What Is Hardware And Software Asset Management?
What are the differences between Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM)? How are they important for businesses operating in the modern economy?
In businesses operating globally, many business leaders may be asking “what is hardware and software asset management?” The optimisation and management of IT assets across their entire lifecycle are referred to as IT Asset Management (ITAM), from which the subsets of Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) derive.
ITAM is contained within business processes and strategies for managing the organisation’s IT assets, which include hardware and software within the business environment.
This blog entry will seek to define these terms as well as point out their differences, while also considering end-of-life (EoL) IT assets and how to dispose of them securely and efficiently as part of an overarching ITAM strategy.
What is Hardware Asset Management (HAM)?
As a subset of ITAM, Hardware Asset Management (HAM) involves the management, monitoring, and evaluation of all physical IT assets within an organisation throughout their lifecycle. This includes all computer workstations, monitors, laptops, printers, telephones, routers, server hardware, and more.
Through the proper management of physical IT infrastructure and assets, organisations can save costs, improve the efficiency and use of current assets, increase security and maintain compliance, and exert more control over their IT inventory.
The lifespan of hardware assets can follow either a “take, make, waste” linear economy model or a Circular Economy model. Under HAM, organisations must consider the procurement, deployment, maintenance, support, retirement, and disposal of IT assets. For the secure, safe disposal of IT assets, IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) has become invaluable for corporations and organisations worldwide.
What is Software Asset Management (SAM)?
Software Asset Management (SAM) is a system of management and protection for corporate software assets throughout their lifecycle, as applicable. SAM includes all types of software used on corporate devices, their licence agreements, the number of licences acquired, installations, end-user licence agreements (EULAs) and contractual obligations, software versions.
Organisations with a robust SAM strategy in place can better and more optimally make use of current software, reduce costs, improve security and compliance, and better negotiate deals with software vendors.
There are many IT Solutions that can help an organisation maintain detailed inventories of their software which can work hand-in-hand with HAM strategies and form a comprehensive goal within an organisation’s ITAD strategy. An ITAD Company such as Wisetek can assist with EoL IT assets and those currently deployed within an organisation with services such as VirtuRL.
Key Differences Between HAM and SAM
We’ve given definitions for what is hardware and software asset management in the previous sections, but what do they have in common? Both HAM and SAM are subsets of ITAM, and efficient HAM and SAM can reduce costs, improve security, and help an organisation maintain compliance.
What are the differences between them? There are a few key differences:
- SAM is related to the entire asset lifecycle, however, and wherever the software is deployed; HAM is related to the lifecycle of hardware assets themselves.
- The specific methods and processes used in SAM and HAM differ greatly. For example, Hard Drive Disposal and Data Destruction are essential for disposing of physical IT assets, whereas software is not physically ‘disposed of’ in the same manner.
- In many organisations where cloud-based storage solutions are used in place of on-premises data centres, SAM is predominant for inventory asset management of software assets and the software services used in place of traditional Data Centre Services. During Data Centre Decommissioning, redundant data centre hardware which falls under HAM is often replaced with cloud-based SAM technology.
The Importance of a Combined HAM & SAM Strategy
It’s often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, which is why a combined HAM and SAM strategy must be robust and well-planned, monitored, and evaluated to provide the full benefits. Which benefits can an organisation expect from implementing a strong HAM & SAM strategy?
Firstly, the efficient procurement, usage, and disposal of both hardware and software assets reduce costs significantly within the organisation. This can be seen both in reduced expenditures on new physical IT assets as well as a reduction in stolen and lost IT assets. We go into this in greater detail in a previous blog entry, The Importance of Hardware Asset Management. To give an impression of how many corporate assets are lost by employees, research from the UK found that nearly a quarter of employees in the UK have lost devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and USB drives. The cost of these lost devices must be accounted for as should the potential risks of data breaches from lost or stolen assets.
Furthermore, better HAM & SAM means improved ROI on assets, specifically physical assets that still retain value either as refurbished and remarketed products sold on the Wisetek Store, for example or through salvageable and recyclable parts and components.
Organisations can also boost data security with a combined HAM & SAM strategy that mitigates the risks of data breaches and unauthorised access. Overall, an ITAM strategy that optimises HAM and SAM together provides long term financial value and security that justify the resources and efforts required to implement the plan.
How to Integrate IT Asset Disposition with IT Asset Management
Modern businesses hold large quantities of IT assets that require careful management, including the disposal of EoL assets. While there are many hardware asset management best practices for devices and hardware currently in use, such as policies for user authentication and passwords, inventory management, and so on, their proper disposal should not be neglected.
When organisations must continually dispose of large quantities of IT assets, the risks of data breaches can increase sharply, especially if there is little to no effort to destroy sensitive data beforehand. This is what ITAD companies such as Wisetek resolve for clients. The secure, efficient destruction of sensitive data in an auditable manner, all whilst reducing e-waste destined for the landfill thanks to our Zero Landfill Policy.
Therefore, every organisation should have an overall ITAM strategy that gives special consideration to ITAD. This is to say, organisations must implement and maintain robust HAM & SAM strategies that lower costs, reduce loss and/or theft, and improve security within the organisation. Once IT assets have reached the end of their lifecycle, the organisation must then draw upon its ITAD strategy to dispose of physical IT assets safely, securely, and efficiently.
Wisetek: Global ITAD Solutions for Global Organisations
Managing large inventories of hardware and software assets can be a complex challenge. Disposing of hardware assets can also be complex, but organisations can benefit from the professional services of a global ITAD leader such as Wisetek.
Our IT solutions for data destruction, hard drive disposal, data centre services, and certified recycling with a Zero Landfill Policy all provide excellent value and security for global organisations. We welcome you to get in touch with us to learn more about our ITAD solutions.
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