Nearly half of businesses have had kit stolen by employees, according to survey by LANdesk. Forty-four percent of employees admit to having taken kit or intellectual property when leaving a company - with mobile phones topping the list of the most half-inched items.

LANdesk released the survey to coincide with the launch of the latest version of its Asset Lifecycle Management software. Version 4 offers a range of new features, not all of them designed to keep miscreant workers from taking anything not nailed down. But, as Ian Aitchison, LANdesk's worldwide presales director, pointed out, disgruntled employees can hurt in many other ways, "The Business Software Alliance pays a bounty if a company is using unlicensed software and most calls to the BSA are from dissatisfied employees, ALM will be able to keep tabs on what licences are being used, which are due and so on."

The new software is focused very much on data centre applications, beefing up the way that reports are to be handled. Aitchison said that a major aspect to the new launch are variety of ways to beef up its presence in the data centre.

"Previous versions of the software did offer ways to generate reports and reconcile licences but it wasn't a straightforward process," said Aitchison. "We've made it much more integrated."

A key part of the new software is a VMware coconnector to manage the growing use of virtualisation. "Virtual machine sprawl is a big problem for organisations," said Aitchison. "It's become so easy to create them, it's hard for administrator to keep tabs on what's going on."

He said that this was a widespread problem. "We worked with one organisation that had a large number of virtual machines. It was decided to turn off the physical servers to see how many of the 100s of VMs were being used - only about 15 percent actually contacted IT, the rest were no longer being used," he said.

ALM will now be able to keep tabs on virtual machines in the same way that it tracks physical assets said Aitchison.

Another aspect of the product is the tie-in with parent company, Avocent's datacenter planning and administration tool, Avocent Mergepoint Infrastructure Explorer (AMIE). It's very complementary said Aitchison. "We've implemented data transfer between the two , so that information about heat and power can be found in AMiE while information about IT assets will be in ALM. It means that an organisation can get a single view of its assets from one desk."