Effectively managing physical IT infrastructure – let alone optimising for best output – is an increasingly tricky feat. Trends such as the upsurge in connected devices, as well as the move to edge computing, mean that assets are increasingly spread over disparate environments, leading to complexity if IT managers are unable to obtain visibility over all environments, assets, and workloads.
Couple this with increasing pressures from the wider business to reduce risk, get and stay compliant, as well as save money, then taming the data centre is challenging to say the least. As a whole, the demands of modern-day IT mean that organisations need to prioritise technologies that enable IT teams to monitor, manage and protect not only their physical assets, but virtual ones too – rendering traditional IT Asset Management (ITAM) no longer suffice. So, from the desktop to data centre, to colocation and edge as well as IoT devices, how can an organisation achieve full control over its assets?
ITAM or TAM: what’s the difference?
Siloed technology is the bane of any data centre manager, and having a management system which is unable to work or communicate with another system is an unnecessary stress when organisations want to move in real-time – not in extended query-respond cycles. While traditional ITAM set out to track and manage all hardware and software within a business, these two areas of infrastructure no longer fully summarise everything that comes into contact with the network. IoT devices such as CCTV, medical and industrial equipment all need to be considered too in order to comprehensively acquire information on all assets driving business activity and reliant on the data centre or corporate network.
Technology Asset Management (TAM) is a superset of Asset Management that can oversee multiple assets across physical and virtual environments, including software, networked building infrastructure, data centre infrastructure, applications in the cloud, personal computing devices and millions of IoT devices. Acting like a single pane of glass, data centre managers are able to see their entire technology portfolio in terms of status, health, security, and compliance.
The most critical component of TAM is its ability to provide real time data, and it this data that allows businesses to benefit from the following tangible, performance-enhancing results:
Making risk redundant
The explosion in connected devices has inevitably led to greater security risk when it comes to securing a company network. More devices means more end-points that, if reached by nefarious hands, could have the potential to be devastating to a business’ security, productivity and overall ability to operate.
It is clear, then, that comprehensive visibility over these devices is crucial. A modern approach to TAM automates the discovery and cataloging of all things connected to the network. It interconnects with other building, IT, and business systems, providing a comprehensive solution that offers transparency and accountability to the entire extended organisation’s tech backbone.
Not only this, but there will always be opportunistic hackers who prey on old systems and outdated security operations. Checking individual software to see whether it is compliant with current security protocols and hygiene is a time consuming task. Security managers and compliance officers need the ability to clearly see what is installed and where, validate its patch history, and know who has access to it – something that is made achievable quickly through TAM.
Beating the bills
Money and efficiency is at the top of everyone’s agenda, and data centre managers are no different. By gaining appropriate visibility into where data centres are failing to make best of resources efficiently TAM has the ability to redistribute and rightsize asset usage and inventory.
This is particularly important for colo providers who are renting space and assets; by identifying redundant, under or improperly utilised assets, colocation providers can benefit from increased revenue.
Equally, accurate billing and chargeback based on actual power usage is made possible, which stands to benefit both provider and customer. TAM achieves this by being able to connect to CMDB, ERP and HR systems for accurate accounting all in one place.
Thirdly, it gives the data centre manager peace of mind when the auditors turn up. Organisations in all industries are often subject to an audit, and particularly those in the process of a public merger, acquisition or going public. With this in mind, IT operations teams need to understand how to self-audit as well as how to perform requested audits, and traditionally these occurrences might have caused panic as staff scramble to find information on all assets, their locations and life cycles.
Furthermore, regulation such as GDPR now dictates that companies provide Data Breach Notifications indicating what data subjects’ data ran on what assets, and the identification of secondary locations of infrastructure for the safe handling of data transporting across borders.
The best way to ensure mitigation of these risks of fines is with significant reporting capabilities that can not only provide evidence that a company is compliant, but can also generate and keep required documentation in the event of a breach so that licence remediation can be made instantly.