Cybersecurity Asset Management
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IT asset inventory: A process, not an event

Ask any CIO or CISO about IT asset management and they’ll agree on one core concept: having a comprehensive IT asset inventory is foundational to success.  

An asset inventory is the benchmark for operational IT considerations like hardware spend, licensing, and software updates. The inventory is also used by security teams to define and strengthen their security posture.  

That said, it’s crucial for the inventory to be current, accurate, and include all devices, users, and cloud instances. Above all, you need visibility — an accurate baseline of information to evaluate, analyze, and compare — and that starts with a comprehensive inventory. 

The IT Asset Inventory Challenge 

The challenge? A comprehensive asset inventory isn’t always the easiest thing to create and maintain. Traditional asset inventory approaches are manual, time-consuming, fragmented, and practically impossible to keep up to date.  

Gathering an asset inventory is a point-in-time event, with time lapses between events where the status of assets can change, networks can experience unauthorized access, or incident response times can lag, leaving organizations open to compromise.  

Here’s what happens when asset inventories are manual events instead of an automated process: 

  • Information is siloed, failing to provide a unified view of all assets 
  • Audit prep is time consuming, limiting the ability to optimize and deploy resources to higher value activities 
  • Alerts, triage, and incident response times lag, leaving organizations open to compromise  
  • Finding unmanaged or ephemeral devices is near impossible 
  • Devices may be out of compliance with security policies or regulations 
  • IT assets may have overlap, costing the company unnecessary software or hardware spending 
  • CMDB (if one is used) information is out-of-date and unreliable 

The Impact of Hybrid Work 

Digital transformation, accelerated by the pandemic, is exerting new pressure on CIOs and CISOs to do more. Networks are distributed, unmanaged devices are rampant, and cloud adoption is spreading like wildfire. These circumstances are testing the limits of static, manually-gathered IT asset inventories.  

The result? Asset visibility remains a top challenge.  

IT and security roles are also expanding, and expectations are high that new responsibilities will result in improved IT operations and system performance, as well as stronger security for organizations and their customers.  

In some instances, CIOs and CISOs are being asked to not only reduce operational expense, but innovate to help with revenue generation — a role not typically associated with their responsibilities.   

Embracing an Automated, Process-Based Approach to IT Asset Inventory  

Fortunately, organizations are recognizing the challenges and taking steps to combat them. In fact, 82% plan to increase investment to address inadequate asset inventory management.  

They’re moving away from the concept of manual, event-based audits and inventories, and shifting toward an automated process for data collection and correlation, removing the taxing resource commitment and making near-real-time inventories possible.  

Many are looking to cybersecurity asset management platforms like Axonius for solutions. Cybersecurity asset management platforms correlate data from multiple sources to:  

  • Provide real-time, unified, and comprehensive asset visibility 
  • Uncover devices not easily found by one asset management or security tool alone, including unauthorized devices on restricted network segments, devices with missing and broken security agents, and unmanaged devices 
  • Accelerate incident response and remediation by providing one single source of IT asset truth 
  • Find solution overlap to determine where redundancies can be eliminated 
  • Automate policy enforcement 

An automated asset inventory delivered as a process helps organizations negotiate the ever-complex and demanding nature of their IT and security landscapes, helping them minimize complexity and achieve technological innovation.  

Interested in learning how Axonius can help? Schedule a demo today. 

By Diane Vautier 

Axonius is the cybersecurity asset management platform that correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action — giving security and IT teams the confidence to control complexity.

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