This is the first blog in our new series discussing Asset Management and its importance in the modern enterprise. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss the role Asset Management plays throughout an organization, including Finance, IT, and Operations. This blog focuses on Asset Management’s effect on Compliance and Auditing.
What is Asset Management?
IT Asset Management (ITAM) is defined by Gartner as “providing an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual, and sourcing decisions.”
Often confused with its close cousin, Configuration Management Database (CMDB), one of the first steps in recognizing the value that Asset Management provides to an organization is understanding the differences between the two. To begin with, CMDB is an ITIL defined database used to store and track IT hardware and software as Configuration Items (CIs), whereas assets by themselves are standalone items that have intrinsic financial value to an organization. CMDB is a database that helps organizations manage CIs. The purpose of a CMDB is less about managing an organization’s assets, but more about storing configuration data and managing their relationships to IT specific services. In short, all CMDB items are assets, but not all assets belong in a CMDB.
Asset Management, on the other hand, is much more encompassing. If an item has some financial value and your organization needs to track its financial or contractual aspect, it is an asset. Thus, Asset Management—both within and outside of IT organizations—is the process responsible for managing assets throughout their lifecycle. It involves tracking attributes like value, warranty, contracts, and more for the assets. For example: the building where your office is located? It’s an Asset—at least until the lease is up. Each team, department, etc. within an organization may have unique assets to track, but at the core they are the same, with a value and a lifecycle that needs to be managed.
Asset Management’s Effect on Compliance and Auditing
Given the scope of Asset Management, it can come as no surprise that it plays a vital role when it comes to maintaining compliance within an organization. For organizations in highly regulated industries like healthcare or energy, compliance needs may be more obvious, but auditing assets is a need we all have and are struggling to resolve. There is too much investment made in assets to lose track of who has them, where they are, and what they are doing to contribute to the success of the organization.
Here we will explore how Asset Management aids in meeting those compliance benchmarks through the perspective of two common roles found in most organizations.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the executive responsible for your organization’s information and data security. As the C-Suite Level representative for all things IT, their responsibilities are varied, including things like:
- Security operations
- Cyber risk and cyber intelligence
- Data loss and fraud prevention
- Security architecture
- Identity and access management
- Program management
- Investigations and forensics
With all these duties in mind, CISOs are often faced with compliance and budgetary restrictions influencing both the decisions they make and advice they give to decision makers throughout the organization. As such, important concerns to consider before choosing an Asset Management software include:
- We need to manage our assets with a platform that has already been reviewed and approved…or find a single solution that can solve many of our needs, including asset management.
- On demand reporting is needed to support executive and auditor ad hoc requests.
- How does our IT asset management solution integrate with our alerting and monitoring?
- Which assets are deployed and being used so they are included in our risk audits?
- Spreadsheets are too awkward and unreliable during audits; we need a reliable and secure solution to be a single source of truth.
The right Asset Management software will make reaching these important goals achievable.
A Compliance Officer is the person within your organization tasked with ensuring the company complies with outside regulatory and legal requirements, as well as internal policies and bylaws. Their main responsibility is to work with management and staff alike to identify and manage regulatory risk. Common duties that they may handle include:
- Monitoring organizational inventory depreciation
- Access real-time reports and executive dashboards on asset usage
- Tracking equipment inventory levels
- Follow an asset throughout its lifecycle
That is where Asset Management comes in. It provides your Compliance Officer with the ability to tackle any issues that arise. By providing the Compliance Officer with a complete overview of current assets, spotting potential compliance slip-ups becomes easy.
Finding the right asset management solution will not only serve the specific security and compliance needs but make improvements in how the entire organization is managed. With more accurate and reliable information, Leaders will be equipped to make better strategic decisions. This means better investment in capital to replace aging and underperforming assets, less waste on assets no longer adding value to the organization and improved strategic planning as all assets will be viewed through the single lens of an enterprise wide asset management platform.