2021 Predictions for the IT Asset Management Industry

Many events have brought on changes to the IT Asset Management (ITAM) industry, especially the Coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the industry has continued to grow with 2021 bringing new problems the IT Asset Manager will overcome. The following are predictions for the new year as well as some best practice advice on how to conquer the new issues:

1. Remote Work is Never Going Away and will Continue to Increase

Working remotely is never going to go away. Since the Coronavirus brought on many organizational changes, some organizations have discovered that they are able to maintain business continuity while saving money on property costs. However, maintaining business continuity is not going to be enough in 2021. Organizations are going to want to flourish, even while workers are still remote.

When Coronavirus first began and the shift to remote started, organizations had to use ad hoc ITAM processes to be able to maintain business continuity and survive the government shutdowns. This was a successful decision this year, but it will not continue to be successful next year. Organizations need to get back to performing mature ITAM processes. Otherwise, there will be at risk of data leaks.

For example, the healthcare industry was dealing with the Coronavirus and trying to maintain public health, and time was crucial. A lot of their decisions had to be made ad hoc, which led to the creation of databases that contain information about the Coronavirus vaccine and records of patients relating to the Coronavirus vaccine. However, the databases were made so rapidly that some security processes were ignored, which made them vulnerable. This has led to the databases getting hacked, organizations getting threatened, and sensitive vaccine information getting leaked. The industry is now going back and strengthening their security to fight off the new threats. IT Asset Managers will need to do the same in 2021. Regaining mature ITAM programs with strong tracking and security policies and procedures is going to be a major necessity to obtain success.

2. Disposal Box Programs are Good, But Not Great

Another impact of the Coronavirus pandemic was that organizations no longer had a central location. When it comes to IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), it is problematic because the vendor cannot pick up the assets to take them to be disposed in a secured fashion. This issue has led to the innovative fix, known as Disposal Box Programs. This program type gained popularity during the government shutdowns and became a solution for organizations to continue to dispose of their assets. These programs begin when a consumer requests a packaging box from the vendor, who ships the box to wherever the consumer is at. The consumer then packs the assets that need disposed into the box and mails it back to the vendor, where the asset is then disposed.

This process was a great solution to the problem, but it should not remain a permanent solution. This is because there is a lack of chain-of-custody, where if the package is lost by the government mailing service, the vendor can state that no package was sent back and the organization can say they mailed it and the vendor lost it. Even though it was the mailing service’s fault, the organization still takes a hit. This can happen, even with a tracking number on the package.

A worse scenario is if the package is lost or stolen and the data on the device is hacked or stolen. Compromised data can be crippling to any organization. For example, the healthcare industry is experiencing the negative consequences of compromised data with the Coronavirus vaccine databases. They had to beat the virus and streamline their industry so rapidly that some of the security assurances were likely skimmed over. Making the best decisions with limited resources was what they had to do, and this is also what the ITAM industry had to do. However, now that organizations have had time to adapt, they should move away from Disposal Box Programs and return to ITAM best disposal practices with a secure end-to-end chain-of-custody and a team to ensure data is wiped.

3. “Snitch Software” is Going to Grow in Popularity

“Snitch software” is a newer trend that has been sneaking into auditing practices. A recent example is the court case between a vendor and a consumer. The vendor placed a Piracy Detection and Reporting Security Software (PDRSS) into their software that tracks and informs them whenever an unlicensed software is used and gives them the IP address. Eventually, the vendor audited the consumer and explained that their software was being used incorrectly, but the consumer explained that there was not enough evidence to claim that. This essentially led to the vendor explaining their implemented PDRSS, which led to a privacy and permissions dispute.

This is just one incident of snitch software, but there will likely be more cases and implementations since audit rates are going to increase. Audit rates are going to climb because organizations want to financially recover from the impact they experienced due to the pandemic. Knowing this, it is reasonable to assume that snitch software will gain momentum and vendors are going to implement them into their products. The IT Asset Manager needs to be ready for this and spend extra time ensuring that licenses are current and accounted for to maintain compliance.

IT Asset Managers: The Silent Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic

ITAM has shined during Coronavirus pandemic and allowed organizations to maintain business continuity, which saved countless jobs and entire organizations. The ITAM profession will continue to grow and show its value in 2021.

References:

The Associated Press. (2020, December 09). EU drug regulator hacked, data on COVID-19 vaccine accessed. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://apnews.com/article/technology-europe-hacking-coronavirus-pandemic-308f9ffc3edd95946262f1c76dba9959

Dan Goodin – Dec 7, 2. (2020, December 07). NSA says Russian state hackers are using a VMware flaw to ransack networks. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/12/nsa-says-russian-state-hackers-are-using-a-vmware-flaw-to-ransack-networks/

Dan Goodin – Dec 9, 2. (2020, December 09). COVID-19 vaccine data has been unlawfully accessed in hack of EU regulator. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/12/hackers-unlawfully-access-data-related-to-promising-covid-19-vaccines/

Sipicorp. (2020, September 18). Box Program: ITAD. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://www.sipicorp.com/itad/programs/box-program/

Tuccille, J. (2020, December 07). Remote Work Is Here to Stay and That’s a Good Thing. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://reason.com/2020/12/07/remote-work-is-here-to-stay-and-thats-a-good-thing/

Ulhaq, S. (2020, December 09). Ansys Software’s Embedded Anti-Piracy Technology Discovers Pirated Software. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://www.xensam.com/2020/12/09/ansys-softwares-embedded-anti-piracy-technology-discovers-pirated-software/