In today’s competitive business world, anything less than optimal efficiency can create a big problem for the continuity of your operations. That’s why businesses are increasingly adopting IT asset management (ITAM) tools as part of their tech stack.
When companies invest in ITAM, devices are monitored and maintained correctly to meet their full potential and provide the greatest return on investment (ROI) for their money. However, when managing your IT assets, there is more than one way for organizations and internal departments to manage them. It can pose a challenge as it may result in asset data inconsistency and cause confusion among users.
For this reason, you must choose the right practices for ITAM to keep your organization running smoothly and efficiently.
This article will discuss nine best practices for IT asset management to manage your internal and external IT assets seamlessly. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Table of Contents
1. Develop an IT asset management policy
An IT asset management policy is critical to your overall IT strategy. With such a policy in place, it becomes easier to audit and optimize your inventory regularly as you have a standard procedure in place. It acts as a reference point and ensures that all stakeholders know what is expected of them.
Your ITAM policy should include the following information:
- What assets are being managed?
- How are assets being managed?
- Who is responsible for managing assets?
- What level of access do they have to that asset?
- What reports will be generated from the management process?
- What is the process for reviewing and updating the policy?
- How are assets being managed?
You can kickstart the asset management process on the right foot by identifying these aspects and streamlining the process.
2. Create and maintain an inventory of all IT assets
Maintaining an inventory of your IT assets is the first step in ensuring that you have a good handle on what you own, who is responsible for it, and how to ensure it’s safe. It will also help your company avoid penalties associated with non-compliance with industry regulations.
It is important to note that the inventory should include hardware, software, licenses, and other documents, such as purchase records. Moreover, you also need to record where the assets are located, like your cloud, data center, or any other on-prem infrastructure.
For example, Virima’s ITAM tool allows you to record critical asset information like Company Name, Serial Number, Manufacturer, Asset Name, Host Name, Hardware Asset, and more.
Virima’s asset management feature
Plus, maintaining an inventory can help you achieve several aspects like the following:
- It protects your organization against data loss and security breaches, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix
- It helps eliminate out-of-date or unused hardware and software, reducing the need for additional purchases in the future
- It allows you to track equipment usage, which can help with budgeting and forecasting
- It increases efficiency by ensuring all employees have access to the right tools
3. Monitor the entire asset lifecycle proactively
You can use ITAM to track and manage all your assets including hardware, servers, desktops, laptops, mobiles, and installed software/applications. With respect to software, you can monitor the types of software licenses, versions, updates, usage, and expiration dates for each of them. It also allows you to set up alerts for when a license will expire or a version becomes unsupported by its vendor.
Moreover, you can also use automated software asset management solutions to help manage the asset lifecycle. It intimates you when new versions are released and old versions become unsupported by their vendors. Based on your needs, you can control when you would like to release the new version within your network. It removes the need to periodically check license validity manually.
It can also be used as an internal check-in system that shows what each employee has installed on their computer. This practice ensures that you practice ITAM as a proactive—not a reactive process. So, when a compliance audit is due, you are not working until the last minute to gather all the information.
4. Create a designated ITAM team to monitor your assets
It is essential to create a dedicated ITAM team within your organization. Even if creating a team is not possible, at the very least, you need to have one or two dedicated personnel for this responsibility. The reason is that it ensures that your assets are monitored at all times, and when you have dedicated personnel, they are more likely to be well-versed in this task.
If you do not have one, it can create many issues down the line. A few examples include not knowing what assets are part of your network, whether they are still viable for use, whether they follow all compliance guidelines, and more.
It also ensures that you receive regular asset discovery and status reports about all your assets—and how well they function. These reports help you tap into what is truly happening in your network at all times.
5. Manage your software licenses and stay compliant
Software license management is a critical piece of ITAM. Licenses are legal contracts, so security and software compliance teams must manage them correctly. It will benefit your business if you have someone on staff who is responsible for managing licenses. To ease the burden, you can also use an automated ITAM tool that discovers and stores your license information.
It helps you to track down any unlicensed software, which is a common problem in many organizations. This process does require an employee with extensive knowledge of all the licenses. They need to know which licenses belong where and how many licenses each person has available at any given time—along with their credentials. So, account for this as a part of your asset management workflow.
For example, if you have unused licenses or ones no longer needed, you can return them to the vendor for a refund if permitted. Virima’s ITAM tool has a software license metering capability that provides information like your software’s version ID, its status, serial number, and more.
6. Determine if your IT environment could benefit from a CMDB
Configuration management database (CMDB) is a key component of IT asset management. It stores information about an organization’s software, hardware, and other assets. It provides a single source of truth for all the configuration items (CI) present within the organization’s network.
It hosts information like name, location, serial number, and its operating system platform and serial number. If any changes are made to an asset’s configuration, it will be able to track them through the CMDB, so you will always know what should be running on each machine and where they can be found if they go down unexpectedly.
However, not all organizations might need a CMDB. For example, if your team is small and you have very few assets, a CMDB might not be worth the investment at this point.
7. Use automated ITAM software to streamline the process
Automated ITAM helps you improve efficiency by reducing the time needed to perform manual tasks and allowing you to spend your time on more important things. You can also reduce costs associated with storing, tracking, and managing hardware and software assets. It includes accounting for inventory, purchasing new equipment, and performing audits.
Moreover, an automated system helps ensure that all devices have current security patches installed to protect them from viruses or other cyber threats. It also removes the burden on internal teams and adds a level of heightened capability to the process.
ITAM tools like Virima can help you discover previously unknown assets, consolidate that information on one interface and map its dependencies. This process enables you to determine if it is a threat or verified asset within your network. For example, Virima’s tool has agent-based and agentless discovery capabilities that help you uncover and define these unknown assets.
8. Maximize the impact of your internal data
You might be tempted to think that you do not need much data to manage your assets effectively. However, even if you only have a small number of assets within your organization, it will pay off over time if you start collecting information on them now. It will help you create better reports and gain insights into where there might be issues or opportunities within your organization.
Once you start doing that, you can access in-depth insights into what’s happening with your assets and make more data-driven decisions. Moreover, you will observe the ripple effects of this process as better decisions lead to improved workflows.
For example, you will observe lesser customer tickets, implementation of resolution processes, and increased satisfaction for employees and customers.
9. Continuously monitor and gather feedback from your ITAM tool
The primary goal of ITAM is to ensure that you have the right systems to facilitate the effective management of your IT assets. For this reason, it is essential to create a feedback mechanism that enables continual improvement while doing so.
When you consider IT one of your organization’s most dynamic aspects, you will soon realize the impact of continuous improvement. You can improvise and create a workflow that works best for your IT environment and internal teams—helping you reap the most out of this process. It is best to choose an ITAM tool that offers regular reports that can guide the feedback process and help you optimize the ITAM process continuously.
Implementing a good ITAM solution will help you save time and money by advising IT finance and overall management. The right asset management tool can help you manage devices that are no longer being used, prevent overspending, and manage your IT assets more efficiently.
Tools like Virima’s ITAM software can collect data using multiple probes, consolidate that information in a CMDB, create service maps, and generate in-depth reports about your assets. The service maps help you identify dependencies, which tell you which assets are at risk due to a breach or expired software.
Ideally, you should carefully define your IT assets first, as this will help you maintain an accurate list of all the things you have for the various departments within your organization without any confusion. It is essential to take the time to identify all hardware and software to ensure nothing has fallen through the cracks. A healthy inventory is crucial for any business that needs to move forward and grow. If you’re looking for an automated IT asset management tool, schedule a demo with Virima today.