Glossary Glossary

Asset Inventory Management

Asset inventory management is the process of identifying and cataloging all of an organization’s assets. It also includes tracking the condition and value of each asset throughout its life cycle.

The process encompasses several types of tangible, intangible, and financial assets. In the context of attack surface management (ASM), asset inventory management mostly involves monitoring and managing digital assets, such as domain names, IP addresses, email addresses, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. This post will generally discuss digital asset inventory management.

Table of Contents

Asset Inventory Management: A Deep Dive

What Is the Purpose of Asset Inventory Management?

The overarching goal of digital asset inventory management is to allow organizations to track all of their assets throughout their life cycle, from acquisition to disposal. It enables them to protect assets from unauthorized access, theft, and other untoward and costly incidents. Specifically, the process enables entities to:

  • Improve asset utilization: Knowing where and how assets are used helps organizations allocate them efficiently. For example, a company that keeps track of all of its email addresses can assign one for each employee or department and create additional ones only when strictly necessary.
  • Reduce costs associated with asset loss, theft, and damage: Asset inventory management helps identify all assets, allowing organizations to detect and correct issues before they can lead to costly failures. For instance, an ASM platform that continuously catalogs domain names and scans them for misconfigurations, enabling companies to address weaknesses that may lead to domain hijacking.
  • Ensure compliance with cybersecurity regulations: Many organizations have to comply with regulations that typically involve asset tracking and monitoring. Asset inventory management can help them meet requirements and avoid paying costly fines.
  • Improve security: Maintaining a running inventory of all assets gives organizations the visibility they need to boost their security posture. After all, security teams can only take remediation steps to protect what they can see.

What Features Should Asset Inventory Management Systems Have?

Several IT systems have digital asset inventory management features. For example, an ASM platform has a built-in capability to detect and catalog digital assets and regularly scan them for vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other issues. Some of the essential features an asset inventory management system and ASM solutions have include:

Asset Inventory Management
  • Asset discovery: An asset inventory management system should be able to discover all of an organization’s digital assets that are connected to its network. Digital assets also include those that are part of its cloud environment and shadow IT infrastructure.
  • Continuous asset monitoring: An asset inventory management system should be able to track all new Internet-facing assets as they get created as part of organizational processes and business activities.
  • Asset reporting: Organizations must be able to use the system to generate reports about all detected assets and their relevant information that can be shared with business executives and relevant stakeholders.
  • Integration: The platform should be easy to integrate with other IT systems, such as project management solutions and collaboration tools, to streamline asset management and remediation processes.
  • Alerts and notifications: The system should send alerts and notifications to users about essential asset-related events, such as additions, updates, and newly detected vulnerabilities.

An asset inventory management system enables organizations to understand their assets better, including how they are used and their weaknesses. This information can help them make better asset management-, security-, and compliance-related decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • Asset inventory management is the process of identifying and monitoring all of an organization’s assets throughout their life cycle.
  • It is important for efficient asset utilization, cost reduction, regulatory compliance, and security.
  • It enables organizations to take control of and protect their assets from unauthorized access and theft.
  • Asset inventory management systems typically have features that include asset discovery, monitoring, reporting, and integration.
  • Asset inventory management capabilities and features are usually built into ASM platforms.

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