1 Policy Statement
Asset Management is the process of identifying, classifying, managing, recording and coordinating a firm’s assets (physical, IT and information) to ensure their security and the continued protection of any confidential data they store or give access to.
For the purposes of this policy and associated asset management processes, [Your Company Name] (hereinafter referred to as the “Company”) defines an ‘Asset’ as any item, system, application or entity that has potential or actual value to our organisation. Such assets include, but are not limited to: –
- Information (including personal data)
- Paper records
- Electronic records
- Files and folders
- Software licenses
- Computers or Workstations
- Telephony Systems
- Fax Machines
Assets can be both tangible and intangible and are of value to a company based on their importance, function and use. Whilst information is one of the Company’s most valuable assets, we understand the association and importance of the IT and physical assets that use, process, store and provide access to such information. As such, all forms of assets recorded by the Company are valued and afforded a high level of protection and governance.
For the purposes of our Information Security program and the references in this policy, when we refer to ‘Information Assets’ we are collectively describing all assets within the Company that are identified, recorded and secured. Most of our assets, including IT and physical are in place with the main purpose of holding and protecting personal information and as such we refer to all assets collectively as ‘Information Assets’.
2 Policy Statement
The Company understands the importance of identifying, recording and classifying our assets and utilise an Information Asset Register (IAR) to retain a complete list of all current assets, their location, value, access and other vital data. We have a responsibility to manage our physical and information assets, stemming from various legal, regulatory, contractual and business obligations: –
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Contractual (client agreements, business objectives etc)
- Security Requirements (e.g. encryption, backups, updates etc)
- Equipment Management (service, replacement, disposal)
The Company ensures that all assets used and retained during business, are properly documented, are assigned an owner and are subject this policy and subsequent procedures. Managing our assets is paramount to the continuity of our business and to the Company’s reputation. Assets are protected where applicable, further aiding in the protection of personal information and confidential data.
The purpose of this policy is to achieve and maintain appropriate protection of organisational assets (tangible and intangible) and to document those assets to ensure knowledge and understanding of their value, purpose, risk and location. The Company ensures that all assets are assigned an owner who has overall responsibility for managing, updating, recording and destroying the asset.
The nature and value of every asset is documented and understood, better enabling the Company to restrict access where applicable, develop effective recovery and continuity programs and protect the interests and assets belonging to customers and clients.
Understanding the Company’s assets, enables us to manage our organisation’s information and systems and the risks associated with them. For this purpose, we utilise an Information Asset Register (IAR) to identify, document and map all information assets and assign them an owner.
This policy applies to all staff within the Company (meaning permanent, fixed term, and temporary staff, any third-party representatives or sub-contractors, agency workers, volunteers, interns and agents engaged with the Company in the UK or overseas). Adherence to this policy is mandatory and non-compliance could lead to disciplinary action.
The Company is committed to ensuring compliance with the rules, standards and regulations with regard to asset management and the protection of the personal information in our remit. Due to the nature of the services offered by the Company, we retain and process large volumes of personal data and therefore have strict aims and objectives for achieving and maintaining the appropriate protection of all organisational assets.
The Company’s objectives regarding asset management are to: –
- Develop and maintain a defined and robust Asset Management Policy, including procedures for areas such as: –
- Inventory of Information Assets
- Assigning Asset Owners
- Information Classification
- Personal Information
- Confidential Information
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Information Sharing Measures
- Ensure that all information assets have been identified
- Document all assets on the Information Asset Register (IAR) and assign each one an owner for monitoring and accountability
- Define the access to each asset and apply restrictions where applicable
- Maintain an up-to-date Records Management & Retention Policy within our GDPR/DPA18 program
- Ensure that all staff are aware of the regulations and their obligations regarding asset management and to provide sufficient and adequate support and training in this regard
6 Guidelines and Procedures
The Company takes several measures and steps to ensure that asset management is effective and adequate for managing and protecting information. This policy is disseminated to all staff, who are made aware of the value and importance of good records when it comes to the information held and processed by us.
