Table of contents
- Benefits of using discovery tools for cybersecurity asset management
- Risks of not using asset discovery for mitigating cyberattacks
- 5 ways asset discovery can improve your cybersecurity posture
- Identify incident root cause quickly using IT discovery tools
- Prioritize security incidents based on threat levels
- Enrich data and add context during vulnerability management
- Improve incident response times through real-time collaboration
- Continuously monitor and identify vulnerabilities within your infrastructure
- Use Virima’s IT discovery tool for cybersecurity asset management
Asset discovery is the process of identifying, cataloging and prioritizing all the information systems in your environment. Getting a clear picture of what devices are connected to your network is essential to make informed decisions about how best to protect them. This is why it is also a necessary part of any cybersecurity strategy.
It provides the information you need to know about what’s on your network so you can identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities and risks. For example, someone could use this opportunity for malicious purposes if an employee leaves their laptop unattended for some time.
If an organization does not know about these assets on the outside—and has no policies to restrict their use—they risk losing sensitive information. This information can come from inside their organization’s networks or from its partners or customers who interact with those assets daily.
Despite making the most of their resources, 38% of North American IT leaders have reported experiencing security breaches. Out of those who did experience a breach, 57% of leaders could not retrieve their data. This is why asset discovery is so important: it ensures everyone knows what assets are being used by whom and where they are located. Security teams can prioritize these assets based on what needs the most protection or has the most sensitive data on board.
This article will discuss how you can use asset discovery to protect your entire infrastructure—and how that benefits your business.
Benefits of using discovery tools for cybersecurity asset management
There are several benefits of implementing an IT asset discovery tool for the sole purpose of cybersecurity. Here are a few:
Integrates security into every organizational workflow
Using asset discovery software is one of the essential steps in ensuring that you integrate security into every organizational workflow. These tools are designed to scan a network or system and identify installed software and hardware, configuration settings, and other information. It enables organizations to get a better understanding of the assets they have, helping them to make informed decisions about their security posture.
Organizations can ensure that all assets are up-to-date with the latest security patches and configurations by conducting regular scans. It reduces their risk profile, as potential vulnerabilities are addressed before attackers can exploit them. In addition, regular scans enable organizations to stay abreast of any changes made to the environment by alerting them when new devices or applications are added or removed from their networks.
Improved end-to-end visibility into your IT infrastructure
Using an asset discovery tool provides end-to-end visibility into your entire infrastructure. This visibility can significantly benefit any organization looking to secure its systems and networks.
They provide comprehensive insights on every device connected to the network, from mobile devices to cloud services, and accurate data on hardware, software, and security configurations. Organizations will have a complete understanding of all their assets, allowing them to identify potential vulnerabilities before they are exploited or detect suspicious activity in real time.
Additionally, asset discovery tools allow organizations to take proactive steps toward ensuring proper patching and configuration of their cyber assets. With these tools, teams can view all available patches for a given system and apply them simultaneously with automated patching deployments for greater efficiency and cost savings.
Move from reactive to proactive incident management
In the past, information technology (IT) teams have been reactive in their approach to asset discovery for cybersecurity. They relied on antivirus software and firewalls to protect their networks and systems from malicious activity. But today’s threats are more sophisticated, targeted, and likely to slip through traditional defenses.
To protect against these modern cyber threats, organizations need a proactive asset discovery strategy to identify new devices, misconfigurations, and vulnerabilities before they become problems. This proactive approach enables organizations to monitor their network traffic and identify risky behaviors as they happen—not after they’ve occurred.
This type of proactive monitoring enables organizations to discover assets quickly to take action before any damage is done.
Provides a single source of truth for security management
Asset discovery tools offer a single source of truth for IT teams when they have to manage vulnerabilities in their network.
A cybersecurity team can use asset discovery tools to discover all assets on the network within one dashboard. Then, they can use this asset data to map out the potential cyber attack surface. It helps them identify security incidents before they happen so that companies can respond better quickly and effectively.
It also prevents them from context-switching between multiple security applications—focusing their efforts on what’s important—the vulnerability.
Risks of not using asset discovery for mitigating cyberattacks
While we have already discussed the many benefits of asset discovery tools, what happens if you completely avoid automated discovery tools?
Let’s look at the risks of doing so—and how it can impact you.
Increased attacked surface on applications and devices
A vital component of an effective cybersecurity strategy is asset discovery. It helps in identifying all the hardware and software assets in your environment so you can manage them proactively and reactively.
However, when you do not use such a tool, it increases the attack surface on your applications and devices. You could be missing critical security patches or other updates that need to be applied to these assets. If an attacker finds a vulnerability in one of these devices or applications, they could use it to create an attack vector in your network.
It means that valuable information about more difficult-to-find assets like printers, routers, switches, and other networking equipment often goes undetected until after an incident occurs or until another team has detected a breach.
Lack of visibility into unknown assets within your network
The first step to creating a cyber-resilient environment is thoroughly understanding your entire IT environment. This means you should be able to visualize your assets and network in real-time—at all times.
Not using an asset discovery tool results in a lack of visibility into assets, specifically unknown assets within your network. It can lead to trouble down the road because you won’t know what is connected until something goes wrong. For example, when a new employee plugs their personal laptop into the network and accidentally opens up a backdoor for hackers to exploit. As the number of devices in a network increases each year, you need to implement a discovery and observability tool to ensure your bases are covered.
