Back to Blog June 1, 2020

    What If IT Asset Tracking Were Easy?

    Tracking and securing assets is hard, and it’s getting harder. 

    Physical device inventories alone have become a major headache — not to mention trying to track cloud instances and IoT devices. At the same time, asset tracking is vital for cyberhealth.

    But here’s the thing: no one gets into IT management or cybersecurity for the asset tracking. It is, as we like to put it, just about the least sexy thing about the job.

    So let’s take a step back and imagine what it would look life if IT asset tracking were easy.

    Less “whackamole”

    The rising complexity of IT asset tracking is a known issue that’s causing major cybersecurity challenges. Most cybersecurity teams are aware of looming, unsolved issues like how to track IoT assets efficiently.

    But right now, they’re inundated by daily challenges and are so busy putting out fires that they don’t have the capacity to think about strategic improvement. Asset tracking is a major cause of that friction and is a huge timesuck just for day-to-day management.

    If asset tracking were easy, those same teams would spend far less time on:

    • Asset inventories
    • Security policy gap assessments
    • User management
    • Low-level security remediation

    Without asset tracking to worry about, security teams would have the surplus needed to reinvest effort into strategic improvement.

    That means less reactive whackamole and more proactive problem-solving.

    Better policy enforcement

    A key goal of IT asset management is to check how your security stacks up against your organization’s security policies. Are there gaps? Unmanaged devices that you didn’t know about?

    If you spend all your time trying to track down your assets and manually verifying their security, it becomes a major undertaking.

    If asset tracking were easy, you’d have a clear view into all your assets and could quickly determine their security status, then remediate as necessary. You wouldn’t have to worry about gaps or unknown assets hiding in the shadows.

    With the right solution, you could even automate policy enforcement. Policies would become a given rather than an ongoing battle.

    More confidence in status reports

    It’s our favorite joke in cybersecurity asset management: the CISO asks, “how many Windows hosts do we have?” and gets five different answers from five different teams.

    Identifying how many devices, instances or even users you have is hard because IT asset tracking is hard.

    If asset tracking were easy, that joke wouldn’t make any sense. The CISO herself could check an asset management platform for a real-time list of all assets on the network. That also means that she could feel confident in any related status reports, such as how many assets were out of compliance or the status of critical patches.

    Easy tracking means clear, reliable data — which means clear, reliable reporting.

    More time for the sexy stuff

    All of this boils down to a clear issue: security teams don’t have enough time or asset visibility to dedicate toward staying ahead of cyberthreats. 

    It seems that no matter how many tools a team leverages, it’s hard to become more strategic when there isn’t an easy way to track assets. It’s not surprising that our recent research survey with ESG found that 85% of organizations plan to increase investment in asset management.

    If asset tracking were easy, teams could prioritize strategic and high-value tasks. That includes all the sexy stuff.

    In fact, that same research found that 90% of cybersecurity professionals believe that freeing up time from asset-related tasks would have a material improvement on threat hunting and incident investigation.

    Imagining a world with easy, stress-free asset tracking throws into sharp relief just how costly asset tracking is. It can hold up key initiatives and leech resources away from strategy — but if not done well, untracked assets leave you open to security gaps.

    It’s a simple but incredibly frustrating problem.

    Asset management is more important than ever with the explosion of user devices, cloud instances and even IoT assets. Now is the time to get ahead of IT asset tracking — because that ideal state is closer than you think.

    Want the rest of the story? Check out our findings in our eBook, 2020 Asset Management Trends: As IT Complexity Increases, Visibility Plummets, for a detailed breakdown of the challenges facing asset management, as well as actionable steps to solve them once and for all.


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