6.1 Register of Information Assets
The Company utilise an Information Asset Register (IAR) to document and categorise the assets under our remit. This not only enables us to map the flow of data within the company, but also serves as a tool for risk assessment and applying mitigating actions from the start.
The register contains all information, hardware, software, systems, applications and physical assets and is reviewed on a [weekly/monthly/quarterly] basis to ensure that the information is current and adequate. The register allows for descriptions and additional information fields, ensuring that all assets can be understood and assessed, but as a minimum standard, records: –
- Asset ID
- Asset Type
- Information Asset Owner (IAO)
- Associated Risks
- Retention Period
- Whether it contains personal data
6.2 Assigning Asset Owners
Each asset is assigned an owner (IAO) who is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and managing the asset and its use. This enables us to account for each asset and ensures that all risks have been identified and mitigated. The IAO is noted on the IAR and only they are permitted to effect change on or with the asset.
6.3 Unclassified & Short-Term Information Assets
Due to the volume of information assets used by the Company during the course of business, there are some assets which are considered minor and as such are not subject to being classified or documented. This is only applicable where the asset has no security value and will not result in any internal or external risk if accessed. Such assets are also not assigned an owner or inventoried due to their limited nature.
The Company operates under the GDPR/DPA18 and as such complies with the principle to never retain any information where there is no longer a purpose or reason to do so, however some records and information assets must be retained by law for specific retention periods and may come under our non-classification policy.
There is also a requirement due to the nature of our business, to obtain some information assets for limited and short-term periods. Such assets can include letters, spreadsheets, temporary files and reports. These are needed during business but are not classified or inventoried. All staff are aware of their responsibility for the documents they create, and this is further highlighted in our Data Retention Policy within our GDPR/DPA18 program.
6.4 Remote Access & Bring Your Own Device (Byod)
The Company employees occasionally have a requirement to use company assets (physical and information) outside of the office. Such instances can include during business trips, client visits, working from home and during travel. There are also facilities for using a self-owned device in the workplace, such as smartphones or laptops. We understand the important of asset management for non-company devices and company assets used away from the organisation and have a robust Remote Access & BYOD Policy in place.
Regarding asset management when working remotely, it is the Company’s aim to protect our staff, other people (clients, service providers, customers, suppliers etc), organisational assets and systems when they are off-site. Our Information Security Program consists of several policies and procedures that overlap in this area and provide a robust and structured approach, controls and measures for protecting assets and access whilst off-site.
These documents include, but are not limited to:
- Information Security Policy
- Risk Assessment Policy & Procedures
- Access Control & Password Policy
- Data Breach Policy
- Remote Access & BYOD Policy
- Asset Management Policy
- Information Asset Register (IAR)
- Clear Desk & Screen Policy
- Data Protection Policy & Procedure
Please refer to the Company’s Remote Access & BYOD Policy for full guidance on measures and controls for off-site use of assets.
6.5 Acceptable Use of Information Assets
Information assets are pivotal to the services offered by The Company and to ensure a secure and effective environment. Employees and third parties are provided with access and the use of such assets to aid business functions and client assistance. This use is governed by our acceptable use standards and failure to comply with these principles will result in contract termination.
The Company has documented and implemented this acceptable use section in our Asset Management Policy to reiterate and provide guidelines on using company and client assets. This information is disseminated to all employees, third parties and visitors to the Company and forms part of our contracts and terms. All assets, with emphasis on client assets are used in a professional, lawful and ethical manner at all times and are audited on a monthly basis to ensure adherence to this ethos.
Such acceptable use covers all assets and includes, but is not limited to: –
- Email systems
- Internet usage
- Telephones (including mobiles)
- PDAs & laptops
- VPN Access, networks and portals
- [Add/delete as applicable]
Specific emphasis is placed on adhering to this policy for employees who work from home and/or off-site and use or have access to information assets. Access and activities carried out during these times are logged and audited for compliance with the acceptable use ethos and standards.
