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Managing Technology Assets: 10 Best Practices

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Read more about author Jon Davis.

The effects of the pandemic have popularized a unique work style that places a higher value on providing employees with the options of either a hybrid or a fully remote work environment for many employees. In fact, 81% of people surveyed believe hybrid work will be the foremost working model by 2024, with 56% of work being done offsite, according to AT&T’s 2022 Future of Work Report. Consequently, workers and their technology will be conducting business in a fully remote or at least hybrid IT model, which causes data security concerns for technology assets.

Considering that 72% of companies lack effective hybrid work strategies, this leaves organizations scrambling to efficiently manage their ever-growing IT infrastructure and technology assets. To help mitigate concerns and better manage their IT estate, organizations can implement 10 enterprise technology management (ETM) practices that will increase IT infrastructure visibility and better prepare companies for a hybrid or fully remote work environment.

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1. Managing Technology Assets Across All Functions and Procedures 

Within an enterprise, each function and procedure are technology dependent. Given the interdependencies that exist across the various operational groups, it is essential that all assets for every function be managed and tracked thoroughly and contextually. Devices are easy to misplace or lose track of, resulting in significant cost and compliance consequences. Ensuring the proper tracking of these assets will result in the prevention of lesser issues snowballing into much bigger ones, as well as avoiding downstream disruptions further down the line. 

2. Surveilling License Usage 

To avoid true-ups or overspending, companies should monitor license usage across their estate. This best practice falls into the category of an easily avoidable annoyance. To prevent outside enterprises from requesting true-ups on overutilized software usage, as well as avoiding costly expenditures on unused licenses, companies should diligently monitor their infrastructure to optimize their understanding of which licenses and permissions they need and use most.

3. Connecting Any End User to Their Assigned Devices 

Besides managing external threats, enterprises should also leverage the principle of least privileged access to regulate internal data security risks that employees with access to sensitive information pose. While companies do their best to attentively monitor employee access capabilities, even the slightest mistakes can endanger sensitive infrastructure information. Having the capability to associate any end user with their assigned devices helps organizations quickly eliminate potential data breaches. 

4. Increasing Scalability Through Automation 

Many companies continue to track assets via spreadsheets, which hinders scalability and is a limitation to company growth. With the number of assets being tracked exponentially expanding, it is essential that enterprises automate their tracking processes. Automating technology asset management procedures will allow for greater scalability and reduced unforced errors, resulting in an increased speed of service and overall company profitability.

5. Securing Technology Assets from Most to Least Critical

As enterprises deal with a multitude of assets within their IT infrastructure, it is imperative they recognize that not all assets are of equal importance. To better manage their IT estate, organizations must prioritize their technology assets from most to least critical. For example, IT executives can assess risks within their estate and prioritize systems that contain critical data, such as highly sensitive customer information.

While it may seem ideal to cover all assets equally, enterprises, unfortunately, do not have the proper time or bandwidth to treat them all the same. By identifying and managing the most valuable assets first, businesses can efficiently secure and monitor the possessions in their IT estate, which greatly contributes to overall company profitability.  

6. Observing Asset Lifecycles

All devices integrate with multiple and highly varied data sources as they move through their lifecycle. Being able to track all of this in real time is a huge competitive advantage.

From the moment an asset appears on IT’s radar, it is critical to continuously monitor it for security vulnerabilities. If any system or device has been compromised, it not only poses a risk in a single instance or point in time but also has the capability to spread the risk to anything downstream as well. Through the implementation of enterprise technology management, companies can correlate and contextualize technology both across the enterprise and across the entire product lifecycle, from ordering to end-of-life, regardless of whether its software, hardware, virtual, accessories, network equipment, or others. This effectively lets organizations optimize the use of specific IT assets as they move through the product life cycle (refreshes, updates, patches, etc.), ensuring that employees have exactly what they need at the time when they need it.

7. Endpoint Detection and Response

In an age where assets are in constant flux, it is imperative to monitor anti-virus status by both user and department. Given that the world has shifted to a remote and/or hybrid work environment, tracking the deployment and consistency of anti-virus (AV) software must remain a top priority for organizations. By confirming that all devices have the latest AV software, are regularly scanning and are properly encrypted, businesses can know exactly what is happening and be able to take swift action if needed.

8. Two-Factor Authentication Usage for Every Log-In, Including Those Delivered By SSO

With its compatibility with cloud and on-premise applications, two-factor authentication is a widely available and effective technology that significantly boosts enterprises’ security profiles. It is also important to track which systems integrate SSO, as there may be costs or risks associated with this integration. However, proper SSO integration can result in the plugging of security gaps created by shadow IT. While it may be slightly inconvenient to users, this authentication method is key to managing IT estate security risks. 

9. Tightening Up Your Virtual Presence 

Monitoring virtual machine (VM) spin-ups and spin-downs is an essential aspect of an efficient IT estate. While VMs are spun up for specific tasks, they must also be spun down when the assignment has been completed. Just as one reduces spending by turning lights off when leaving the room, organizations can save money and reduce cloud space from items not in use by ensuring VMs are spun down at appropriate times. To streamline VM spin-ups and spin-downs, businesses can automate the process and provide additional data such as that required for charge-back. Just as one reduces spending by turning lights off when leaving the room, organizations can save money and reduce cloud space from items not in use by automating the VM spin-up and spin-down process to ensure they are running at appropriate times.

10. Understand That This Is a Continuing, Evolving Process 

As companies constantly expand and evolve, their employees and assets become more unpredictable in a hybrid IT environment. As assets continue to enter and exit enterprises’ IT estates, companies must remain vigilant about maintaining real-time visibility across their organization to better manage security, employee engagement, compliance, and their bottom line.

Conclusion

As hybrid and remote work environments continue to gain traction around the world, now is the time for companies to implement a greater enterprise technology management strategy to gain a comprehensive view of their IT estate regardless of location or asset type. By implementing greater ETM, companies can check all 10 of the best practices above off their list, resulting in greater risk management and company scalability. 

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