What Is Hardware and Software Asset Management?
Organizations across the United States and worldwide with large quantities of IT assets to manage must be able to differentiate between hardware and software asset management.
Perhaps you’re wondering “what is hardware and software asset management” and whether the difference matters in your organization. Managing inventories of IT assets within a large organization can be complex, but it’s also important to categorize the various types of assets so that business processes can be implemented to streamline efficiency, reduce needless expenditures, and maximize security.
Both Hardware Asset Management and Software Asset Management are subsets within the domain of IT Asset Management, each with its own sets of processes. Efficiently managing each of these is necessary for organizations operating in the modern digital economy.
In the blog post below, we will define what is hardware and software asset management as well as provide some key similarities and differences between them, as well as how they can be implemented by an organization in conjunction with IT asset disposition strategies.
What is Hardware Asset Management (HAM)?
According to CISA, Hardware Asset Management (HAM) is defined as: “any hardware asset that is addressable” or “any USB and other removable devices connected to a hardware asset.” This means that computers, laptops, and other devices with an IP address fall under HAM, whereas monitors, keyboards, and other peripherals that are not addressable do not.
HAM is a subset of IT asset management and is a system of business processes that include the monitoring, evaluation, and management of hardware assets within an organization through the hardware asset management lifecycle. The processes involved in HAM include procurement, deployment, maintenance, support, and the eventual disposal and retirement of end-of-life (EoL) assets.
There are many hardware asset management best practices that an organization can adopt, such as using a Circular Economy model rather than a linear economy of “take, make, waste.” With regards to end-of-life (EoL) IT assets, IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is invaluable for the safe, efficient, and cost-effective disposal of hardware such as hard drives and magnetic media.
What is Software Asset Management (SAM)?
CISA defines software assets as part of Software Asset Management (SAM) as any software ranging from a line of code to a full software suite, firmware, BIOS, operating system, application, service, or malware within an organization.
SAM is, like HAM, a subset of ITAM and is also a system of business processes. These include the monitoring, evaluation, and management of software assets including end-user license agreements (EULAs), contractual obligations, and software versions for software assets. Specifically, when referring to software products, SAM must consider details such as the software vendor, product (name, classification), release, and patch level. For executables, a library module such as a DLL is necessary.
Organizations must hold inventories of all software assets in use, which can be cumbersome and complex for larger corporations with potentially tens of thousands of software licenses, for example. IT Solutions from Wisetek can help organizations maintain security, and compliance, and reduce costs. As a global ITAD Company, clients in the USA and worldwide can take advantage of our inventory solutions such as AudIT for full inventory listings of assets.
What are the Differences Between HAM and SAM?
Both HAM and SAM are essential components of an organization’s overall ITAM strategy. Both can reduce needless IT expenditures, increase security, and maintain compliance, but what are the key differences between the two?
- HAM is responsible for hardware asset lifecycles, i.e., the EoL of each hardware asset; SAM instead is responsible for the entire asset lifecycle, i.e. wherever the software is installed and used.
- The disposal of EoL assets differs between HAM and SAM technologies. For hardware assets, thorough and secure Data Destruction and Hard Drive Disposal are needed to render data completely irretrievable. For SAM technologies, the expiration of a license or removal of applications or services from a hardware asset may suffice, for example.
- SAM is increasingly becoming predominant in importance for organizations that have gone through Data Center Decommissioning of traditional data centers and replaced them with cloud-based solutions. Data Center Services from Wisetek can help with the secure and efficient disposal of physical data center IT assets.
Why a Combined HAM & SAM Strategy is Essential
A failure to account for the risks of unauthorized access to physical hardware assets can compromise an entire organization with a costly data breach. Likewise, poor management of software assets can lead to data breaches. It is therefore essential that both HAM & SAM are used in combination with one another to form a comprehensive and robust ITAM strategy within the organization.
The first reason why both HAM & SAM are needed is that, when both are managed efficiently, costs for asset procurement can be significantly reduced while lost revenue from theft or loss can also be reduced. We’ve written more on this subject in The Importance of Hardware Asset Management.
Another financial incentive for organizations to implement a strong SAM & HAM combined strategy is to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of redundant IT assets. This can be achieved through ITAD services such as refurbishment and remarketing of EoL IT assets. For example, the Wisetek Market contains laptops and other devices which have been refurbished for resale. This in turn reduces e-waste, provides marketable goods to customers, and maximizes the ROI on these assets.
ITAD is a Core Component of an IT Asset Management Strategy
Every organization should have a well-planned system of HAM & SAM processes for the entire lifecycle of their assets, including the end of the lifecycle with secure and efficient IT asset disposition. This means that the overarching IT asset management strategy should consider the procurement and acquisition of new hardware and software assets, their use within the organization, and what happens to them at the end of the lifecycle.
HAM & SAM are distinct components of ITAM that both provide many benefits when the systems and technologies are managed efficiently. Likewise, ITAD provides many benefits that synergize with the ongoing ITAM processes within the organization.
Indeed, there is overlap between all of these processes that can add immense value and security benefits to an organization while maintaining compliance with data disposal and data security regulations in the US and around the world.
Therefore, ensure your organization remains compliant and secure while maximizing the ROI on EoL IT assets with professional ITAD services from the global leaders and pioneers of the circular economy at Wisetek.
Reliable ITAD Solutions from Global ITAD Leader Wisetek
The complexity of managing large inventories of IT assets can be a challenge for organizations in the US and worldwide. The disposal of these assets should be left to global ITAD leaders with the expertise and credentials to dispose of EoL IT assets securely and efficiently.
Wisetek is your ideal partner for ITAD solutions that form an integral part of your organization’s IT asset management plan. Get in touch to learn more about our tailored ITAD solutions for businesses operating in the United States and globally.
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