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Watch Your Assets: How ITAM Helps Enhance IT Security

 

By Chris Harris, Support Analyst, Marval Software

 

We live in a fast-paced, globalised and full of opportunities world. Many successful businesses have overgrown their local markets, developed global commercial networks and now depend on their disperse, mobile workforce for their worldwide operations.

As organisations expanded, so did the size, volume and dispersity of their IT assets, making their effective management an ongoing challenge. Although IT Asset Management (ITAM) has been around for some years, initially the focus was on governing hardware installations and software updates. Only a few years ago, ITAM was still about keeping records of the IT inventory.

Today, Asset Management has overgrown its initial role too. Since it provides improved visibility to the IT infrastructure and applications, it has become a critical tool to enhancing IT security. ITAM is not just a list of assets and their barcodes, but a thorough business process that helps the Service Desk have a clear and accurate view of what is used, how, by whom, where and how often. It helps the Service Desk Analysts (and the rest of the ICT Team) to understand who should have access to services, systems and applications and who should have restricted rights, or no rights at all, and limit access to those who really need it (and should have it). Combined with identity management, ITAM plays a key role in managing access and keeping sensitive information safe.

ITAM ensures a more efficient lifecycle management, providing insight in expiring dates, new releases and updates. Efficient lifecycle management practically reduces the risk of downtime (caused by aged systems’ failures or security breaches), ensuring a safer, solid and more available IT infrastructure.

It also helps accelerate business decisions and decrease the overall complexity of the IT environment – for example, by discarding any devices and applications which are not in use or do not meet the organisation’s guidelines regarding security and compliance. A less complex, more accountable infrastructure means less administration and reduced risks.

Most importantly, ITAM has become a part of the organisation’s business strategy, facilitating business decisions and accelerating the reach of KPIs and operational objectives, such as improved supplier and vendor management, boosted staff productivity, increased operational efficiency, enhanced security, lower cost of ownership (TCO) and advanced compliance with policies and regulations.

Asset Management can be a very effective tool for enhancing IT security, but it requires people’s engagement and active involvement. It requires the Service Desk staff to appreciate the importance of ITAM and its impact across the organisation, and embrace a process-based approach for asset management. It also requires the ICT Team to realise and accept their responsibilities, and be accountable, each according to their roles.

It sounds like hard work, but it isn’t actually. With the right ITSM tool (and Marval MSM is such a tool), IT Professionals can manage their assets effectively and hassle-free, following a process designed around their organisation’s needs; while reinforcing a culture that helps the organisation be more secure and more aligned to its critical business objectives.

 

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