Data center audits are a necessary component of an IT asset manager's responsibility. Audits ensure your business stays compliant, safeguards its data, and makes good use of its inventory. In addition, various industries must adhere to internal policies for compliance and regulatory guidelines or are subject to federal or governmental frameworks such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or General Data Protection Act (GDPR).
The practice of regular audits provides visibility to your IT team regarding any potential misuse or security breaches, helping your business run smoothly and securely. Here are three tips for performing hassle-free data center audits.
1. Automate Inventory Management
Could your team quickly pull a report of all the IT hardware assets within your organization, including the location, IP address, age, make, model, and maintenance status, and would the information be 100% accurate? Many organizations struggle with such requests or lack confidence in their data. Due to the risk of human error on manually entered spreadsheets, many business decisions and compliance failures are the results of inaccurate data. With an automated inventory approach, the accuracy of your data is no longer in question, and your team can quickly answer inventory questions, create an audit trail to demonstrate compliance, and avoid blind spots in your IT infrastructure.
Using RFID, automation empowers your team to streamline audit processes with as little manual work as possible. Compliance issues or policy breaches can be identified and responded to quicker and more efficiently, allowing your team to demonstrate how compliance has evolved and improved. As a result, your team can spend less time hunting down information to satisfy audit requests and more time focused on achieving business objectives.
2. Track IT Asset Lifecycles
Data centers are at most risk for security breaches during implementation, migrations, and improper decommissions. A critical component of proper and safe data center decommissioning is identifying gaps in compliance through systematic audits and documentation, including lifecycles of assets. Regular audits help your team put appropriate measures in place to avoid breaches, downtime, and wasted energy consumption from "ghost servers". Integration with other departmental programs can also play a big role in having an accurate view of all stages of your assets' lifecycle. For example, when a new asset is received in the loading dock, an alert can be sent to the IT manager through RFID readers and antennas informing receipt and the finance department to begin the depreciation of those assets.
When organizations cannot effectively track and monitor their IT asset lifecycles, it can affect maintenance contracts, annual use taxes, and energy consumption for assets that are no longer in service, causing organizations to lose millions. Asset Vue's IT asset management solutions allow businesses to track in real-time what servers and other IT equipment are active and secure offline hardware until proper disposal. In fact, we can provide you with a fully automated solution to manage your assets throughout their entire lifecycle. When inventory is utilized more efficiently, significant savings can be diverted to further business goals.
3. Establish a Governance Program
With every process, the more organized it is, the more efficient it is. A governance program ensures all affected groups and stakeholders understand their role in providing an effortless audit. True data center compliance requires alignment across an entire company and a documented playbook that can be referenced at any time. Without it, your IT team could face nonsensical naming conventions, undocumented software, lost passwords, excessive energy costs, and data security that is not up to industry standards.
An IT asset management program puts processes and plans in place to ensure inter-departmental agreement, establish accountability, and create transparency. Organizations need visibility of their entire network to identify and address potential security shortfalls and misconfigurations. In a time of the "Great Resignation," your organization may be burdened with on-boarding and off-boarding various team members. Without a governance program that includes regular data center audits, it may be a steep learning curve to understand the network topology.
Based on a 2020 report from Coalfire and Omdia, most organizations are spending 40% or more of their IT security budgets to comply with compliance obligations. This is becoming an unsustainable expense. This could be due, in part to an ad-hoc approach to compliance and audits, requiring rushed and often custom work performed last-minute and specific only to the audits your industry is required to pass. However, performing periodic security assessments or auditing your organization's physical IT hardware is essential to the security, reliability, cost-efficiency, and disaster recovery of a data center. Following the three tips can help your organization prepare for compliance audits and enforce data protection best practices.
Asset Vue helps organizations manage their physical, tangible assets and syncing of data to ensure consistency within the enterprise, allowing for hassle-free audits. Through a low-cost, passive RFID-enabled, fully automated asset management solution, users can inventory assets ten times faster than traditional methods, with greater accuracy and data integrity. Not only does Asset Vue automate your asset management, but we also can automate your auditing process — reducing the time you spend on audits or even eliminating the need to perform a manual audit altogether and allowing you to receive more accurate reports by eliminating errors that come from a manual count. Asset Vue's automation of the asset management process will save you time and money and, most importantly, give you peace of mind.