Asset Amnesty or Self Discovery, what’s your approach?
With the dawning of the age of Covid-19, Business has had to make some pretty nifty and quick step changes. Those business that could keep going with remote, home based staff, faced the initial challenge of providing the right tools and connectivity for staff, so they were able to do their jobs. For a lot of organisations that meant swiftly procuring and configuring IT equipment to facilitate this new way of working.
Now I think it would be wrong to assume that every organisation already had robust Asset Management processes in place and I would estimate that more than 50% of businesses that found themselves in this situation, were more reliant on paper records or, at best, spreadsheets to keep track of the assigned equipment.
Combine that situation with the fact that many home workers, once they settled in to their new “home office” worked out that they needed more stuff for them to work at optimum levels. I dread to think what value of equipment was ordered online, some of which would have been authorised up front, but most would have been taken care of with the employee expense scheme, as these are extraordinary times.
The danger with this situation is the path to detecting, recording and ultimately managing all the equipment that your organisation now owns, albeit indirectly, becomes more and more vague, with so many more paths of investigation to now follow up to trace your hard-earned corporate cash.
So where do you start?
Let’s start with what you know you know. If you have an existing IT Asset Management tool, is it externally facing and are your endpoints and computers checking in regularly? If not what can you do to get your system open to the internet, whilst still safe and secure, so that you can start to talk to those endpoints, after all a well-managed endpoint is a secure endpoint and the last thing you want is a GDPR incident caused by data or machine loss.
If you don’t have a solution, then start looking, AssetBlox for example has simple Windows and Mac agent and provides direct connectivity, via any internet connection to our cloud hosted management platform.
What about the equipment we know that we don’t know about? The equipment that does not connect via an agent, but was bought and given to the home workers, if you did not record this do it now!! If you have spreadsheets of equipment, actively consider how much easier that data is going to be to manage if it is in a more formal IT Asset Management application.
If you do not have spreadsheets then get together your procurement records and work out exactly what you have bought, may be take advantage of this opportunity to go back to the start of last year and add in everything your find. AssetBlox allows for the import of data from spreadsheets and instantly allows you to assign the owner location and a Status indicating if the asset is still being used.
Finally, what about those unknown unknowns, the equipment that was maybe bought by the employee or bought quickly on the fly without too much thought. This is where it comes down to the amnesty side. Yes, I would recommend that you go through every expense claim to try and identify key purchase, ask the employees to confirm and validate with data such as description or unique identifier information such as serial numbers.
As with any data, inputting it into a system that enables easier management would be ideal, getting the employees to input that data themselves would save you days of time. AssetBlox provides a unique feature via it’s mobile app, giving your employees the ability to add in any equipment that they have that they have purchased on behalf of, or is owned by your organisation. If there is no unique scannable identifier, AssetBlox generates a specific user unique identifier and allocates ownership to the user that created the record, we even have the ability to allow them to add in a picture of the equipment and capture the geo-location or where the asset was physically entered.
The aim here is to ensure you capture as much as possible, so your organisation losses as little as possible and in the process, provides you with a comprehensive database and a tool that enables you to manage all your IT Assets more quickly and easily, as we try to recover from this situation.
Identifying and assigning ownership is key to effective IT Asset Management auditing and also for the enabling of foundation processes such as “starters and leavers”. With the AssetBlox smartphone app we have provided a quick, simple platform to complete user and location based audits as well as placing the everyday updates required for your IT Asset data into the palm of your hand.
So what do you think is the best strategy for you to minimise the financial risk to your organisation?
AssetBlox is a product of Indigo Mountain, a UK based software and services provider.