How Tracking IT Inventory Can Enhance your Cybersecurity Posture

When it comes to securing your IT environment, antivirus, firewalls, and DNS filters are some of the options you have to protect your IT network.

IT inventory

However, those forms of endpoint protection are only helpful if you know what systems you need to protect.

An important part of securing your IT system is knowing what you have to secure. While the importance might seem obvious, IT inventory is often an overlooked component of cybersecurity. 

In brief, IT inventory refers to keeping track of the IT assets running within your network. (Don’t worry; we’ll go into more detail later.)

If you don’t know what IT assets you have, how can you protect them? 

This question is so serious to cybersecurity that The KR Group’s security team includes IT inventory in their security risk assessment, Purple Team Hive Assessment

There are three things our security advisers think you should know about IT inventory when it comes to protecting your data:

  1. A basic understanding of IT inventory
  2. The importance of IT inventory
  3. Creating a database of IT inventory assets

These three basic points can help you understand why IT inventory is not only an important component of a security risk assessment but also important for your business’s security.

1.   A basic understanding of IT inventory

In the simplest sense, taking inventory in IT or any industry is counting and making a list of the assets in your office.

The first step of tracking IT inventory is counting the number the physical components in your network, such as servers, workstations, laptops, etc.

This will create a catalog of not only what you have and how many, but other important details, such as make, model, and serial number, as well as internal configuration information (amount of RAM, hard disk layout, interface cards, etc.).

They’ll also look for the IT components that aren’t so obvious, such as the software and applications that are running on the visible hardware.

Your security adviser will catalog details about the different software within your network, such as brand, version, and where it’s installed.

IT inventory can also include items connected to your network that aren’t conventionally thought of as IT assets.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to connect traditionally analog technology (think of thermostats, lighting, monitoring devices) to the Internet, it is becoming increasingly important to catalog these devices as well.

2.  The importance of IT inventory

When it comes to IT security, anything running or plugged into your network increases your attack surface.

The more physical and virtual items in your IT network means more ways for attackers to sneak into your network. While IT inventory is important for companies of all sizes, as businesses scale up in size, so does the need to keep track of your IT inventory.

Not having an inventory of what hardware and software exist is problematic because it increases your likelihood of unknown vulnerabilities.

In a nutshell, your security adviser – and ultimately your IT department – can’t secure what it doesn’t know exists.

You can’t replace or update IT assets that have fallen off your radar.

Besides the obvious of being a good practice, keeping track of your IT inventory can be mandated by various regulations and is a crucial step to increasing your security posture.

IT inventory The defensive side of an IT risk assessment covers inventory to catalog which IT assets exist within your environment.

Security advisors are looking to not only create a list of all hardware and software connected to your network but also to determine if those assets are current on updates and supported by manufacturers.

When it comes to the offensive side, your security team doesn’t explicitly look for a list of known devices. However, it will notice if anything within your network has fallen through the cracks since missing patches and updates are what allows them to sneak into your IT environment.

So how do you keep track of your inventory?

3.  Creating a database of IT inventory

If you have the time (and a relatively simple IT environment) you could manually go through everything in your network and track it in a spreadsheet.

This manual process is time-consuming, though, and doesn’t always make sense for large enterprises with hundreds of IT assets.

One of the best ways to do this is an inventory monitoring software, which runs through your IT environment and collects information about what exists.

The information is tracked in a database that keeps track of asset information as it is scanned and recorded. Some software is even able to gather data about the inventory, automatically detect and add new devices, or scan hardware for newly installed software.

This option can be much simpler and beneficial for all IT environments.

Where to start

When you sign up for security risk assessment, your security team will give you a head start on keeping track of your IT inventory. The security team can catalog your IT assets as well as suggest protocols for you to implement moving forward.

This step ensures your security adviser and you know what you need to protect and discover any vulnerabilities within those IT assets.

If you opt for an annual IT security risk assessment review, your security adviser will again check to see that all of your IT assets (including any new ones you added in the past 12 months) are included in your inventory list.

Inventory is an important aspect of your security posture, but it’s only a single component of a security risk assessment.

For other ways to protect your IT assets, check out our other articles: 

Leave a Comment


Want the articles from our Learning Center delivered to your inbox? Stay up to date with the latest on cybersecurity, collaboration, data center, managed services, and more.

Scroll to Top