The annual or semi-annual IT audit is about as enjoyable as a root canal. Counting devices and licenses. Checking on status of assets and systems. Counting up all the cloud infrastructure and SaaS log-ins. Audits can consume weeks of time, even for more sophisticated IT organizations. There is, however, hope. Just as CI/CD tooling can integrate development and deployment processes and orchestrate infrastructure as code, modern enterprise technology management platforms can enable control of IT assets just like code. By converting manual audit processes into bi-directional workflows and automated playbooks, Enterprise Technology Management can reduce manual time spent on an IT audit by 70% or more. Better still, your audits will be more accurate and will generate better business value for CIOs and COOs or procurement leaders seeking to get a better handle on IT spending and future needs. Best of all, by making audits less painful, enterprises can conduct them more frequently to ensure they are always in compliance, avoiding costly penalties.
How Enterprise Technology Management streamlines and improves the IT audit
An Enterprise Technology Management (ETM) system is an agentless orchestration and data solution that rides on top of all existing IT asset management systems in an enterprise, including ITAM, SAM, CMBD, MDM and CSB. Rather than add another data collection agent for all assets, an ETM is agentless; it polls and harvests data on a continuous basis from existing agents used by the legacy IT asset management sub-systems. The best ETMs integrate with agents from all major asset management systems including: Jamf, InTune, ServiceNow, SCCM, AirWatch, Flexera, Snow, Cherwell and more. In addition, these ETM systems should integrate with procurement systems and vendor APIs from SHI, CDW and other large sellers of technology assets. The integration allows an ETM solution to have a cradle-to-grave view of the entire asset lifecycle.
Real-Time Audit Orchestration
Agentless integration is the first requirement. An ETM must also enable bi-directional data flows to allow IT audit teams to orchestrate the manual steps of audits and transform audit processes into automated workflows. This allows audit teams to automate most or all of their data collection and asset status verification or even to perform this task on a periodic continuous basis to ensure the most up-to-date asset information. An ETM system also applies intelligence against all collected asset data to remove duplicate asset records or flag asset anomalies for further inspection. For example, if a cloud server shows up in the audit but it is not linked to the company SSO system, then the audit playbook might notify an audit investigator to verify the server or potentially shut it down to bring the organization into compliance.
Another key benefit is that ETM puts all the audit information into a single shared system that enhances collaboration. Different stakeholders can have different dashboard views and external auditors can be more easily included into the process with fewer emails or sharing of error-prone spreadsheets. The automation also streamlines and simplifies normally complex software license tracking, a key component and goal of IT audits. By orchestrating all the steps required to ensure that license compliance is met and licenses are renewed on time, ETM can save large sums for CIOs and CFOs. (Software true-ups from big vendors are routinely seven-figure affairs).
Features and capabilities every enterprise technology management system should have
To summarize, here are the key features and capabilities that a technology management system needs to help you crush your audits:
- Agentless and integrates out of the box with most legacy static IT asset management systems
- Integration with procurement, finance, and reseller systems to capture the full asset lifecycle
- Intelligent handling of data to reconcile all records, eliminate dupes and ensure accuracy
- Enable bi-directional data sharing and syncing with other applications to enable true enterprise-wide orchestration of IT assets
- Extensible connectors and APIs to allow for easy inclusion of new data sources and inputs
- Granular tracking of software licenses to ensure compliance and timely notifications of deadlines
We will go deeper into how smart enterprises are managing their technology portfolios in future posts. This is an exciting new area driven by enterprise automation that promises to radically simplify IT audits by making them programmatic, more extensible, and highly configurable – without requiring big coding projects.