As your organization scales, inevitably, so too will its infrastructure needs. From physical spaces to personnel, devices to applications, physical security to cybersecurity – all these resources will continue to grow to meet the changing needs of your business operations.
To manage your changing infrastructure throughout its entire lifecycle, your organization needs to implement a robust infrastructure lifecycle management program that’s designed to meet your particular business needs.
In particular, IT asset lifecycle management (ITALM) is becoming increasingly important for organizations across industries. As threats to organizations’ cybersecurity become more sophisticated and successful cyberattacks become more common, your business needs (now, more than ever) to implement an infrastructure lifecycle management strategy that emphasizes the security of your IT infrastructure.
In this article, we’ll explain why infrastructure management is important. Then we’ll outline steps your organization can take to design and implement a program and provide you with some of the most important infrastructure lifecycle management best practices for your business.
What Is the Purpose of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management?
No matter the size or industry of your organization, infrastructure lifecycle management is a critical process. The purpose of an infrastructure lifecycle management program is to protect your business and its infrastructure assets against risk.
Today, protecting your organization and its customer data from malicious actors means taking a more active approach to cybersecurity. Simply put, recovering from a cyber attack is more difficult and expensive than protecting yourself from one. If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything about cybersecurity, it’s that cybercrime is on the rise and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
As risks to cybersecurity continue to grow in number and in harm, infrastructure lifecycle management and IT asset management are becoming almost unavoidable. In addition to protecting your organization from potential cyberattacks, infrastructure lifecycle management makes for a more efficient enterprise, delivers a better end user experience for consumers, and identifies where your organization needs to expand its infrastructure.
Some of the other benefits that come along with comprehensive infrastructure lifecycle management program include:
More accurate planning;
Centralized and cost-effective procurement;
Streamlined provisioning of technology to users;
More efficient maintenance;
Secure and timely disposal.
A robust infrastructure lifecycle management program helps your organization to keep track of all the assets running on (or attached to) your corporate networks. That allows you to catalog, identify and track these assets wherever they are, physically and digitally.
While this might seem simple enough, infrastructure lifecycle management and particularly ITALM has become more complex as the diversity of IT assets has increased. Today organizations and their IT teams are responsible for managing hardware, software, cloud infrastructure, SaaS, and connected device or IoT assets. As the number of IT assets under management has soared for most organizations in the past decade, a comprehensive and holistic approach to infrastructure lifecycle management has never been more important.
Generally speaking, there are four major stages of asset lifecycle management. Your organization’s infrastructure lifecycle management program should include specific policies and processes for each of the following steps:
Planning. This is arguably the most important step for businesses and should be conducted prior to purchasing any assets. During this stage, you’ll need to identify what asset types are required and in what number; compile and verify the requirements for each asset; and evaluate those assets to make sure they meet your service needs.
Acquisition and procurement. Use this stage to identify areas for purchase consolidation with the most cost-effective vendors, negotiate warranties and bulk purchases of SaaS and cloud infrastructure assets. This is where lack of insights into actual asset usage can potentially result in overpaying for assets that aren’t really necessary. For this reason, timely and accurate asset data is crucial for effective acquisition and procurement.
Maintenance, upgrades and repair. All assets eventually require maintenance, upgrades and repairs. A holistic approach to infrastructure lifecycle management means tracking these needs and consolidating them into a single platform across all asset types.
Disposal. An outdated or broken asset needs to be disposed of properly, especially if it contains sensitive information. For hardware, assets that are older than a few years are often obsolete, and assets that fall out of warranty are typically no longer worth maintaining. Disposal of cloud infrastructure assets is also critical because data stored in the cloud can stay there forever.
Now that we’ve outlined the purpose and basic stages of infrastructure lifecycle management, it’s time to look at the steps your organization can take to implement it.