Have you ever stopped to think about the breadth or scope of IT asset management (ITAM)? You might already know that it’s an IT management and IT service management (ITSM) capability that helps your organization to maximize value, control costs, manage risks, support decision making, and meet regulatory requirements. But have you ever stopped to think about the range of IT assets that fall under the ITAM practices’ purview?
If not, then this blog is for you – with it a super-quick journey through the key types of IT assets and their management.
So, what are your software assets? We could be cheeky and say that it’s the software your organization employs but it’s often easy for organizations to overlook a chunk of the software they use and its licensing implications.
So, it’s good to think of your software assets from several perspectives, it’s software running:
- On both physical hardware, including mobile devices, and virtual machines (VMs)
- In all environments – development, test, staging, production, and don’t forget training environments.
And it includes:
- Operating systems
- Server applications
- Personal applications.
The aim of software asset management (SAM) is to ensure that all software is managed throughout its lifecycle, deployed safely, and appropriately licensed.
What are your hardware assets? As with SAM, it’s good to think broadly about what should be considered to be hardware assets. For example, you’ll likely immediately think of end-user devices, such as personal computers (and Macs), tablets, and smartphones plus any peripherals you deem worthy of being “asset managed.”
Then there’s data center hardware that includes servers, storage systems, uninterruptible power supplies, etc. Plus, network and telecoms equipment that includes routers, load balancers, and switches. Plus, in the current environment, there’s also videoconferencing and VoIP equipment to consider too.
Sadly, hardware asset management is an ITAM process that often doesn't get as much attention as SAM because it doesn’t carry the risks and adverse consequences of software licensing and vendor audits. But it’s important to understand the hardware associated risks of software licensing because software sits on hardware and you need to ensure that the type of hardware is appropriate to the license type.
While everything might “be in the cloud” and provided/managed by a third-party, your organization shouldn’t neglect its cloud-based assets. You’ve probably already addressed the issues of VM-sprawl, what’s to say that you don’t have a similar issue with cloud where cloud services are engaged and paid for on an ongoing basis but there’s no control over the spend and whether it’s needed still. It’s classic IT wastage that ITAM is designed to prevent.
The management of cloud-based assets should be viewed across all three of:
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
- Platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Using S/I/PaaS-based services doesn’t absolve you of your software licensing responsibilities either, so understanding the type of cloud-based assets your business is using will make it easier to manage them.
IT asset data
This final IT asset type might surprise you. But given the risks and impacts of corporate data leaks, the growth in cyberattacks, and data-related regulations, your organization needs to ensure that it adequately manages its data assets too.
This IT asset type is also included in the latest ITIL 4 ITAM guidance, with it stating that these assets can be managed by:
- Managing the IT assets that contain data appropriately, or
- Applying ITAM procedures to data assets to control their lifecycles.
That’s our take on the main types of IT assets. What else would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments.