IT asset management is commonly defined as the full lifecycle management of IT assets from the point of acquisition to disposition or retirement. The process is meant to identify the physical and financial status of those assets in order to optimize cost and utilization. Many industry regulations require organizations to accurately document and provide serial numbers for their various IT assets. If an asset is serialized and recorded in a system, then a serial number is required for all movements and transactions for that asset including inventory counts, shipments, and end-of-life disposal. The amount of electronic devices required to run a business is constantly growing, as well as the need to organize and account for the assets.
Successful IT asset management can greatly improve the efficiency of a company, help track its return on investment, allocate resources properly, and quickly identify any asset availability issues. Aside from the internal benefits of adopting the best asset management practices, there are many external regulations and compliance laws that require IT assets to be correctly documented. This is especially relevant for healthcare organizations that must comply with the HIPAA Security Rule, which protects patient health information. The Office of Civil Rights monitors this rule by providing Guidance on Risk Analysis Requirements, requiring organizations to identify where e-PHI (electronic patient health information) is stored. Under HIPAA Audit Protocol, OCR auditors are expected to ensure that all hardware devices containing e-PHI are being accurately tracked by company management.
As the frequency of healthcare data breaches continues to increase, organizations need to re-evaluate all data security practices and perform internal audits of their data-storing devices. Many healthcare organizations do not know where or how many assets they have. In order to comply with HIPAA regulations, they must know what assets they own, what data is stored on them, and who has access to it. The role of IT asset management has become a mandatory business requirement rather than an optional security measure. A well managed program can effectively help to identify and manage information risk as well as create a more sustainable health service overall.
All businesses want to get the most out of their investments. In order to regain the most value from old IT assets, a business needs to know what assets it already owns, what assets it needs, and what assets should be retired and replaced. The entire lifecycle of electronic devices used by a company should be accurately serialized and tracked. However, more than 80% of corporate enterprises do not have a centralized and automated system to manage the physical, operational, and financial status of their IT assets. This inefficiency is effectively hurting their bottom line and allowing unforeseen costs to arise. In addition to cost issues, a poor IT asset management system also brings up performance and compliance problems. The ability to identify when certain assets are not in use and when inventory is outdated, in addition to being able to remotely control assets, can help to avoid security breaches and overspending. IT assets and technology are an integral part to any organization and how they are managed can greatly impact the success and efficiency of a business.
Want to learn more about the topics addressed above? Check out these links for more information:
- Health Data Management explains why IT asset management is crucial to information security and healthcare compliance regulations [HDM].
- A comprehensive guide to organizing a system of healthcare technology management [Guide].
- HP’s whitepaper outlines the importance and factors of understanding inventory, configuration, and IT asset management [HP].
- Orion outlines the consequences and high cost of poor asset management [Orion].
- An article by Fresh Service dives into five key consequences and costs of poor asset management and how a proper system can make all the difference [FreshService].