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Effective Asset Management Is Critical to Enterprise Cybersecurity

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"Effective Asset Management Is Critical to Enterprise Cybersecurity"

An enterprise cannot protect the business without knowing what devices and software it has -- on-premises, cloud, and spaces in between -- yet few organizations have effective asset management in place. Organizations need to take a holistic approach with automated discovery tools, robust data management processes, governance frameworks, and collaboration across teams. This report discusses how to set up asset management programs that help reduce risk and maintain a secure digital footprint.

Without an accurate inventory and understanding of the software, devices, and cloud services that an organization relies upon, it becomes impossible to adequately protect those assets and the sensitive data they handle. However, very few organizations have truly comprehensive asset management practices in place.

The challenges in achieving good asset visibility are multifaceted. The sheer number and diversity of assets, including personal devices, IoT/OT systems, virtualized workloads, and cloud services, make it difficult to maintain a complete picture. The dynamic nature of cloud environments, where resources are constantly being created and destroyed, exacerbates this issue.

Additionally, the complex blend of on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, each with their own security models and management tools, increases the difficulty of obtaining a unified view. Legacy on-premises asset management tools often struggle to keep up with the scale and rate of change in modern environments.

Overcoming these hurdles requires a holistic approach that combines robust technology solutions, data management processes, governance frameworks, and cultural change. Specific strategies recommended include:

  • Implementing automated asset discovery and tracking tools that continuously assess the environment across all domains (on-prem, cloud, IoT, etc.).
  • Integrating data from multiple sources (monitoring tools, service desks, cloud providers) into a single, unified asset inventory view to eliminate silos and blind spots.
  • Leveraging security data analytics and machine learning to analyze logs and identify newly arrived assets that may have been missed by other methods.
  • Adopting continuous threat and exposure management (CTEM) tools to monitor for vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and rogue devices across the entire digital footprint.
  • The importance of human reviews and security validations, such as penetration testing and red teaming exercises, as they can uncover unmanaged assets and shadow IT that automated tools may miss.
  • Implement automated asset discovery and tracking tools integrated with a centralized CMDB or asset management system.
  • Establish clear asset management governance, including defined life cycles and regular auditing processes.

Ultimately, effective asset management requires diligent effort, the right tools and methods, and a mindset shift towards prioritizing this often unglamorous but essential aspect of cybersecurity.

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