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In a few days, quite a few employees will be  returning to their traditional office work environments after state-imposed, stay-at-home orders. But what will their companies do with the new laptops and other devices they put into employees’ homes in order to keep the business going?

The following article by The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, Inc. (IAITAM) will help shed some light on this issue:

Many organizations purchased assets, licenses, service contracts, and other necessities to facilitate a work from home environment. Everything, from scalable cloud architecture to increased VPN bandwidth and mobile hardware assets, was all hastily purchased, with minimal consideration given to how they would be integrated into IT environments.

Software vendors and related organizations (with scalability built into their licensing and service contracts) will likely be able to scale down as easily as they scaled up

Hardware, on the other hand, is a much bigger issue in an IT environment. Organizations will have quite a challenge on their hands because each of those devices has to be handled with care to ensure that the data on them is protected and that the investment in them is not lost.

According to Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and CEO of IAITAM, “We’ve seen a lot of reporting and advice about how employers can facilitate working from home. Now, we have to start looking at the back-to-the-office part of the process coming out of this. Organizations without a plan are going to experience as painful a transition back into the office as they had transitioning out. Having a mature IT asset management program ensures that these devices are properly tracked, managed, and disposed of, as needed. Without these steps in place, businesses and agencies will end up wasting money and possibly seeing leaks of their own sensitive data.”

IAITAM has outlined three steps organizations can take now:

  1. Identify all of the new assets now. This can be problematic if procedures were not followed on the best practices for purchasing and accepting assets. Knowing what an organization has in its environment is the first step in any asset management program. If things moved rapidly or even chaotically within the company or agency to transition to work from home, now is an opportunity to double back and ensure that the details are gathered.
  2. Assets need to be tracked and remote users need to understand the transition process. While work-from-home orders implied “home”, not every worker stayed home. Some chose to be with family, while others decided to visit friends or travel. This means the asset is travelling, as remote assets do. However, not every organization would have planned or accounted for that aspect in terms of security, possible use of the devices by third parties, etc. Additionally, organizations need to have an ingress plan for these remote assets. Ensuring that users know how remote assets will be collected and processed will go a long way toward streamlining the transition back to the office.
  3. A plan should be in place now to deal with excess hardware.

Redundancy in assets was necessary when working from home but after returning to the office, that end user will no longer need a laptop for home and a computer at work. What will be done with these excess assets and how the organization will recoup costs is critical to the back-to-the-office transition being less financially burdensome. Leasing assets would have been a strong option, but some organizations have already made their purchases. As such, charity donations and resale are better options financially than simply dumping the excess hardware. Company and agency IT asset managers will need to ensure that all devices that are leaving the organization for good are disposed of in a secure fashion to avoid breaches.

The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, Inc., is the professional association for individuals and organizations involved in any aspect of IT Asset Management, Software Asset Management (SAM), Hardware Asset Management, Mobile Asset Management, IT Asset Disposition and the lifecycle processes supporting IT Asset Management in organizations.

 For more information, visit www.iaitam.org.



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