Client assets and those with restricted access are not authorised for personal use under any circumstance. Assets are not available for personal use at any time and access to non-business-related internet is restricted. Employees are aware of the risks of using assets for personal use, such as personal emails that may contain viruses or permit access to restricted information.
6.5.1 Acceptable Use Standards
The Company has documented and disseminated the below acceptable use standards to provide guidance and rules for using assets. These standards are adhered to by all employees and are a contractual part of any client visit or third-party access to the Company’s information assets.
Employees, third parties and visitors are informed that they: –
- Must not do anything to jeopardise the integrity of the systems, information assets or physical assets
- Are not permitted to use information assets for personal use
- Are not permitted to damage, change, reconfiguring or move any system or information asset with written authorisation and management supervision
- Are not permitted to remove any information asset from the Company building without written permission
- Must not attempt to access, delete, modify or disclose Information Assets belonging to other people without their permission
- Are not authorised to use any external systems, applications or technology with existing assets without permission and supervision
- Cannot disable or in any way alter system firewalls, anti-virus software or software/hardware protection applications
- Must not move any physical asset without written permission, including, but not limited to desktop PCs, printers, scanners, monitors or fax machines
- Are not permitted to load any unauthorised software onto the Company systems
- Must not connect to a company network or any equipment other than in approved circumstances
- Must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful or indecent material
- Are not authorised to purchase or otherwise acquire any technology assets without the knowledge and authorisation of the IT Manager (or Director)
- Agree to abide by these rules at all times and confirm that the installation of any software on desktop PCs or laptops must only be carried out by IT
- Observe the Company’s Data Protection and Information Security policies and guidance in all instances
6.5.2 Internet & Email Usage
The internet is a pivotal part of the services offered by the Company and as such, must be accessible to all employees during their work hours. However, we recognise the security risks of using the internet and so access is only available through the Company’s local network or secured wireless network with the appropriate infrastructure and firewall protection. The internet is not permitted for personal use and certain sites are blocked by default to enforce this rule. The Company have also restricted the sharing of files on certain systems and for some individuals, dependant on their need to use such facilities.
Email is necessary for the service provision offered by the Company and is afforded to all employees. This is one of our main communication tools and enables quick and effective access to clients, customers and other service providers. Email is accessible via secured connection and the sending of files or personal information is restricted to a user required level. Encryption methods are used and are detailed in the encryption section of our Information Security Policy, along with secure credentials.
6.6 Removable Media
The Company defined ‘removable media’ as any type of storage device or object that is physically able to be disconnected and removed from a system or computer whilst it is active. Such media types include, but are not limited to USB’s, Media Cards, CDs, DVDs and SD cards.
We strictly control the use and oversight of removable media due to their nature, increased access and security risk. Removable media makes it easy for a person to move programs, data and content from one computer to another and as such, the Company ensures that all employees and third parties abide by this policy and our removable media rules. Documented guidance for using removable media provides working practices for the Company that can be adopted by all users, ensuring the safe storage, use and transfer of information.
We control the use of removable media devices, to enable us to: –
- Ensure the access to information is limited and restricted dependant on its purpose and content
- Maintain the integrity of the data and protect its owner and/or source
- Prevent risks and/or security breaches through loss of assets
- Comply with regulations, laws and contractual obligations
- Provide a safe and effective workplace for employees and clients
- Maintain high standards of securing and restricting personal information.
- Prohibit the disclosure of information, both for best practice and as applicable to the data protection laws
6.6.1 Using Removable Media Devices
Unless provided to an employee directly by the Company, we prohibit the use or possession of any removable media devices on-site. Employees sign an agreement to this effect as part of their employment contact and agree to be searched entering and leaving the premises to enforce this rule. Removable media devices pose a serious risk to the information held by the Company and where there is a need for using such devices, these will be owned, controlled and provided by the Company directly.
Where an employee requires a removable media device for use internally or externally, they must request this directly with the [IT Manager/Other Person]. All requests must be in writing and should state: –
- The removable media device required
- The purpose of the device
- Duration needed for
- How it will be secured and protected during use
- Where the device will be used
- What assets the device will be connected to
All removable media devices and any associated equipment and software are only available through the Company’s [Named Person/IT Manager], who will place orders and take receipt of any such devices. Where removable media is used to store important, essential or personal information, this will be done so as a backup format and is never the sole location of such data. Removable devices can become corrupt or inaccessible and there must be alternate and secure backups of all information.
