IT Asset Management as Vital as IT Security in 2019

IT Asset Managers need to be aware of coming trends and stay a step ahead of the evolving business and regulatory environments

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As hacking, leaks and data breaches continue to worsen, the professionals known as “Information Technology Asset Managers” will play a more central role in 2019, according to Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and CEO of the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM).

Rembiesa said: “As we move forward into 2019, it is important to remember what we have learned.  Data leaks and hacking incidents were at an all-time high in 2018 and the management of those incidents left behind lasting impressions on consumers.   IT Asset Managers are called upon year after year to do more to help … and 2019 will be a real breakthrough year for the profession.”

Rembiesa outlined three distinct trends that are expected for 2019:

Invasion of ghost contracts: Contract management will become a new emphasis for IT Asset Managers in 2019.  These unsigned “URL contracts” (often referred to as end user license agreements) govern everything the organization does between their businesses, IT department, and the IT provider community.  

Companies are currently being invaded organically by URL contracts without even realizing what has happened.  With providers being the ones driving this change, their legal staff is much more equipped to handle this than that of small or medium-sized company.

Rembiesa said: “IT Asset Managers need to understand that this is an unsigned and non-negotiated agreement that is generated through multiple purchases or use agreements and may exist on a product-by-product basis.  These contracts can also be changed at any time with little or no warning or notification from the provider. 

"Contractual URLs will dictate what you do, how much you pay, how you pay, what can be changed, etc., for many years to come.  IT Asset Managers will need to either strengthen their relationship with their legal and contract departments or become adept contract managers themselves.  This will be a new requirement for managing assets in the future and IT Asset Managers will be called upon to handle this change.”

Cybersecurity gets tighter:  The strong focus on cybersecurity will continue in the new year.  In September of 2018, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) along with NCCoE (National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence) published a standard for IT Asset Managers.  Initially, compliance with the new NIST Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 will only be for governmental agencies.  However, just as other governmental best practices have trickled down into commercial enterprise, this too will find its way to a wider audience.

Rembiesa said: “The year 2018 was the worst year in recorded history for data breaches and leaks of personally identifiable information (PII).  There is no sign of this trend slowing down.  While data leaks are sometimes impossible to defend, identifying them and reporting them to those affected so the victims can protect themselves quickly is becoming the new focus.  The speed in which an organization can report a data breach is only as fast as their ability to locate the data and offending assets.  This is an ITAM best practice and as of September 2018, NIST and NCCoE agree.”

Fighting breaches via greater corporate harmony: One way that corporations will seek to cut down on hacking and leaks is to synchronize ITAM and IT service management (ITSM).  Left uncoordinated, these two elements can end up in disharmony.  In many companies, this degenerates into a battle of quality vs. speed, with breaches and leaks sometimes being the result.  

ITSM is focused on providing the services necessary for the business. They are paid to close trouble tickets and get new products up and running as quickly as possible.  ITAM is paid to manage assets, licenses, vendors, and contracts in a manner that is advantageous to the business.  ITAM is often slower and more deliberate than ITSM.  Change is coming in the form of ITAM becoming more and more recognized as every bit as important to an organization as ITSM … and maybe even more so in terms of controlling hacking and leaks.

Rembiesa said: “Identifying assets, leveraging vendors, and negotiating contracts are producing real cost savings, efficiencies reduced risks for organizations.  C-level executives are seeing the value in a mature ITAM process.  In the new year, more IT Asset Managers can and will ensure that are coordinating fully with ITSM.”

The IAITAM leader added: “The year 2019 will see exciting developments for IT Asset Managers as the capabilities and benefits that they offer to their organizations get more recognition.  IT Asset Managers need to be aware of coming trends and stay a step ahead of the evolving business and regulatory environments.  IAITAM will be here for you every step of the way!”

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