Software Audit

Network Inventory Advisor is specifically designed to help you manage all the software installed on the various devices connected to your networks. It is especially helpful for   software license management and ensuring license compliance.

Network Inventory Advisor helps IT-managers and system administrators to handle the ongoing process of network auditing by automating the identification of what is installed, cataloging where it is installed, and reconciling this information against owned licenses.

As a result, Network Inventory Advisor is a very useful means of controlling software installations and lowering the costs of licensing for organizations of all sizes. Network Inventory Advisor helps you keep your company software base up-to-date, with reports always ready for presentation.

Network Inventory Advisor not only lets you keep track of the owned software licenses, but also allows you to filter and organize the software data in a very flexible way. You can group and hide software with various filters to produce the exact reports that you need.

During a network scan, Network Inventory Advisor compiles a list of all the software titles present in every node running Windows, Mac OS, or certain versions of Linux. Select the Inventory tab (top-left) to review this information on a per-node basis, by browsing the node tree in the left-hand pane. The information can also be collated into a number of different types of reports, all of which are available under the Reports tab by clicking the Software icon.

List of installed software

Once you have taken an inventory of your network, you can view your software inventory by going to the Inventory tab, selecting Network summary from the left-hand pane, and then selecting All Software from the right-hand pane.

Each software product listed in this view is identified by its unique name. Software products with the same name are joined and the “Found” counter is increased correspondingly. This lets you easily see how many copies of each software title you have installed in your network. Each title has the following parameters shown: Status (Allowed, Prohibited, Must-Have, Unclassified), Software title, Version, Publisher, Found (number of found copies of that software title), Licenses (number of owned licenses for that software title), and Delta (the difference between the number of found applications and the number of owned licenses). Only the column of “Licenses” is directly editable in the list. You can specify the Status of each software title by clicking the “Mark as” button on the toolbar.

Grouping

Software vendors tend to change the way they name their products, which can drive IT managers crazy. For example, you may find that the same version of Adobe Acrobat Reader ® may have the following names: Adobe Reader 7.0, Adobe Reader 7, Adobe Reader 7 0, etc. That is why Network Inventory Advisor features a simple and convenient way to join several software titles into groups. You can group applications manually, or automatically. Grouped applications counters are automatically summed.

Manual grouping of software assets

Go to the Inventory tab, select Network Summary from the left-hand pane, and then select All Software from the right-hand pane. Then select the titles you wish to join by CTRL-clicking on them, then right-click on one of the selected titles and select “Group selected software.” You will then be prompted to enter a Group Name (mandatory), Grouped Software Version and Grouped Software Publisher. Once you do,  Network Inventory Advisor will take a second to create the new group for you. From that point forward, those titles will be grouped and counted together. The group will show up in your list with a folder icon next to the title. To expand the group folder and see what is inside it, double-click on the group name or click the plus sign on the far left.

Automatic grouping of software assets

If you prefer, you can create grouping templates. A grouping template is a regular expression which is evaluated against the array of all the software titles in the report and groups the ones that match. For your convenience, groups created by grouping templates are marked with a different icon than groups you create manually (instead of being plain, the folder icon has a symbol on it).

Go to the Inventory tab, select Network Summary from the left-hand pane, and then select All Software from the right-hand pane. You can create a new grouping template by clicking the arrow on the “Group” icon from the toolbar and selecting “New grouping template.” Grouping templates require a name (which will be shown as the new group name) and a regular expression to match. You can also specify group version and publisher to display, default group visibility and software status. You can manage existing grouping templates under Settings > Software audit.

Please note that Network Inventory Advisor uses Perl-style regular expressions in its grouping templates. So, make sure you keep the correct syntax when adding new templates or editing existing ones for effective and correct matching. However, do not add a backslash or other character to indicate special forms or specify character escaping. Capitalization does not matter, as the expressions are case-insensitive.

Note that there’s currently no way to debug or trace errors. If your regular expression doesn’t work as you expected, please use an online Perl expression checker before contacting our tech support, as that will be their first suggestion.

In Settings > Software Audit, you will see a number of default grouping templates which are regularly updated online. These can be provide a good example of how to set up your own group template and how to form your regular expressions.

