In IT, asset inventory management refers to the tools and processes needed to keep an up-to-date record of all hardware and software within the enterprise. Typically, this includes every software license and device on and off the network, whether mobile or fixed, managed or unmanaged, as well as IoT, ICS, etc. – with risk profiles for each asset.

With this information at hand, you can start to make key decisions about your risk posture as well as ensure that all assets are covered by security considerations.  Understanding your environment enables you to make better decisions about security and privacy tools.

Asset inventory management and cybersecurity

Up-to-date asset inventory needs to be at the foundation of every organization’s cybersecurity program. Enterprise assets change constantly, with devices being added and retired, physical machines migrating to virtual, users coming and going, and various stakeholders installing and updating software (with or without approval). Without an accurate and up-to-date asset inventory, managing compliance and cyber-risk is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

As you think about your digital landscape, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have an up-to-date inventory of all assets across your enterprise – users, apps, and devices?
  • Do you have real-time visibility into the state of your overall security posture at any given time?
  • Do you know which assets are critical to your business and which ones are less important?
  • Do you have systems and processes in place that continuously observe and monitor your assets across a broad range of attack vectors?
  • Do you have an asset inventory management program that is helping to keep your organization safe?

Getting started with asset inventory management

Assets are a continually moving target. Because asset discovery and inventory management go hand-in-hand, they need to be woven into a seamless process that gives you full visibility and control over all of the assets in your extended network. This starts with a platform that lets you continuously and automatically discover all devices, applications, and users, along with the relationships between these entities. Tools and processes need to work together to automatically discover and inventory the full range of your IT assets, whether they are mobile, on-premises, IoT, or in the cloud. This broad coverage across all asset types is the only way you will be able to understand, manage, and secure your asset inventory in real time.

Asset inventory management lays a foundation for a strong, robust, and mature security model. By taking both a proactive and automated approach, enterprises can maintain an accurate and up-to-date asset inventory that is real time, highly accessible, and continuous. Once assets are in the inventory, they are readily available via real-time dashboards and search. They can be tracked and analyzed across attack vectors to identify those that are most likely to be compromised. And they can include automatic and continuous “compliance watchdogs” that detect rogue assets and unauthorized use.