IT Asset Management and Cybersecurity: Data Soulmates

IT Asset Management is a critical support system for any cybersecurity program - People, processes, and technology working together to create a “single source of truth” about the hardware and software in the IT environment. In fact, every cybersecurity framework needs a comprehensive inventory of assets as a critical security control.
 
First, what is IT Asset Management? It refers to the inventory of your devices, their whereabouts, and the usage and lifecycle of those devices. When properly designed and implemented, IT Asset Management provides unparalleled visibility into, and the highest level of control over, an organization’s IT ecosystem – essential factors in minimizing risk, protecting data, maintaining compliance, and improving your cybersecurity maturity.
 
Simply put, if you don’t know what devices you have, where they are, who is using them, and what’s running on them, it is impossible to accurately manage and protect those assets,  the data they contain, and routes into your network that could be compromised.
 
Cybersecurity
When developing a cybersecurity program, IT Asset Management is the foundational underpinning to identify and remediate your organization’s data vulnerabilities.
 
An effective cybersecurity plan will protect both your organization’s data and your client’s data. That may include highly valuable information such as intellectual property, financial data, merger and acquisition (M&A) plans, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and health information governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or other data that hackers can steal and sell, or ransom.
 
Mitigate Risk
There are three main technology risks of which an organization needs to be aware: security risk, financial risk, and operational risk. Security risk includes data loss or theft, malware, ransomware, and unauthorized network access. Financial risk consists of uncontrolled IT costs, overspending on technology, and non-compliance penalties. Lastly, operational risk includes system and network outages, business disruptions, and disaster recovery.
 
Risk cannot be completely avoided; however, with an effective IT Asset Management program, you can limit your exposure with keen visibility into the entire technology environment. Security, financial, and operational risks are all impacted by how well (or poorly) you understand what assets you have, where they are, how they are configured, and how they are being used, so your business leaders can make more informed decisions. 
 
During a Data Breach
In the event of a data breach, it is important to have an accurate, comprehensive record of all IT assets. When a breach occurs, time is not on your side. If you do not have a system to track what devices are deployed, where they are located, and what data is on them, it makes it very difficult to quickly recover from a breach and assess the damage. Organizations that do not have accurate data readily available often spend 36-48 hours just trying to understand their asset base; that is wasted time that could be better spent restoring mission-critical resources.
 
By having IT hardware and software asset data easily accessible in your “single source of truth”, the data forensics team can quickly gather the details needed to begin investigating a cyber-attack.
 
The Real Value of IT Asset Management
Did you know that 30% of IT budget is the average overspend on hardware and software?  Or that software publishers like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM, etc. make between 20% and 28% of their annual revenue on license audits and true-ups? That is a lot of money left on the table. So, IT Asset Management isn’t just an inventory, it provides insights which reduce spending, strengthen your cybersecurity posture, and enable faster, data-driven business decisions. 
 
IT Asset Management is a core business competency, giving your organization a competitive advantage and driving company success. If you don’t have an IT Asset Management program which is yielding comprehensive, accurate and sustainable data, you have a cybersecurity vulnerability problem too.
 
Ask yourself these 5 questions:
  1. Do you have clear insight into your organization’s total investment in IT?
  2. Do you know the exact risk the loss of even one device would create?
  3. Do you know the software license entitlements, usage, and compliance status for all of your high-impact software publishers, and could you pass a compliance audit without true-up spend?
  4. Are you certain that your existing process for hardware asset disposal is compliant with all applicable laws, regulations, and industry best practices?
  5. Is your company management okay not knowing how current technology exposes your organization to risk?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, learn more about how IT Asset Management can benefit your overall risk profile.

MCPc is a global data protection company that helps organizations dramatically minimize their risk of disruption from unforeseen events like cyber-attacks or economic downturns and inefficiencies in their people and systems. Our goal is to help every client achieve the highest degree of security and the least amount of risk their organization can afford, or what we call, SecurityCertainty. For your free IT Asset Management consultation, contact MCPc today!