IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the process of managing and tracking an organization’s IT assets throughout their lifecycle. This includes hardware like computers, servers, printers, and mobile devices, as well as software licenses, network devices, and other IT-related components.
The goal of ITAM is to ensure that an organization’s IT assets are being used effectively, efficiently and securely while minimizing costs and reducing the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.
A few of the key activities involved in ITAM include asset inventory management, software license management, vendor management and procurement, and disposal. These processes typically involve using specialized software tools and best practices to manage the entire lifecycle of an organization’s IT assets. This includes tracking asset usage and maintenance monitoring of potential security vulnerabilities, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and policies.
IT asset management’s primary purpose is to manage the IT asset lifecycle, from purchase through retirement, but increasingly it has an important role to play in cybersecurity too by discovering and inventorying assets and identifying missing patches and other security vulnerabilities. Many organizations don’t have an accurate inventory of everything they own, making patch management even more difficult.
With the help of ITAM processes and tools, organizations can identify and track all IT assets, ensure software license compliance and identify unused software, manage patching and updates, and monitor and detect anomalies.
IT asset inventories are also an important part of vulnerability management, and some have dubbed products and processes geared toward security as cybersecurity asset management.
A major goal of IT asset management is to ensure that an organization’s IT assets are being used effectively, efficiently, and securely throughout their lifecycle, an important step in aligning IT and business objectives.
There are a number of areas where IT asset management processes can be applied. Here are seven types of ITAM, ranging from on-premises technology to mobile and cloud assets too.
Mobile device management also includes managing the lifecycle of mobile devices. MDM and enterprise mobility management (EMM) tools and practices span device inventory, security management, application management, and policy enforcement to ensure data and security compliance.
IT service management (ITSM) is complementary to ITAM, focusing on the delivery of IT services to the business as opposed to ITAM’s cost management and asset lifecycle focus. And both fall under the broader IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices for IT and business alignment.
ITSM includes service desk management, incident management, change management, and service level management to ensure IT services are delivered efficiently and effectively.
ITSM and ITAM can both include configuration management databases (CMDBs). While a CMDB is more associated with the service focus of ITSM, as ITAM becomes a bigger part of cybersecurity, a CMDB’s ability to map relationships between applications and systems can become an important tool for security teams.
ITAM’s benefits include more effective management and operations, reduced costs, improved security, and better planning. Here’s more on ITAM’s benefits.
Effective IT asset management depends on best practices to help organizations maximize their IT assets while maintaining compliance with security policies and regulatory requirements. Implementing best ITAM practices enables organizations to manage IT asset lifecycles efficiently, enhancing IT service delivery and supporting informed business decisions that drive better outcomes. Here are those ITAM best practices.
Asset identification: By identifying and classifying all IT assets, an organization can manage them more effectively and make more informed decisions based on value and risk.
Asset valuation: By assigning value to each asset based on its cost, usage, and business value, it becomes easier to prioritize assets and optimize your business IT portfolio.
Asset recordkeeping: Maintaining an accurate inventory of all IT assets, including their location, condition and usage, allows for better planning and faster incident response.
Asset insurance: Insuring critical assets against loss or damage can give you added protection against financial risks.
Depreciation management and valuation: Knowing everything about your IT assets can help your accounting team develop a depreciation schedule and ensure accurate financial reporting, tax compliance and budget planning.
Asset disposal: ITAM can also help you dispose of assets in a responsible and secure manner, following regulations and guidelines to help minimize the risk of data breaches and reputational damage.
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