Auditing Your Devices

In our last blog we started a new series of articles about Managed Print Services. In today’s edition we will look at our options to (self-) audit your fleet of copy & print devices.

Many vendors will offer you audit-services, often free of charge. If you are concerned about disclosing too much information to a vendor you can easily audit your devices yourself.

The critical information to collect is the type of device (a copier, printer, fax, or Multi Function Device), the brand & model, the location, the age, the average periodical usage, and how it is being used.

The most reliable way to obtain this information is via a walk-through each office and building (if applicable). This also gives you the opportunity to talk to the device users and to obtain information about wastage and local supplies storage. Obtained information can be recorded in hardcopy lists or in a spreadsheet. In larger audits it is helpful to also mark each device on a floorplan.

On the other hand it is of course time consuming and may not be practical in very large organisations. That is where electronic audit tools can be used. They are typically offered in two versions – a standalone software often operating installation-free from a USB stick, a locally installed software or a combination of a locally installed agent and a remote database.
Electronic auditing tools commonly use standard network commands to obtain the MIB information from the devices which include, as a minimum, the brand, model, serial number and the life time page counter (which is basically the odometer of the device) but can include much more data.
A downside of electronic auditing is that non-networked devices like standalone copiers and faxes but also devices locally attached to a computer (eg via USB) usually are not visible to the electronic audit tools.

Electronic audit tools are available from several vendors and are usually available not only to resellers but also to end-users. If conducting a larger audit and document locations in floorplans, mapping tools are offered by several vendors that allow you to electronically record the information and link it to results from electronic audit tools.

In light of the disadvantages of these two methods it easy to understand why in many audits both methods are used in combination, even if the physical audit may only be done for a representative sample of device locations.

Stay tuned, in our next edition we will look at your options how to work out the average page count information.

In the meantime for comments & questions Contact Us Today.