Searching and filtering the list of software assets

The software inventory toolbar (shown only when Network Summary from the left-hand pane, and All Software from the right-hand pane are selected) allows two ways to sort the software results: Filter and Search. Filter lets you view software titles by the selected status. Typing a word or phrase in the Search box will limit the results to only those software products that contain that word or phrase in their title or publisher. Only exact matches to phrases are returned. Do not use commas or quotation marks in your search query.  Click the red “X” next to the search box to clear a search.

Specifying the number of owned licenses

Network Inventory Advisor collects the licensing details of many Windows software titles. However, determining their validity is solely left to you as the IT manager. Even though the system may list license keys in the “All License Keys” section, the License count remains at “not set” until you modify it.

To specify the number of licenses owned, first view the software inventory toolbar by selecting Network Summary from the left-hand pane, and then selecting All Software from the right-hand pane. Then double-click the “not set” cell and enter the new value. Note that the value of Delta is automatically recalculated to reflect the shortage or excess of licenses. The license counter of a group is automatically calculated as the total number of licenses of the grouped titles.

You can use bulk actions to reset your Licenses counter to zero, or balance them. You may need to filter your results before applying one of these actions. To get access to these additional features, click a small arrow icon in the Licenses column header. Your choices are: Sort A to Z, Sort Z to A, Unset all license counters (return value to “not set”), Balance licenses (make value match number in the Found column), and Set all counters to 0 (set the value to zero).

Managing software usage rights (status)

Network Inventory Advisor lets you specify one of the following statuses to your software titles or groups: Unclassified (no symbol in status column), Allowed (green dot in status column), Prohibited (red dot) and Must-have (yellow dot). Note that group statuses need to be set separately from the individual statuses of each application within the group. Changing the status of a single application will not change the status of the group.

By specifying these usage statuses and then using the Filter function, you can build very flexible reports on the application usage and compliance in your network.

To specify the status of a software title, first view the software inventory toolbar by selecting Network Summary from the left-hand pane, and then selecting All Software from the right-hand pane. Then you can either right-click on the title or click on the “Mark as” option on the toolbar.

Once you have marked your software status, you can run a report by status using the following steps:

1. Click the Filter drop-down menu on the toolbar and select the type of status you wish to run a report on.

2. CTRL-click to select all of the software titles you wish to include in the report.

3. Click the Run Report icon (looks like computer with an arrow, to the left of the word Group).

Report by Status

 

4. Your report is shown, organized by software title and then by node. Click the Export or Print buttons in the upper-right corner, if you wish to save the report.

Hiding unnecessary applications

Scanning even a medium-size network of about 100 nodes will usually produce a huge list of applications, and many of them will be of no use to you as a network administrator or auditor. In this case, you can hide this software from the report. To do so, highlight a specific application or group, or a number of applications (using Shift and CTRL buttons), and then right-click on one of the selected titles and select “Hide selected software.”

To reveal all hidden titles, click the “Show hidden” button on the toolbar. While this option is ON, you’ll see all hidden applications, and they will have an “open eye” symbol in their status column to easily differentiate them from the rest of visible ones. If you expand this menu on the toolbar, you will see some bulk actions which you can apply to selected applications to make managing their visibility easier.

Printing and exporting final report

Please, remember that one of the key features of Network Inventory Advisor is your ability to customize almost any report. Whenever you hide, sort, or filter the data in the “All software” report, the data that is shown on your screen is the exact same data that will be exported or printed. It’s highly convenient when presenting data to other parties, as your report can contain only the data you are interested in. Once you are happy with your data view, just click “Print” or “Export this now” to share your results. You can also create additional types of reports from the Reports tab.

Adding Proof Of Purchase records and other notes

You can add almost any data to each of the listed software titles in your software audit report by adding notes: it can be a reference to the receipt, a link to related PDF document, etc. To add a note, right-click on the application title, and select “Add note.” Groups can’t have notes at this time. Every note requires at least a title and adding additional text is optional. Notes are shown right below the line they were added to. Any line can have multiple notes. Notes will be present in the report when printing and exporting, so they can be a very convenient way to store additional software-related data.

Reverse software assets report

Whenever you need to see which nodes have a certain software title installed, you can right-click on the software title and select “Show nodes where this software is installed” to view the list of nodes with that application installed.

.updated: June 2, 2015 author: jill