The year is 1973. It is the height of the Cold War and a botched assignment to uncover the name of a Soviet mole planted at the top of British Intelligence leads to a high-stakes trail of mystery, deception and intrigue. Nobody can be trusted, nothing is truly as it seems and old certainties begin to unravel.

The genre-defining plot to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy follows George Smiley (Gary Oldman/Alec Guinness) as he fastidiously unpicks the complex web of subterfuge and misdirection to uncover the truth behind the infiltration into the intelligence network. Tension is dialled up to eleven. What will he uncover? Where will his investigations lead? Is Smiley to be trusted himself? What is lurking just beneath the surface, hiding in plain sight but invisible to all but a few who know where to look?

Now the year is 2020, the wall has come down and the iron curtain is raised. But have all the moles disappeared? Is everything to be trusted and relied upon to be entirely as it seems? Before we head down that rabbit hole in terms of international espionage, lets bring it a little closer to home. Or the office. Or the office at home as the case may be for many of us right now. As IT Asset Management professionals we may be more used to thinking in terms of inventory agents than double-agents, but how often do you deploy your detective skills to seek the truth about what is really going on within your own network?

When the film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was released in 2011 it was described as “a dense puzzle of anxiety, paranoia, and espionage.” Hopefully that is an over-exaggeration but your own tangle of software deployments, licensing agreements, hardware investments, users, virtual infrastructure, cloud, SaaS applications and security products can be hard to unpick. Where is the risk that hides in plain sight, waiting for just the wrong time to strike?

IT health checks in remote working

ITAM data can be row after row, column after column of attributes of hardware configurations and unfriendly lists of software deployments – it is difficult to see the wood for the trees – but applying knowledge to the data you already have and deciphering the noise can alert you to clear and present danger. The following examples are very easy to obtain and crucial to know in this new era of remote working – do we have devices where antivirus is not up to date or is not enabled? Is the technology we use to manage the access of users and devices to our network in good health? Is there unchecked growth of Active Directory domain admins? Do we have old Active Directory devices or user accounts sitting waiting for a hacker to find and exploit? Do we have software deployments exposing us to risk of attack because they are no longer the responsibility of the vendor to support?

Just like George Smiley, some sleuth work of your own is required to smoke out your IT moles. What intelligence can you analyse and what leads can you follow to discover the truth. This is where Software Asset Management (codename SAM) can be your top informant. We know that good SAM will help you to optimize IT spend, avoid unnecessary costs and protect against licensing compliance risks. But SAM can offer your organization even more.

The SAM team is the data-custodian for your IT safehouse

Understanding how to decipher this data, knowing how to overlay added intelligence and cross-referencing with multiple sources will begin to paint a true picture of your IT network.

I am writing this from a fantastic Dell i7 laptop and despite being its user from new I am still surprised to find out it is 3 ½ years old (how time flies) so I know at some point in the future it will need to be refreshed. I didn’t know its warranty expired 2 ½ years ago.

Analyzing the software I have installed, everything is less than three years old and within the last two software releases, so I am very well equipped to perform my role. We are taking good advantage of our software investment extracting maximum value and realising the competitive advantage of being as up to date as we can be. None of my software is end of life and my antivirus is enabled and up to date so I do not pose an immediate security risk but I am using almost 80% of my disk space… I should expect a call from helpdesk any day now so that doesn’t become a problem for me.

By fully utilizing the available intelligence, you can expose and target those undercover elements of your IT network, striking first to prevent covert IT issues costing your organization.

License Dashboard offers a free service to help you to begin your own investigations. Check-IT is a visual representation of all these elements for your entire estate. The Check-IT report analyzes your IT data and provides an insight-packed review that details the health of the software and hardware being used by your employees.