Lack of compliance with regulatory measures
Regarding cybersecurity compliance, asset discovery tools play an essential role. Without them, organizations cannot identify which assets are present in their networks, making it challenging to ensure that those assets comply with applicable regulatory environments such as SOC2 (Systems and Organizations Controls 2).This lack of visibility and knowledge can lead to significant problems for businesses, as failing to adhere to regulations can result in hefty fines or other sanctions.
A lack of asset discovery tools can make it hard for organizations to keep up with changing security standards or new threats, meaning they could be stuck using outdated and vulnerable systems without knowing it.
Moreover, when it comes to software license compliance, organizations may not know when software updates have been released and must manually inspect each system individually. This is a process that can take considerable time and effort.
Inaccurate inventory of existing assets from your network
The process of identifying assets can be arduous and time-consuming. When you don’t use an IT discovery tool, it results in an inaccurate inventory of existing assets from your network. It means you may not know what devices are running within your organization, where they are located, or what services they are connected to. The lack of this information makes it challenging to ensure that proper security controls and sensitive data are protected.
In some cases, you might not even be aware of potential vulnerabilities or the presence of sensitive data. For example, with the rise of remote culture, it is common for employees to connect their mobile devices. If they are accessing sensitive company information using that device, that creates an opportunity for a breach. Not using a tool to identify such issues could lead to failure to comply with compliance and security regulations.
5 ways asset discovery can improve your cybersecurity posture
Here are five ways you can use an IT discovery tool to strengthen your cybersecurity posture:
Identify incident root cause quickly using IT discovery tools
Identifying root causes quickly during incident management is essential for resolving the issue quickly, minimizing downtime, and preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.
One way to do this is through an asset discovery tool. This tool can automatically monitor and collect data from all the assets involved in an incident. In turn, it helps provide a more comprehensive view of the problem and speeds up root cause identification. It is beneficial for the identification and verification process of the root cause identification process.
Additionally, these tools often have features such as alerting and incident tracking so that you can quickly react to changes in your environment that might be related to an incident. Combining this data with manual investigation techniques such as log analysis and questionnaires makes it possible to rapidly identify root causes within a short time frame without sacrificing accuracy or depth of information.
Prioritize security incidents based on threat levels
Prioritizing security incidents based on threat levels involves identifying the IT assets involved in the incident and assessing the potential impact on them. The threat level is determined by analyzing:
- sensitivity of the data
- potential financial losses
- compliance or regulatory exposure
- reputational damage
- criticality of system function
Risk assessment framework
You should also analyze IT assets for their risk profiles to understand better where risks exist. You must address higher threats first, as they pose a higher risk to operations and can result in greater damage. Additionally, prioritizing based on threat level helps organizations determine actions to take when dealing with multiple security incidents.
You can only achieve this when you have all the information you need about an asset in one place—something an asset discovery tool can help you do.
Enrich data and add context during vulnerability management
IT teams can quickly identify applications and services running on target machines by automating asset discovery. It is crucial when supporting patching or updating existing services or applications and mitigating other potential vulnerabilities.
In addition, these tools can provide valuable context about an asset’s configuration settings and current security posture, allowing IT teams to prioritize mitigation efforts across various systems more effectively. For example, you can access data right from when the asset appeared to how it moves along your network. It removes the need for wasting too much time wondering what happened and focusing on remediation instead.
Essentially, they add value and robustness during vulnerability management by providing rich contextual data that simplifies detection tasks while helping IT teams make wise decisions regarding security measures.
Improve incident response times through real-time collaboration
Over 60% of incidents result in over $100,000 in losses. Moreover, 30% of outages lasted more than 24 hours—costing the business more money by the minute.
Discovery tools are crucial for improving incident response times through real-time collaboration. It provides an up-to-date map of assets that security teams can use to understand their environment. This speeds up incident response by enabling rapid assessment of the affected areas.
In addition, these tools enable security teams to collaborate more efficiently across departments—reducing the time taken to respond effectively when an attack occurs. With all this data at their fingertips, security analysts can easily detect suspicious activities or changes in device configurations that could impede incident response times or cause additional damage.
Continuously monitor and identify vulnerabilities within your infrastructure
These tools enable organizations to gain greater visibility into assets on their networks, making it easier to identify potential security gaps. They can be configured to continuously scan the network for new assets as they join the infrastructure or move around the network. It allows organizations to quickly identify changes in their infrastructure environment and take action accordingly by patching vulnerabilities or blocking access to unauthorized users. Plus, it does most of the heavy lifting if you regularly conduct network audits.
Also, these tools often come with automated alerting systems that notify administrators immediately when suspicious activities are detected. When you consider that 43% of site reliability engineers (SREs) use automation to support their incident management efforts, coupling that with an asset discovery tool only improves your security posture with time.
Use Virima’s IT discovery tool for cybersecurity asset management
Asset discovery is a vital part of any cybersecurity strategy. When you have a good understanding of what assets you have on your network, you can take steps to protect them and mitigate vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. It means keeping up-to-date with the latest security advances and implementing them in your organization as soon as possible.
When you’re ready to implement asset discovery, remember that it should be an ongoing process. As new devices are added to your network or existing ones change their configurations, you need to update the data so that your asset inventory remains accurate. You should also ensure that your network is configured correctly and secured. You can use a network scanning tool like Virima to find devices with open ports or misconfigurations that could leave them vulnerable to attack.If you are looking for an IT discovery tool to discover IT assets within your network, book a demo with Virima today.