Protecting Business Interests
With Policies for IT Asset Management
Like so many other types of IT management policies,
including data security
and email, asset management
policies are used to protect business assets and interests.
Technology devices and software are certainly assets -- and
they are certainly expensive, valuable and worthy of "protection" --
from failure, loss, destruction, theft, damage and related harm.
Read on to learn the role that policy plays in protecting
these assets and related business interests.
Where is that laptop? Who has that printer? Do we
have sufficient software licenses for every user? These are
the types of questions IT asset management is meant to answer. As an
operational practice, IT asset management serves multiple purposes,
as reflected in the list below:
- Asset management practices are used to minimize the risk
that investments made in technology (hardware, software and
training) will be lost due to theft, destruction or other
- Asset management practices are used to ensure that
technology assets are properly allocated to end-users to
optimize usage and workplace productivity.
- Asset management practices are used to simplify technical support and
- Asset management practices are used to lower IT "cost of
ownership" and maximize IT ROI.
- Asset management practices are used to ensure that software licensing is in full
compliance, minimizing the risk of legal and regulatory
- Asset management practices are used to support "sister" policies for disaster recovery, email usage, data
security, and technology standards.
The Role of Asset Management Policy
Asset management practices define the actions to be taken to
protect and preserve technology assets - from physical locks on
equipment to inventory tags. In conjunction, policy
provides the "asset management mindset".
This mindset acknowledges that"technology assets are
important to us and we take them seriously enough to put up with
protective controls". To realize all of the intended benefits,
this mindset must be integrated into daily operations and
the corporate culture -- and this is achieved through
Once approved, asset management policies provide the
to implement all aspects of the asset management program.
While policy terms and specifics will vary according to
organizational needs, the most effective policies are designed
around (13) key components, as listed below:
- Asset Standards. To identify the specific hardware and
software products (assets) to be used and supported.
- Configuration Standards. To identify how
and software assets are to be configured.
- Variance Process. To establish the
criteria and means by which product and configuration standards
can (and should) be waived.
- Support of "Non- Standard" Assets. To establish
the services that will IT provide for non-standard products and
Guidelines. To establish the means for supporting
"Bring Your Own" devices (tablets, phones, notebooks, laptops).
- Asset Procurement
Guidelines. To identify the policies
and procedures relating to the acquisition, procurement and/or
rental of technology assets.
Guidelines. To identify how physical
and logical security will be provided for hardware and software
assets (locks, passwords,
virus protection, etc.).
- Software Licensing Guidelines. To keep track of asset licensing, ensuring compliance with all
relevant agreements, laws and regulations.
- Technical Support and Maintenance Practices. To identify the processes to be followed for
technical support, repair, service dispatch, preventative maintenance,
and problem escalation.
- Configuration Management
Guidelines. To identify related practices for asset
configuration management and change control to ensure consistent,
updated configuration and timely updates as may be required.
- Asset Inventory Practices. To keep track of the location
of all allocated technology assets (hardware and software),
including related recordkeeping.
- Asset M.A.C.
Practices. To govern requests and activities
relating to physical moves, adds and changes (M.A.C.) with
regard to allocated hardware and software assets.
- Asset Disposal
Guidelines. To identify the processes
to be followed when hardware and software assets are no longer
in use and disposal is appropriate (which can include a donation
To read more about asset management needs, turn to our next
article Performing the Asset Management Needs Analysis.
Your Top 10 Policy Planning Questions
As discussed, once they are documented, established (and approved),
asset management policies provide the means to "institutionalize"
underlying objectives. Policy is a tool by which
related practices are implemented and executed, laying out
the "what, how and why" of IT asset management. Not only does
policy provide the means for governance, it also provides the basis
for related planning and decision making. To realize all of
these goals and benefits, policy planning must address the following
"top 10" planning questions:
- What are your primary asset management goals?
- What are the likely benefits to be realized from the
standardized management of IT assets?
- What are the negative aspects and/or risks associated with
IT asset management?
- Is executive management support required to plan and
implement these practices?
- If executive management support is required, are you likely to
- How would any chosen policies and procedures be implemented and
- Do you have the resources to plan, implement, and execute any
chosen policies and procedures?
- What are the likely costs associated with managing
information technology assets?
- What are the likely objections to adopted asset management
practices and how can they be addressed?
- What are the consequences of inaction with regard to
managing IT assets?
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