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118 118 firm controls costs with asset tracking tools

The Number UK, which runs the 118 118 directory assistance service, has deployed two systems to improve the tracking of software and files across its IT infrastructure.

The move was driven by the need to cut licensing costs, to achieve Federation Against Software Theft accreditation and improve the company's overall compliance capabilities.

Working with asset management specialist SoftAsset, The Number implemented Discovery and Software Organiser across all its desktops in three UK offices after initially testing the software in a pilot involving a limited number of users.

Discovery, developed by software house Centennial, tracks software and hardware assets, and Software Organiser covers licence management. Staff overseeing the project then ensure that the two sides of the equation match up.

The Number operates a Windows 2003 Active Directory environment, with a mix of Windows XP and 2000 on the desktops.

Lee Delahay, senior systems administrator at The Number, who has overseen the move to improve file visibility at the firm, said the systems had already revealed more applications in use than had been expected.

As well as tracking applications, Discovery finds files such as MP3s or MPegs, which in most cases should not be on corporate systems, prompting a request to staff that they remove offending items.

"Discovery helps us enforce our acceptable use and security policies by helping administrators pinpoint the existence of inappropriate files on the network," said Delahay.

"Because Discovery highlights the exact PC, user and location, we can now talk directly to the individual involved to make sure that no rogue files are downloaded and installed in the future."

Discovery has also improved the internal software-ordering process at The Number. Armed with up-to-date information, user requests for new applications can be dealt with more quickly.

However, Delahay said, "The main benefit is that the risk of spending too much money on excessive licences or having too many installed copies of applications that are not covered by valid licences has been removed."


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