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IT asset management should be priority, says expert

IT asset management should be priority, says expert 

No one at Coca-Cola noticed the laptops had gone missing until November 2013. While Coca-Cola’s embarrassing lapse is one of the most public examples of the need for IT asset management, lax or nonexistent procedures ensure that this situation can occur at companies large and small. Jackie Luo, CEO of the IT asset management software provider E-ISG Asset Intelligence, shared her thoughts on why IT asset management needs to be an integral part of a company’s security strategy.

Luo explained that IT asset management need not be a complicated undertaking. However, it requires cross-departmental cooperation, which is tricky to obtain. “It’s not [that IT managers] don’t see it as part of the security,” she said. “It’s that IT asset management implementation requires cross functional coordination and training on processes. It requires senior level champion to make it happen. Most IT departments understand that weak asset management threatens the security of their assets and data, but they are constrained in taking effective actions.”

How many more incidents such as the one that took place at Coca-Cola need to be made public before IT asset management becomes a higher priority for companies? Luo believes that the C-suite must undergo an awakening of sorts so that IT asset management receives the attention it rightfully deserves. “Senior level management needs to realize that managing IT assets better will improve profitability,” she asserted. “They need to prioritize this program, give it appropriate attention, and set up appropriate cross functional team to implement this program.”

In addition to executive buy-in, Luo commented that IT asset management software will help the IT department keep track of devices. She offered her advice on what features such software should include. “The company should evaluate the features (whether it includes all the features for lifecycle management of IT assets.), technology (flexible, mobile, and extendable), and of course cost,” Luo remarked.

Necessary features for lifecycle management of IT assets include, but are not limited to, the ability to organize IT asset inventory, tracking financial and contractual information relating to the IT assets, establishing a chain of custody for IT assets, supporting open source network discovery tools that automatically reconcile the discovery data with the asset database, creating rules to identify which physical assets require audits, integrating configuration management databases with IT asset databases as well as with other IT service management tools such as network discovery, IT service desk support and fixed asset accounting. A solution that runs in the cloud will be cost effective and will allow for maximum visibility for staff located both on and off the premises.

With a comprehensive IT asset management strategy in place, IT professionals can confidently answer the following question, “It’s nine o’clock in the morning – do you know where your laptops are?”

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