Why Your IT Asset Management Policy Matters

Your IT Asset Management (ITAM) program benefits your business in a variety of ways. But – without an effective ITAM policy directing it – you’re leaving a lot of value on the table. Here’s why your ITAM policy matters.

If you haven’t heard, IT Asset Management (ITAM) gives your business some fairly obvious advantages. ITAM helps you manage every device, software product, and service by delivering making it possible to strategically manage the complete IT asset lifecycle.

And companies use ITAM for a variety of reasons. To reduce costs, improve efficiency, make expense management more accurate, and/or make better business decisions. That said, an ITAM policy takes your efforts to another level by giving you additional capabilities to identify – and hopefully eliminate – the risks that come with information management as well.

Make ITAM a Priority

While ITAM can be tremendously valuable, many organizations fail to implement an effective ITAM policy that makes every asset accountable across the enterprise IT environment. They fail to address gaps where devices can’t be tracked and managed – increasing the likelihood that sensitive data becomes exposed to not-so-savory people. And technologies such as cloud, mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are only making this task more difficult to complete.

As risks increase and the number of data privacy regulations rises, ITAM policy is no longer optional – it’s a must-have IT tool that helps you take on change driven by modern business strategy. ITAM policy has become a necessity for successful companies – and a consideration for corporate leaders outside of IT, too.

That’s because an ITAM policy helps your company maintain accurate, up-to-the-second records of who owns which devices and data sets – making risks and security vulnerabilities immediately transparent across your network. But that’s not all. A comprehensive ITAM policy also makes cost analysis and regulatory compliance a much simpler task because the movement of all devices and confidential data is tracked and recorded.

Beyond these everyday challenges, an organization that makes ITAM policy a priority can even use these enforceable standards to address problems related to software piracy, license agreement disputes, copyright infringement claims, and instances where electronic equipment isn’t properly disposed of. When you can prove that your company understands which IT assets are owned, what information is being saved on them, and who’s using/accessing these records, you’re likely to avoid fines and other legal penalties that can result.

What Your ITAM Policy Needs

Your ITAM policy needs to do three fundamental things: monitor, manage, and report on the overall health of your enterprise’s IT asset program. If you don’t have specific guidelines to make network device, operating system, software patch, and application security enforceable in real-time, your policy could use an update.

If it doesn’t already your ITAM policy should emphasize that these details are actively tracked:

  • Device type/model
  • Manufacturer serial number
  • Device description
  • Device location
  • Install date/lease commencement/device upgrade date
  • Device owner
  • Device owner’s department
  • Device owner’s license
  • Asset tag
  • Operating system
  • Patch installation status
  • Applications installed
  • Software package version and updates
  • Data managed and stored
  • Risk rating of data and apps
  • Backup/recovery provisions
  • Disaster recovery provisions

A mature IT department should design its ITAM policy to support ongoing decisions at each stage of your technology’s asset lifecycle. Your policy needs to help you use asset data feedback to develop organization-wide discipline that prioritizes eliminating risks, meeting compliance requirements, and managing changes above all else.

And that includes:

  • An outline for how your ITAM program and skills training are funded
  •  A defined scope, process, and roles and responsibilities for everybody involved in ITAM
  • A specified team that identifies every IT asset and maintains the inventory across your enterprise
  • Rules for an asset management inventory database that defines business and technical requirements for every asset class used by IT
  • Detailed explanations of reporting functionality and decisions tools that used the information provided by your asset management system(s)
  • Step-by-step change management processes that guarantee information is added to relevant databases as asset usage, ownership, etc. evolves
  • How your asset inventory tools and solutions integrate with all relevant departments

Simply put, your ITAM policy should exist to provide oversight and governance that’s consistently – and transparently – applied to all asset management processes.

What an Effective ITAM Policy Does

Once thoughtful discussions and detailed strategies are included in your ITAM policy, you’re able to deliver a variety of new benefits to your business. First and foremost, an effective ITAM policy gives IT even more visibility than it already has. And this plays a pivotal role in helping your company control its device infrastructure at every level.

A comprehensive ITAM policy also helps you stay compliant, prepare for audits, reduce security risks, and reduce unnecessary IT spend by optimizing asset usage and giving you more expansive controls over any data record related to asset management. It can even help you identify the impact of incidents by giving you as clear a picture as possible whenever there’s a need to conduct root cause analysis.

Without an ITAM policy in place, you can’t ensure enterprise tech security because you lack an accurate IT asset inventory that’s valid and verifiable. ITAM policies are fundamental to mitigating information risks and ensuring regulatory compliance – in addition to delivering the convenience and cost-saving advantages you likely implemented ITAM for in the first place. While revisiting (or creating) your ITAM policy may not lead to an instant ROI, you’ll find more opportunity to save money and improve security as your efforts mature.

And we can help you do just that. Sign up for your free, engineer-led demo now to find out how FileWave can help your IT team make a more meaningful impact across your business functions.

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