Organizations operating in a hybrid environment—consisting of both in-office and remote work arrangements—can face unique challenges when managing their IT assets. With the emergence of new technologies and emerging trends in remote working and mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for IT departments to keep up with asset tracking and management demands.
The hybrid workplace model has seen a surge in popularity since the start of the pandemic as businesses grapple with how to safely and efficiently keep their businesses afloat. This new way of working combines traditional office work with remote work, allowing teams to work from home while staying connected with their coworkers. Companies are finding that this type of arrangement offers greater flexibility and cost savings while also allowing them to remain productive. However, managing the entire hybrid infrastructure is a challenge.
IT Asset Management (ITAM) tools provide organizations with an effective way to gain visibility into their IT landscape, allowing them to streamline processes related to inventory management, audit compliance, asset lifecycle management, and software license optimization.
This article will explore the challenges associated with managing IT assets in a hybrid environment and how ITAM tools can help organizations tackle these issues.
IT asset management challenges associated with a hybrid environment
Here are a few challenges that asset managers face at organizations that use a hybrid work policy:
Added complexity to security considerations due to hybrid work
In a hybrid work environment, there is an increased chance of security lapses due to the lack of oversight and the presence of uncataloged devices. These devices can include personal computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other unsecured hardware that may be used to access the company’s network. Remote employees can work remotely and access data from any location without someone physically monitoring their activity.
As these unknown devices are not adequately managed or monitored, they create a much larger attack surface that can be targeted by external malicious actors such as hackers or malware.
Companies may also need help regarding data privacy and compliance because personnel outside the corporate network no longer fall under the same regulations and protocols. As such, an organization’s security posture in this environment is significantly weaker than when it solely relied on premises-based infrastructure with controlled and monitored access points.
Cloud computing also presents risks and opportunities—such as enhanced scalability and cost savings—but requires careful consideration when securing the data stored in the cloud. All these factors mean that enterprise security must be more robust than ever to protect against threats inside and outside the office environment.
Lack of compliance with industry regulations
In a hybrid work environment, there are more opportunities for a lack of compliance with security regulations as the enterprise may not have visibility into which IT assets are present. Without an accurate understanding of what assets exist and the security status of each asset, the regulations set by auditors become hard to comply with.
It is even worse when employees are working remotely, as it decreases the ability to keep track of what is happening within the network and create a detailed inventory. Plus, if employees use their personal devices to access company networks while working from home, it increases the risk that these devices may have malware or other malicious programs that could compromise sensitive data or open up possible security vulnerabilities.
With more remote workers, you may not have an easy way to ensure that employee computers are updated regularly and that any weak passwords used for internal accounts are changed to protect against potential cyberattacks. All these factors combined lead to greater chances for a lack of compliance with security regulations in a hybrid work environment.
Decrease in productivity due to inefficient asset management
There is an increased potential for decreased workplace productivity due to an inadequate IT Asset Management system. An effective ITAM system makes tracking and managing remote assets spread geographically and on different cloud platforms easier. It can lead to lost or misused assets, leading to higher costs and possibly lost production time. Moreover, when any incident occurs, it becomes hard to identify the problem’s root cause, which can take hours or even days—leading to a loss in workplace productivity.
Poor asset management can also create a lack of visibility into the resource utilization of remote teams and employees, which can contribute to inefficiencies in the usage of resources across the organization. Suppose an ITAM system is not correctly maintained and updated as changes occur within the hybrid environment. In that case, it can lead to problems such as inaccurate records of software licenses or hardware procurement costs—leading to overspending and lost opportunities.
Priorities for IT teams while managing a hybrid work environment
Here is a list of priorities for IT teams when they are managing a hybrid work environment:
Improve visibility into the entire IT network to ensure continuous monitoring
Asset management software is an essential resource for companies working in a hybrid work environment, as it provides visibility and control over the network and its assets. This tool allows companies to gain deeper insights into their networks, including discovering hardware, software, applications, licenses, entitlements, and contractual information. It also helps manage compliance with company policies and identify potential security or Personal Identifiable Information (PII) risks.
The advantage of using an ITAM tool is that it enables companies to track all assets across their on-premises data center, cloud infrastructure, and SaaS environment in real time. It allows companies to ensure their data remains secure and accessible to the right users. Plus, it can automatically detect any changes or updates made to assets over time, allowing for more efficient management of software licenses and contracts. It can also provide detailed reports about asset utilization, which can help companies optimize their use of resources for better cost savings.
