Software

Simplify hardware and software registration with these practical tips

Avoid some of the most confusing and potentially drastic issues with managing your hardware and software with these simple tips from IT expert Rick Vanover.

One thing that really irks me is inconsistent registration and configuration for hardware and software devices. The little things like the registered name and associated email with products makes managing the business of IT really difficult. Compound the complication when a number of administrators are involved, and we can quickly get into trouble. Over the years, I’ve developed a few practices that really help organize this process. I’ll share some of them here in this post.

The first practical tip is to set a designated email address for all registration, warranty and software licensing for your group. Depending on the size of the group, it also may make sense to split those categories up or possibly add more. The takeaway is that it is much simpler to use a designated email address rather than tying it to a single individual. Further, that email address may be well served by a group mailbox or a distribution list. I tend to prefer the group mailbox route, as the sent items are easier to track; and the blurring of one’s personal email management is avoided. Every administrator manages their own inbox differently, whereas a group mailbox can be administered consistently and by rules set forth by management. Another tip that may make sense with the email addresses assigned for this purpose is also to engage the purchasing department. Some organizations have larger purchasing departments that assist greatly on warranties and other service related items with IT; ensuring they have access is a good communication practice.

The next practical tip is to leverage a standard phone number for all registrations, this can seem easy enough; but we may miss that courtesy call about warranty expiration on a product that the administrator who quit implemented. Seems obvious when this equipment breaks, right? Maybe take some time with the telecom group to see what options are available, or employ a group voicemail box. Out of band solutions like a Google Voice phone number may be an option, but take some time to think about continuity in the phone number registered, such as accounting for your primary office phone number changing or not being available for some other reason.

A final easy practical tip on managing software and hardware registration processes is to manage all credentials for these accounts well and consistently. A number of strategies exist; some people like Dropbox for sharing an Excel document. I’m not wild about that, but that is what some people do. I like using encrypted drives with a token. Something like every time you see a “5” it is a “@” in the password, and the reverse. That way, if the content is intercepted; there is a (small) barrier to immediate compromise until all credentials are changed.

What tips have you leveraged to manage software and hardware registrations? Share them below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

2 comments
jfuller05
jfuller05

The organization I work for does not do any of this. One employee's email is used for the Logmein account and another employee email is used for our Verizon account, etc. It gets tiring. One remote employee forgot the password for the logmein account, clicked the forgot password and the forgot password instructions were sent to the email of the employee. well, she was off for the day so the remote employee couldn't get into the PC...we were all annoyed because the logmein account was locked out and now none of the remote employees could use their pcs. We called the employee who had the account under her email and were able to resolve the issue, but what's most interesting is after the disaster, the mentioning of an email account all admins could get into wasn't even considered for a moment after mention of it. Weird. I'm going to try to convince my superiors use these tips...or at least the first one. :)

mig1830
mig1830

I find it reassuring that I'm not the only one working for an organisation that cannot get to grips with managing and controlling this sort of stuff. "The very idea of it - a single account. Outrageous!" You'd think I was working for some dark aged organisation but I'm not. That's management for you though....

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