IT Asset Management – the new security must have

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is an often forgotten but critically important part of a layered, unified IT and security portfolio

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IT Asset Management (ITAM) is an often forgotten but critically important part of a layered, unified IT and security portfolio.

Ivanti’s ITAM solution has a rich history, having evolved out of the Federation Against Software Theft, an organisation formed in 1984 with the aim of eliminating copyright infringement of software in the UK. ITAM technology itself evolved out of Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) which have existed since the 1990’s – Ivanti’s solution in particular was developed by a UK-based organisation called Concorde (founded in 2007) which Ivanti acquired in 2017. Software compliance was brought in by the likes of Microsoft so as to ensure that organisations had correct, in-date licensing of their products – the penalty for lacking a license or having an out of date license was, and very much still is, incredibly costly, so having technology in place that can monitor if your licenses are in date can deliver significant ROI.

It is important to manage the “movement” of both hardware and software. ITAM can be utilised to prevent incidents such as the loss of the unencrypted USB storage device by Heathrow Airport last year – the device contained security plans and maps, as well as the Queen’s highly sensitive travel details. On the less physical side, ITAM can monitor how software is used e.g. if someone is hacking into a piece of software to access confidential data. It can also identify if an unusual and potentially dangerous piece of software has infiltrated a piece of hardware. It is important to utilise ITAM alongside a layered security strategy (that includes, for example, patching, application whitelisting and AV). Think back to when WannaCry happened – without ITAM, organisations wouldn’t be able to identify specifically which assets had been affected, and then wouldn’t have been able to lock down affected assets, thus allowing the malware to spread further.

The Ivanti ITAM Homescreen

The ITAM market is growing tremendously because organisations are starting to realise the massive ROI that ITAM can provide them with; as well as this, data has essentially become the new oil, but instead of being depleted like the black sticky substance, data is exploding by the day. It is imperative that we are able to control data, and ITAM is one means of doing so. ITAM solutions are growing out of the UK, Germany and Scandinavia into other expanding ITAM growth areas such as the US and APAC. ITAM isn’t just a security or IT product, rather it is part of a layered, defence in depth security portfolio; it integrates with UEM, ITSM, and Security to provide organisations with complete security coverage.

The Ivanti ITAM Dashboard

Ivanti’s ITAM Suite consists of two parts:

  • Ivanti License Optimiser manages complex license data against current terms of each software vendor that an organisation buys from. It helps organisations understand complex, server-based enterprise products like those offered by Oracle, Microsoft, VMWare and IBM. These kinds of products can be difficult to track due to the transitory nature of physical and virtual machines, the complexity of vendors’ license agreements and the frequency of changes to licensing terms and conditions. With License Optimiser, IT professionals can gather the insight they need to minimise cost, mitigate risk of audits and support transformation initiatives across all IT environments.
  • Ivanti Asset Manager manages the lifecycle of an organisation’s hardware and software from purchase through to disposal. The solution’s configurable design helps organisations define and follow their own workflows, or implement out-of-the-box processes, allowing IT to gain a complete view of an ITAM position, whether managing software, hardware, servers, clients, or virtual and cloud assets.

When these two tools work together, they deliver a complete view of an organisation’s IT asset management position in a single ITAM suite. Managing all assets together is critical as it means that organisations can have a database of all information. This is important for visibility, security and compliance (both in terms of software licensing, but also reporting for upcoming regulations such as the GDPR and NIS Directive). For all of these reasons, assets need to be comprehensively managed from onboarding to offboarding and sanitisation.

The Ivanti ITAM Compliance Overview: identifying levels of compliance

Ivanti’s ITAM solution is used by organisations across most verticals: from health (who have a huge amount of critically important hardware devices to manage) to aerospace (who have a lot of internal audits to deal with). British Gas have been an Ivanti ITAM customer for eleven years – with around 45,000 users utilising a multitude of different devices and software, ITAM has been critical. The team reported saving millions of pounds in licensing fees in the first year alone. Ivanti ITAM has also helped FTSE 100 company REXAM (a manufacturer of cans and plastic packaging) reduce software costs by £370,000. ITAM also vastly improved internal perceptions of IT at REXAM. See more case studies attached with this entry.

The future of ITAM is bright as more countries and verticals start to embrace its benefits, with Ivanti’s solution being one of the leading players. It is expected to have really exploded by 2020, as the proliferation of devices and data will leave organisations with no option but to manage their data thoroughly, in order to control it.

Why is Ivanti’s ITAM solution special?

Ivanti are a unified IT company which means that all of their products work together, allowing organisations to break down siloes and embrace both IT and cybersecurity tools that work together.

ITAM is an important part of this because the data produced by ITAM can integrate and enhance operations throughout the business. For example, ITAM can feed IT Service Management with consistent data so that ITSM can do its job more efficiently. Within this, a user could put out a Service Request via the Service Desk requesting new software; ITAM or SAM would quickly identify if there were enough licenses within the organisation for this to be possible.

ITAM also produced accurate and consistent asset data that the Security and Endpoint Management teams can use, thus helping them more thoroughly protect the organisation against cyberattacks. For example, ITAM can track whether any devices need OS updates so that the Endpoint Management team can act quickly before any vulnerabilities are exposed.

ITAM also allows organisations to be predictive, and thus proactive, about IT. Ivanti’s solution can predict future software requirements based on known business algorithms. It can also build, monitor and budget for any software IT transformation, playing within the larger digital transformation evolution.

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