IT assets have historically been categorized as hardware – old school hardware (PCs, servers, etc.). That definition has been evolving steadily from “asset” to a more technically flexible and accurate descriptor (technology), and now includes mobile devices, software, OS, cloud instances, virtual machines, and IoT devices. The implication is that the legacy definition of asset needs to expand to include a whole range of technology that goes far beyond what has previously been defined as an asset from the perspective of managing IT (ITAM).
The challenge facing most enterprises is that their IT management infrastructure is defined by what is being managed; hardware (ITAM or CMDB), software (SAM and/or SaaS), cloud (CSB and VMs) mobile devices (MDM), and IoT (which is still being sorted out in terms of what manages it). This siloed approach also includes legacy systems, which are expensive, often highly customized and therefore difficult to upgrade as new releases become available. This is in addition to the rapidly expanding range of devices that can be tracked on a network; medical, transportation, manufacturing, etc. all are heavy users of IP-enabled devices (primarily ITOM), which are now part of an evolving IT infrastructure that needs to be tracked and managed. ITAM was never intended for an environment operating with this diversity, speed and scale.
All of this is occurring at the same time that moving to the cloud has accelerated dramatically, and (just to make it more fun), employees are starting to move around far more (WFA) and expect the same level of infrastructure support that they were used to in a pre-pandemic model. This has not only created a vast expansion in the potential attack surface, it has made IT’s job exponentially more difficult.
The risks involved with this new framework are extensive, but can be summarized to four primary areas.
Infrastructure management risks The whole definition of IT infrastructure has changed fundamentally in the last two years; before IT was normally managed from a fixed physical location, behind a properly secured firewall, essentially something that was much more predictable and manageable. That is very much no longer the case. Once everyone was told to go home and keep working, the whole model shifted, and it is not going back.
Security risks This is a spin-off of infrastructure risks. With everyone working from anywhere, the potential attack surface has increased exponentially. In addition, network access points are far less secure; compare security protocols for your home wifi to your former office environment, not to mention other folks on your home wifi who are more driven by convenience than enterprise-grade security requirements.
Compliance risks Compliance laws are complex, dynamic, overlapping, subject to interpretation, and consistently onerous. There are multiple agencies deeply staffed with nit-picking auditors looking for the tiniest excuse to lever a seven or eight figure fine. You need to be able to quickly and easily answer the question who has what where, and what is the exact security status of all elements? A complex question, unless you’re using enterprise technology management, in which case you’re way ahead of the curve.
Productivity risks Onboarding and offboarding employees, and making sure they are optimized in terms of the technologies they use to do their jobs was probably more challenging than it should have been before the pandemic, and it’s way harder now. Security challenges aside, you need your employees properly infrastructured and supported, which has become complicated with everyone and their technology assets moving around. Hybrid IT is a great idea, but requires a fundamentally different approach to how technology is managed.
Despite the inherent complexity faced by IT, there is a new approach that is being rapidly adopted that can address nearly everything, which is where Enterprise Technology Management (ETM) comes into play. This is something that (for those of us who have worked in this domain for a while) makes perfect sense. Enterprise IT ultimately should pivot around the user, yet historically it has pivoted around specific types of technology assets (a hardware database, a software database, another for mobile devices, etc.). You can’t use software without hardware, and you’re not going into the cloud without both. Enterprise technology management takes this into account to provide a single, integrated, and real-time source of truth across all asset classes. This delivers several key benefits, including:
- Ease of integration – Oomnitza’s ETM is agentless, which means no additional code on your already overtaxed systems, making deployments easier and accelerating time to value..
- Breadth – Oomnitza covers all your IT assets, and works with a technology partner ecosystem that is both broad and deep and includes industry leaders such as Jamf, Zendesk, Okta and many others.
- Lifecycle Management – Track and manage all assets as they move through their lifecycle, starting with purchasing, then moving through receiving, imaging, securing, assigning, maintaining and finally end of life. Knowing with certainty the status of all your IT assets not only strengthens your security posture, it makes compliance audits fast and painless.
Existing legacy ITAM systems were designed for a very different working environment. Cloud based systems that are growing at a staggering rate require a fundamentally different approach to how technology is managed across the enterprise. To learn more about how Enterprise Technology Management can quickly and easily take your enterprise to the next level, please contact us here.