For removable media devices that are needed for use outside of the Company office, please see our Remote Access & BYOD Policy for use and guidelines. Strict encryption software is used on removable media devices that partition the media and enable a secure, segregated data section that is only accessible via login credentials and authentication.
The Company uses the latest virus and malware checking software on all assets to ensure that where removal media devices are being used, these are scanned are authorised prior to allowing access to any networks, systems or servers.
Whilst removable media are in transit, they are secured through internal credential authentication and external security measures. These including being in a locked container that is only accessible to the user and the use of additional encryptions during transit.
6.7 Information Classification
When the Company documents information assets on our Information Asset Register (IAR), each asset is given a classification to help describe the use, purpose, content and risk level associated with it. We utilise 5 main classification types: –
- Unclassified – assets not of value and/or retained for a limited period where classification is not required or necessary
- Public – information that is freely obtained from the public and as such, is not classified as being personal or confidential
- Internal – physical or information assets that are solely for internal use and do not process external information or permit external access
- Personal – information or a system that processes information that belongs to an individual and is classed as personal under the data protection laws
- Confidential – private information or systems that must be secured at the highest level and are afforded access restrictions and high user authentication
- [Add/delete as applicable]
When each asset is obtained, they are added to the IAR and are assessed and classified by the owner according to their content. The classification is then used to decide what access restriction needs to be applied and the level of protection afforded to the asset. The classification along with the asset type, content and description are then used to assess the risk level associated with the information and mitigating action can then be applied.
6.8 Non-Disclosure & Confidentiality Agreements
The Company uses a robust and predefined non-disclosure agreement with all employees as part of their employment contract. We also use such agreements for visitors to the Company building, during audits and where contracts, business relationship or supplier connections are formed. Our standard non-disclosure agreement template is customised on a case by case basis to ensure that information seen, disclosed or shared during any relationship with the Company, is secure and protected.
Due to the nature of our business, the Company often shares personal and confidential information with other service providers and clients and as such, relies on clauses and stipulations in our confidentiality agreements. Alongside encryptions and secure transfers, the Company always assesses the risk of disclosing any information against the purpose and reason for doing so.
Where information must be shared for business interests or legal reasons, non-disclosure agreements are signed by the third-party prior to any information being disclosed and reviews are conducted to ensure that they have adequate safeguards in place for information transfers. Please see our Data Protection Policy & Procedures & International Data Transfer Procedures for information on secure file sharing and transfers.
6.9 Information Labelling, Handling and Disposal
The Company employs a labelling system that categorises the content of systems, files, applications and documents, without the necessity of disclosing the actual contents. This enables our employees to understand what content or information resides on a system or in a location, without accessing or seeing the personal content. Labelling allows us to document and control information, whilst still respecting access restriction.
6.9.1 Disposal of Assets
How we dispose of assets is of paramount importance due to the nature of our business and services. We handle large volumes or personal data and utilise systems that retain and process such data daily. Please refer to our Secure Disposal Policy and Retention & Erasure Policy within our GDPR/DPA18 program which details how we dispose of all data, hardware, devices and records.
Reformatting of systems and hardware is our default position, however great care is always exercised when disposing of any equipment which has been used in the processing of information, as there is always a possibility that some information may remain.
The Company will ensure that all staff are provided with the time, training and support to learn, understand and implement the Asset Management Policy and that direct asset owners are trained and supported in their role. Asset Management at the Company is a top-down approach and every employee understands the importance of the information and assets in our possession.
7.1 Information Asset Owners (IAO)
IAO’s act as the nominated owner of specific assets within the Company and are responsible for maintaining the correct information on the IAR and for documenting and understanding how the asset is used, access and of value to the company. Any process or function that affects an asset must first be authorised by the IAO.