With a new year ahead of us, it’s time we take a look at what experts believe will be the focus of the information technology industry for the next twelve months. According to the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), last year the focus was on data leaks and hacking incidents – which were at an all time high. For 2019, IAITAM believes that the following three distinctly unique challenges will take center stage.
Contract management will become a new emphasis for IT Asset Managers
One long standing tradition in the business environment has been the necessity for contracts. But much like most other things, advancing technology has changed traditional contract methods. Instead of written, signed agreements, there is a new contractual style called contract URLs – which is essentially an unsigned and non-negotiated agreement that is generated through multiple purchase or use agreements and may exist on a product-by-product basis.
These contracts will dictate various aspects of the business, such as: what you do, how you do it, how much you pay, and in what method you pay. One crucial thing to know about these contracts is the fact that they can change on any basis with no notification from the provider. In response, IT Asset Managers will need to either strengthen their relationship with their legal and contract departments or become contract managers themselves.
Cybersecurity will continue to be a major concern for asset managers
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) along with NCCoE (National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence) published a standard for IT Asset Managers. This standard directly impacts the IT Asset Manager profession. Currently, compliance with the new NIST Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 will only be for governmental agencies. However, just as other governmental best practices have trickled down into commercial enterprise.
The year 2018 was the worst year in recorded history for data breaches and leaks of personally identifiable information (PII). There is no sign of this trend slowing down. While data leaks are sometimes impossible to defend, identifying them and reporting them to those affected so the victims can protect themselves quickly is becoming the new focus. This discussion was held on Capitol Hill during the Equifax data breach regarding why Equifax took so long to report that there was an issue. The speed in which an organization can report a data breach is only as fast as their ability to locate the data and offending assets. This is an ITAM best practice and as of September 2018, NIST and NCCoE agree.
ITAM and ITSM will be interconnected
From a C-level view, ITAM and IT Software Management (ITSM) serve the purpose of ensuring an organization is able to continue their core competencies. From a practitioner’s point of view, this becomes a battle of quality vs. speed. ITSM is focused on providing the services necessary for the business. They are paid to close trouble tickets and get new products up and running. Naturally, doing this as quickly as possible is their primary focus. ITAM is paid to manage assets, licenses, vendors, and contracts in a manner that is advantageous to the business. ITAM is often times slower and more deliberate than ITSM. Change is coming in the form of ITAM becoming recognized more and more as a foundational aspect of an organization.