When people mention “The Cloud”, we think of cost-effective, flexible solutions for data storage and service access. Less hardware, less software, and less fuss – but the cloud hasn’t brought about the end of ITAM as many expected, far from it. Instead, it has brought about a change in IT Asset Management.
Whether private, public or hybrid cloud solutions are best fit will depend on your type of organization. Similarly, the IT Asset Manager’s role will vary depending on the type of cloud service adopted. License terms, contracts, deployment and user management all shift when moving to the cloud, and as such raise compliance concerns – The ITAM manager’s role has evolved.
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ITAM and the Private Cloud
Offering higher security and privacy, cost savings and improved reliability and control, many organizations opt for a private cloud solution. For budgeting and cost optimization purposes, ITAM plays a key role in the adoption of a private cloud solution and due to owning the hardware and software, it is essential in transitioning to, and growing with, a private cloud solution.
As the cloud service expands and upgrades, cloud management software will optimize capacity use, but it’s ITAM’s job to ensure the organization remains compliant. Robust policies and rules for requesting and registering new software, hardware and licenses will help keep tabs on the full IT environment and helps predict changes in operational requirements for speedier adaptation to the organization’s demand.
ITAM and the Public Cloud
Although ITAM will have no hardware to manage if the organization choose a public cloud service, managing all deployed software and the licenses associated with it will still be necessary. Software Asset Management becomes more complicated in the cloud due to the cloud vendor possibly requesting the right to access, copy and modify software if it’s used within their agreement. This may cause problems if they contravene their own licensing and third party licensing as the cloud vendor will not take responsibility for any noncompliance with software license agreement terms.
As with private cloud solutions, policies for the purchasing and consumption of cloud services will make ITAM easier. Identifying which users are buying and using the services provides insight into compliance, and again, will help ITAM understand how to deliver the most appropriate IT services. Private cloud solutions afford greater opportunity for tailoring IT services, which can result in reduced spend.
ITAM and Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Blending private and public cloud solutions provide a buffer when capacity is reached during busy times – an Ecommerce site, for example, may experience high volumes during a sale, or over the Christmas period. Known as “bursting” into the public cloud, the organization is not forced into purchasing additional hardware that will remain unused during the quieter periods. If an organization opts for a hybrid solution, ITAM must manage all contracts for both the public and private cloud, which can be extremely complicated, but also extremely cost effective.
Compulsory but Changeable
Ultimately, knowledge of software licenses and/or their cloud-based equivalents is what will make or break an organization’s transition to the cloud. That may come in the shape of an experienced ITAM Manager, SAM Manager, a legal professional, or a combination of all three, to ensure a deep understanding of the regulations that come with the cloud software and services.
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As well as knowing the IT environment inside out, ITAM must be able to anticipate changes in order to maintain compliance. Full visibility of installations, downloads, and usage comes from following strict rules when purchasing and using software, as well as recycling and reassigning licenses – in the cloud, it’s likely that account details will need to be updated to reflect the new user.
An effective SAM tool that can differentiate between perpetual licenses and cloud-based licenses will aid in ITAM’s management of software. This isn’t a possibility for all organisations, however, and so a sound ITAM or SAM policy should ensure your organization is using software and services correctly inside the terms of the software agreements. The adoption of the cloud has sparked an evolution in ITAM’s role.