Building the Necessary Foundation for an Effective Property Management Plan – Part Two
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This is a four-part series on the property plan to manage Government Furnished Property (GFP). In Part One, we talked about what a Property Plan is. In Part Two, we’ll address the key elements in ensuring data security in the Property Management Plan.
Why is data security important to government property management important? In any business, without maintaining proper data on your equipment, maintenance schedule, and asset inventory, you cannot make good business decisions. Bad decisions result in added costs and lost customers. Data security for government property management is even more crucial, because without having the proper protocols in place, you risk fines and audits. If the errors are egregious enough, you can be blacklisted from being able to contract with, or receive equipment grants from, the government.
In a property plan, it’s important to have protocols to ensure data security for government property management.
1. Protect Against Unauthorized Changes
One of the primary purposes a property plan serves is to provide you with a blueprint for protecting data. Data security for government property management is crucial. If you do not have protocols in place to protect your data from being the victim of unauthorized changes that reduce accuracy, you will be at risk – not just of losing data but also of losing government contracts, grants, and support. Unauthorized changes leave your company vulnerable. You may not be able to accurately verify inventory, optimize the usage of your assets, maintain your assets, or manage asset lifecycles if you do not have a plan that addresses who can make changes and how those changes are tracked.
2. Secure Logins
By clearly identifying who within your company should have access to information, you prevent unauthorized employees from making changes to your equipment management system. Your property plan should not only identify the roles each person plays in managing data security for government property management, but also provide the requirement for each person to have a unique login to access the system. This means your system will not function using shared spreadsheets, since there is no way to track who makes what changes to inventory levels, maintenance schedules, or asset disposals. Successful data security requires the use of a system designed to track not only where your equipment is and what it is doing, but also who put it there and why.
3. Track Changes to Data
What happens when the people on your team use a shared spreadsheet to manage equipment data? Beyond losing the ability to see who made changes to the data, you also lose the ability to see what the change was, because the information simply overwrites the previous information contained in the cell. You also lose the ability to do many of the following important asset management steps:
- Analyze trends in inventory usage
- Monitor sales volumes
- Track assets throughout their life cycle
- Optimize asset usage and disposal
- Track disposal methods
An Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system is the tool you use to implement your property plan and enable data security for government property management. Much like a key on a map, your property plan can function as the key to developing and managing your EAM system. Using an EAM to implement a well-designed property plan can help you avoid making key mistakes during the asset life cycle.
Attention to data security should be implemented in each stage of the asset life cycle. In the recently years, there is an increasing focus on asset disposal, data destruction, and electronics recycling. When disposing of government-owned property, there are protocols that must be followed and civilian entities must comply with these rules.
The EPA, in their outline for the Recycling of Federal Electronic Equipment, explains that civilian facilities have a number of options available to assist them in recycling their electronic equipment. They can:
- Use an electronics recycler certified to the Responsible Recycling (R2) Practices Use in Accredited Certification Programs for Electronics Recyclers
- Use an electronics recycler certified through the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment®
- Use UNICOR
- Use manufacturer take-back services for electronics recycling
- Select and use another environmentally responsible electronics recycler
E-ISG Asset Intelligence works with partners who are certified. We can integrate the asset disposal records supplied by these partner companies, into the asset database in Visual Asset Manager or eQuip! So our customers have one stop record for their assets throughout the life cycle.