Working from home is the new normal for millions of people, sending organizations and their employees rushing to buy computers, monitors and other technology so the stay-at-home workforce can do their jobs. The state of Colorado, for one, has spent $2.4 million on 1,800 laptops for remote employees, according to the Denver Post.
With many employees now set up for remote work, IT asset managers should turn their attention to keeping on top of all the hardware that has left the building and new assets that have been added to the mix. You may have supported a distributed workforce previously, but today’s dispersed teams and disbursed tech will make it harder to corral those wild assets.
Here’s how you can prepare to get these assets under control once the crisis is over.
1. Arrange self-audits by remote workers
Set up a home audit process for employees with new hardware. We’re all in this together, so employees might be particularly motivated to help in the process. ServiceNow customers can use an asset tracking app like AssetTrack for ServiceNow that downloads to the user’s mobile device. The employee can scan in serial numbers, model numbers, and other key data. Or users can type the information into the form. Once all information on the form is complete and uploaded, the asset is added into the official inventory and marked for review by an Asset Manager. By recording the asset, the organization can now ensure financial compliance by linking assets to purchase orders. It can also ensure network security by ensuring each serial number is properly tracked using network discovery tools. Lastly, it gives you a record of the asset to ensure you get the asset back when this whole thing is over.
2. Record shell assets to enable chain of custody
In the scramble to acquire necessary equipment for remote employees, companies are sometimes bypassing the chain of custody and governance for hardware. In some cases, companies are procuring and shipping assets to employees. In other instances, employees are picking up equipment at nearby stores and are seeking financial reimbursement. As a result, regular processes for receiving assets, including configuring, imaging and installing security measures, may be falling by the wayside. During this time, your help desk and cloud access can connect remote workers without proper governance. As assets are ordered or employees submit for reimbursement, record “shell” asset records with generic model information and assign them to end users. Use a lifecycle status such as “shell” to indicate the assets must be reconciled upon returning to work. The process will be manual upon return, but you will have a list to verify that all assets are returned and recorded.
3. Prepare for physical audits at work
Now is a good time to plan for conducting physical audits once workplaces reopen, to track assets that return from remote locations. Audits will verify assets that employees took home for remote work are all brought back. They also will validate new hardware, starting with adding it to the IT database if no home user audits were conducted. In addition, companies can then ensure the new equipment is secure, configured appropriately, and meets other company requirements. Using tools like AssetTrack for ServiceNow, Asset Managers can prepare audit definitions for each major site location. As site’s reopen, the Asset Manager can deploy audit teams to scan assets in office locations to verify their return, and to identify disbursed assets that never came back.
4. Enlist ITAM managed services for continuing support
Don’t wait for the next disruption. An ongoing relationship with an ITAM managed services provider can help ensure everyday business continuity as well as ease an abrupt transition to remote work. The provider can react quickly, supplying any needed equipment, properly configured, imaged, secure and already scanned into the IT database, before distributing it to an employee. Swap outs for malfunctioning devices are also covered. While standard protocols may have been suspended during this crisis, it’s important to get back to ITAM best practices once it is feasible. There’s work you can do now, later and in the future. Now is a good time to determine what infrastructure is going to be needed in the future for your business continuity.
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