tracking solutions, most of which are often expensive to purchase and to maintain support contracts, time consuming to deploy and use and limited in their ability to ‘see’ beyond the perimeter of the core physical network.
Offering fully-featured asset tracking, the Free Asset Tracking Forever solution enables SMBs to deploy the service using a simple one-time lightweight agent installation on each target server and workstation that handles tasks such as monitoring the network, running services and assessing the health and status of each of your computers. For the many SMBs still running Microsoft’s legacy operating systems such as Windows XP, Free Asset Tracking Forever will identify these systems and help IT staff implement additional security, management and decommissioning measures as needed, helping to ensure that legacy and discontinued systems are not overlooked, do not become a security risk or a productivity obstacle.
Once deployed, IT staff can get a real-time view of hardware and key software status using the GFI Cloud browser-based management console. The cloud-based nature of the service also means that mobile users working at home and in the field become far easier to include in asset tracking activities, as well as being included in the same single view as on-premise devices. GFI Cloud and the Free Asset Tracking Forever service are completely secure, so devices can be monitored from any location using a normal web browser, all without having to leave additional ports open that could create a security risk. All communications are done over the standard web port 80 that is monitored by firewalls and antimalware software.
“PC asset management is one of the most time consuming and admin-intensive tasks the IT department has to carry out in any organisation. In SMBs where IT staff numbers are often limited, this necessary task creates a massive manpower burden if it is not automated and centralised,” said Sergio Galindo, head of global product management at GFI Software. “The launch of Free Asset Tracking Forever is in direct response to requests from SMBs looking for a cost-effective way to not only improve visibility of both fixed and mobile IT assets, but also to help SMBs kick-start the migrating back office IT services to the cloud to further improve efficiency and cost control, but without taking on undue financial and operational risk.”
Server and workstation management is one of the most stressful parts of an IT admin’s job. A recent independent survey of 206 UK IT administrators conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software revealed that tight deadlines (19%) and lack of budget (17%) were two of the top three reasons why IT admins are stressed at work.
The Free Asset Tracking Forever service also simplifies the process of adding and deploying additional cloud services to users as needed, without additional physical intervention. Other services such as patch management, antivirus and server and workstation monitoring can all be pushed from the same single management console to devices, speeding up deployment and minimising disruption and personnel time needed to complete the work, a key consideration for SMBs with limited dedicated IT staff.
“Many SMBs want to move more of their IT into the cloud, keen to take advantage of the cost savings and simplicity that cloud services offer. However, many don’t know where to start or how well it will fit their organisation. Free Asset Tracking Forever not only provides a useful and cost-effective first step into the cloud, it also offers a basis for other services to be slipstreamed into everyday use making use of the same agent infrastructure, allowing SMBs to move IT management to the cloud on their own timetable and with minimal effort and disruption”, Galindo added.