Asset management in the aftermath of COVID-19: How to adapt to the challenges of this ‘new normal’

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How do we make sure that all our employees can work remotely?

When COVID-19 hit and stay-at-home orders were issued, organizations around the world rushed to find answers to this question.

Many had to procure additional hardware like laptops, tablets, smartphones, monitors, and more. But in the mad dash to retool their IT infrastructure, many businesses weren’t thinking about what they’d do with the additional hardware when this is all over.

No matter where you stood when the pandemic began, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy for managing devices.

This post will explore the challenges organizations face in terms of reclamation and redeployment, and best practices they should adopt.

Challenge #1: They choose to remain remote

Remote work is here to stay. Even after states began loosening stay-at-home orders, many businesses have told employees to continue working remotely for the rest of 2020, for the foreseeable future, or even permanently if they want.

This adds further complications to asset management – and many companies aren’t prepared.

Instead of tracking hardware that’s normally in the office, you must now account for assets that are dispersed among hundreds or thousands of different locations. This makes the situation more complex and tracking much harder – especially if you only have limited resources to begin with.

Do you know what equipment your employees have at home? Can you identify the hardware like monitors and keyboards they may have removed from the office? If you shipped out additional assets, do you have a record of where you sent them?

With a substantial remote workforce, proper tracking is vital. Even if you already have an asset tracking program in place, it needs to account for remote workers. Make sure you have an end-to-end tracking program for the device’s entire lifecycle.

Challenge #2: Scaling back the workforce or managing a refresh

What if you must suddenly scale back your workforce? What if you’re approaching a refresh of old laptops?

Both situations involve collecting devices from remote users. Both can be tricky.

Instead of traditional reclamation, where you collect, package, and return all devices from your office, you’re now collecting devices from the field, in hundreds or thousands of different locations, making logistics that much more challenging.

There are also security concerns to consider. If you lose track of where your devices are, there’s potential for them to end up in the wrong hands, giving unauthorized users access to company data or your network.

Again, it comes down to tracking. Make sure you have a proper asset recovery program in place that puts tracking front and center. This should include box programs to collect and track devices, as well as full chain of custody reporting.

This program should also include a strategy for wiping data, auditing devices, and recycling older equipment in a way that meets government regulations and corporate requirements.

Challenge #3: Looking ahead to a second wave

What should you do if you have surplus equipment?

If you’re planning to move back into your office, you likely don’t want to sit on it. However, if there’s a second wave of the pandemic, you want to be certain you can quickly get your hands on the hardware if employees have to return to remote work.

In this event, look to a partner with a redeployment program. They can help collect the equipment, destroy the data, and put the assets in a pool of wiped devices that you can tap into in the future and redeploy as needed. This is faster than ordering new equipment and guarantees you have access to additional hardware when needed.

The feelings on remote work have changed, but new challenges emerge

COVID-19 has forced companies to re-assess their previously feelings on remote work. But as companies embrace the practice, both out of necessity and future planning, they’ll be faced with unforeseen challenges.

As organizations are quickly realizing, asset management can no longer take a backseat. You need a strategy for deployment and reclamation of assets. Without one, you leave yourself open to security issues and financial ramifications, both of which you can’t afford (especially now).

If you have additional questions about asset management, contact your SHI account executive.