Using a tool like Virima, you can monitor various aspects of your infrastructure irrespective of whether it is present on-premises, in the cloud, or on edge devices. By taking advantage of intuitive discovery probes that scan your entire network, you know what assets are present, where, and their roles in your business.
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Implement BYOD policies to secure the network
Organizations must take extra steps in a hybrid work environment to ensure their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are secure and compliant with any necessary regulations. ITAM provides powerful capabilities to create granular policies tailored to each organization’s needs.
For example, an organization can use ITAM to specify which devices can access its data, what applications or services they can use, and who can access certain sensitive information.
You can also monitor the usage of their BYOD devices in real time and collect detailed usage analytics for each device. It enables companies to quickly identify potential security risks or compliance violations and take appropriate measures before they become a serious problem. It is also best to create standard policies for reporting the use of specific assets in the organization so that you know what assets are part of your network.
ITAM tools also provide organizations with comprehensive asset-tracking capabilities to keep track of all their devices at all times. This helps them maintain accurate records of who has access to their networks and data and guarantees that only authorized personnel can access it.
Leverage ITAM to improve operational efficiency
With the right ITAM tool, companies can improve operational efficiency and ensure better compliance with data privacy laws. ITAM tools help quickly discover, inventory, track, and manage a business’s hardware and software assets. It is crucial as it helps to remove siloed information that can cause inefficiencies within an organization.
It will also provide valuable insights into usage patterns, allowing businesses to identify areas where they can reduce costs or make more informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, ITAM tools help companies to keep up to date with the latest legal requirements regarding software licensing and other regulations related to asset management. Automated tracking allows organizations to reduce overall risk by ensuring their assets are always accounted for and current with the latest standards, helping them comply with local laws.
For example, Virima’s ITAM platform allows you to generate comprehensive reports about all aspects of your IT asset landscape. It gives you a detailed picture of the health of your infrastructure. The reporting engine draws on data from multiple sources, including hardware and software inventories, license management, and more, to generate dashboards tailored to individual organizations and their needs. It helps you gain an insight into usage trends and accurately assess the performance of their IT investments.
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By providing detailed visibility into asset utilization, companies can make more informed decisions about usage patterns and create more efficient processes for managing physical and digital assets.
Integrate security and governance policies with minimal workflow disruption
ITAM tools can provide visibility into the assets connected to the corporate network, allowing companies to track, monitor and manage their assets on-premises and in the cloud. By monitoring inventory levels, IT departments can ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices.
Additionally, it enables organizations to identify unauthorized access points or potential vulnerabilities in their assets before they become an issue. It provides organizations with better security controls by helping them detect any suspicious activity within their network, such as unauthorized software installations or attempts at data exfiltration. It helps protect against cyberattacks, data breaches, and other malicious activities. You can also use such tools to track user access levels and privilege escalation privileges to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information.
Plus, these tools enable organizations to set up guardrails for users and administrators so that they cannot make unapproved configuration changes on their networks or systems, which could cause security issues or compliance violations.
For instance, Virima provides an accurate inventory of hardware and software assets, and organizations can ensure their IT infrastructure meets compliance requirements. With patch and security reports, organizations can better identify and address vulnerabilities proactively and in real time. You can visualize this using a service map, making it much easier to pinpoint the issue and see which services they impact. This reduces the mean time to resolution (MTTR) for your incidents and ensures that incident resolution teams miss nothing.
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Improve hybrid infrastructure management with Virima
The implementation of ITAM within a hybrid work environment can provide organizations with the ability to accurately and effectively manage their IT assets. By taking advantage of ITAM’s automated resource tracking capabilities, organizations can improve their inventory accuracy while ensuring they comply with industry regulations.
In addition, an integrated ITAM solution allows organizations to ensure secure access to their data and systems no matter where or how the employees work. Ultimately, ITAM provides organizations with a hybrid working model with the tools for efficient and secure asset management.
Tools like Virima can help you monitor your networks 24×7, catalog your IT assets automatically and create dynamic visualizations based on real-time changes in your network. This integrated capability is crucial as it allows you to detect unknown assets when they appear in the network. If it does not comply with your organizational policies, remove it from your network and prevent any untoward incidents.
Book a demo with Virima to understand how our product suite can help you manage IT assets in your hybrid workplace.