Hospital Tracks Down Network Trouble

Tampa General Hospital is using agentless IT asset management technology, in a strict management structure, to help keep its network healthy.

Balaji Ramadoss has more than 8,000 IP assets to account for, but, unlike most of his peers, keeping track is literally a matter of life and death.

IT asset management, or ITAM, is a critical task in most large organizations. Administrators need a way to account for every piece of hardware on their network, ensure that all software is properly licensed, identify rogue devices and applications, and address potential security vulnerabilities.

ITAM applications can alleviate the burden of these tasks, but most ITAM applications adversely affect network performance when they are doing their census. And sluggish performance is simply not acceptable when the network in question is responsible for maintaining life-saving equipment at peak operating efficiency.

As the director for IT and standards at Tampa General Hospital, Ramadoss is responsible for ensuring that every piece of hardware is properly accounted for, as well as in compliance with regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

All 120 members of Ramadoss' team are also responsible for security-something he was shocked to discover is not the case with his peers. "Everyone [in IT] has to be responsible for security," he said.

Ramadoss and his team identified the need for an ITAM solution, but decided to go with an agentless system that would not be a drain on the network.

They ultimately decided on SecureFusion, an agentless IT application suite from Gideon Technologies. Ramadoss began implementing SecureFusion across the rest of his network in July 2008 as part of a phased implementation process that will encompass hardware and software asset discovery, network drive security, policy enforcement, configuration management, and vulnerability management.

The hospital runs Dell equipment in a Windows environment and is investing heavily in virtualization technology from VMware.