successful asset management

5 Key Steps to Successful Lifecycle IT Asset Management

Keeping track of company assets can be an overwhelming task, especially with all the IT components involved.  We mostly think of these devices as desktops and laptops, but other mobile devices, such as iPads and cellphones, can complicate matters.

During a recent ITAD conference, many of the attendees were very open about the situations they encountered when it comes to reaching a successful end with this process.  Here are 5 key steps to guide in the proper management of these assets.

#1 Record the serial numbers and assignment of the asset.

You must know what you have and who has it at any given time. It is also critical for the assignee to understand they are responsible for not only the physical asset, but also for the data stored on the device. Most companies have an executed employee agreement between both the employee and the entity issuing the asset, outlining the company’s policy. There are a number of tracking systems on the market today, including the Wasp Barcoding Asset Management System. These programs are basically a database that allows you to record all the pertinent information and track where your assets are, who has your assets, and when your assets are due back. Checking-out of assets allows you to assign responsibility to an employee, a customer, or even a vendor. Some systems may allow the use of radio frequency (‘RF’) tagging, as well as barcoding. Many companies are writing their own tracking programs.

#2 Conduct an annual physical inventory of your assets.

Things can happen in a year’s time. Devices can break, be lost, or be stolen. If the recording of these events isn’t performed properly, your records are worthless. The only true way to reconcile your database is with a physical inventory conducted at a minimum, annually. If your company acquires another business, you must conduct a physical inventory of the equipment that came with the new business. You should not just take the word of someone else by just entering the information into your database. You have to see it in order to confirm you’re getting what you paid for.

#3 Ensure all devices and data are secure.

Identity theft and system breaches are becoming a major concern of businesses today, almost a daily occurrence somewhere. Your company should do everything it can to help in the protection of its data and assets through the use of a high-quality firewall and spam filter. Should a device become corrupted, or your security breached, your IT and Loss Prevention departments must get involved immediately. If customer data is compromised, it could spell disaster for everyone concerned.

#4 Recover assets from terminated employees.

An often overlooked aspect of this process is to ensure that assets are recovered when employees leave the company. These assets must be recovered. One company enlists the service of a recovery company that will go to the former employee’s home with a itemization of the assets to be collected. Once these are obtained, the employee is given a receipt for the assets, and the recovery company ships it back to the IT department. If customer information is on the device, it is imperative that your company maintain the security of that information.

#5 Properly dispose of the asset once its life is over.

Devices don’t last forever, but in some cases, the hardware may be recycled or repurposed. For devices and equipment that cannot be given a second life, you have to find the safest, most secure, and environmentally-sound way to dispose of it. The security of the data on the device is just as critical now as it was when the device was in use. It is critical to ensure that the information is wiped, or the equipment has been physically destroyed in a proper manner. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has established set guidelines for the clearing, purging, or destruction of the devices and data, which provide the basis for companies to follow.

A systematic, methodical approach to the management of your company’s IT assets will take discipline to maintain. The payoff will prove to be well worth the time and effort put forward.

If you would like to know more about how Van Ausdall & Farrar can help your organization with your IT asset lifecycle management, contact us here and reference this blog post.