Five questions to ask when evaluating your next asset management solution

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Choosing the right asset management solution for your needs and business requirements is vital to its success.

Asset visibility is crucial for businesses as it lays the foundation for a strong cybersecurity program. Yet many organisations are still lagging behind when it comes to applying asset management solutions, says a release from Forescout.

With asset management tools for information technology (IT), others for operational technology (OT), some that are inventory-only tools, and some that provide active, passive or hybrid monitoring, it is important to understand the factors that will determine the optimal type of asset management for the organisation. Forescout has released five questions you should ask when finding the right solution for your needs:

1. Does the organisation have OT environments where a passive monitoring solution is needed?

Examples may be manufacturing systems, shipping logistics, power infrastructure and building automation systems. These systems include any network that may have sensitive assets the physical operations of which could be disrupted by being queried with ping sweeps or scans etc.

2. Does the organisation need to do more than just build out a basic asset inventory list?

Organisations that must comply with internal or external standards and regulations may need to also identify and document operating systems, firmware versions, installed software, installed patches, open ports and other details.

3. Does the organisation have planned or existing tools in its environment with which an asset management solution will need to integrate to maximise return on investment (ROI) for security investments?

The more data an organisation can collect about the network and endpoints, the more value it will get out of existing toolsets once they are integrated. Examples may include ticketing systems, security information and event managers (SIEMs) or even firewalls and switches that can optionally enforce controls at a time when the organisation is ready for that next step.

4. Does the organisation need an asset management solution that can scale across the organisation to include the business network, cloud assets, OT infrastructure, IoT (Internet of Things) devices and any other disparate environments that may exist?

Having a scalable, platform-based solution that offers the necessary functionality for each target environment and can integrate with complementary solutions is a huge advantage. While a single solution can’t do everything, it should easily integrate with existing solutions to let organisations take a proactive approach to cybersecurity, while also getting better ROI on existing investments.

5. What other security initiatives are currently underway or will begin soon?

Understanding other initiatives in play can be beneficial as it can help security stakeholders better prioritise activities. A comprehensive asset management solution can provide critical data for other cybersecurity initiatives including network segmentation projects and selectively applying controls when suspicious or potentially dangerous events have been observed on the network. This requires visibility first and foremost and leverages policies to apply controls when events have or haven’t met specific criteria. Integration is key for taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity and makes existing investments that much more valuable.

“There are many asset management solutions that claim they can solve all problems, and it is important to understand what the organisational requirements are, as well as long-term strategic goals and objectives and how that fits with the solution being offered,” says Steve Hunter, senior director, systems engineering, Asia Pacific and Japan at Forescout. “Of key importance is gaining confidence that the asset management system is a true reflection of the assets in the enterprise, in as close to real-time as practical.”

“Hybrid solutions are a great option for monitoring, as they bring the best of both active and passive monitoring. However, understanding the unique environment of the organisation will help the best asset management solution be identified,” Hunter says.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

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