What is Asset Discovery and Why is it Important?

Last Updated on 8 December 2021 by Alastair Digby

It’s no secret that cyber security is encapsulated by a myriad of complex challenges. As new and emerging technology is adopted, processes and operations become more efficient, but this also introduces inescapable risk – constantly generating new threats to tackle.

While achieving bulletproof cyber security is becoming progressively challenging for organizations, hacking is becoming easier as opportunities for attack increase. In this blog, we discuss how business leaders and IT professionals can take control of their organization’s digital health with asset discovery.

Monitoring your evolving attack surface

The attack surface refers to the total sum of all security risk exposures (known as attack vectors) that a malicious attacker can use in order to gain privileged access to a digital environment. These points may be known or unknown assets, and lie within hardware, software, and networks. Because attack surfaces are constantly growing and evolving, combatting their associated risks can seem intimidating.

Many security and IT professionals opt for the easy and possibly most obvious solution to this universal problem – reducing their attack surface. However, although its a start, this will not totally protect your network. And of course, this is almost impossible for larger organizations and those experiencing growth. Therefore, scalable security is becoming not only a popular but necessary solution.

What is asset discovery and how does it work?

Asset discovery is the process of identifying and locating active and inactive assets that are both known and unknown to an organization. This form of live and continuous security monitoring offers round-the-clock vulnerability management – notifying you of changes to your attack surface as soon as they appear. Things like changes to firewalls, spinning up new VPNs, and using additional cloud services unavoidably increase your online exposure. So, it’s critical to have complete visibility of your attack surface as it grows.

Why should I use asset discovery?

This form of passive inventory offers a wealth of benefits as a more efficient way to take control of your security stature. Below are some of the main advantages of asset mapping, outlining its importance in today’s cyber-climate.

Gain real-time visibility of your online environment.

Dynamic asset discovery reveals all of your live assets, therefore keeping the focus on real (and not perceived) risk. With a full view of your attack surface, you can see vulnerabilities as they are introduced at both web application and infrastructure level, and be alerted to potential issues before they escalate into serious threats. This also means you can move away from using endless spreadsheets to monitor assets.

Take control of your network.

This type of threat intelligence uses automatic asset-tracking which provides organizations with confidence and assurance in their cyber defense. It enables them to make smarter vulnerability management decisions – knowing where their vulnerabilities lie before attackers do allows for better overall analysis. Such insight is crucial for an organization’s efficient threat-response and saves valuable time.

Be proactive with always-on automated security.

To confront and combat the abundance of threats posed, a more modern, proactive approach to security is essential. As a form of continuous security surveillance, asset discovery tools detect online environment changes that you might not be aware of. For example, Informer uses a range of open-source intelligence techniques in order to mimic an attacker’s active approach to finding online assets (our geolocation of assets is accurate to 99%), including scraping, website code analysis, and active DNS discovery.

Harness scalability with asset monitoring.

As a business’s digital footprint expands, so must its defense – this will help guarantee that capacity problems don’t hinder responses to security incidents. So, scalable security is a strategy and toolset that can increase or decrease in capacity to support a larger or smaller load, subject to variations in demand, readily safeguarding your systems.

Save money.

With today’s mounting risk, using a combination of defenses isn’t efficient. Many traditional methods of cyber security are quickly becoming outdated too. Live asset discovery offers an affordable solution that scales accordingly to your organization, making security both easier to achieve and cost-effective.

Ensure compliance with data security regulations.

It’s fast becoming a legal and regulatory requirement to have a security platform connected to your assets. Some of these legislations include the General Data Protection Regulation, the New York SHIELD Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Informers asset discovery tool is being improved to signal potential data protection issues – assets with personal information received by websites outside of the EU are pinpointed as a potential compliance issue within the platform.

How Informer empowers organizations to optimize their security

Informer shines a light on blind spots in your attack surface and highlights potential risks using over fifty data sources to keep you informed in real-time. Our scalable technology accelerates asset discovery time, completing it in a fraction of the time that manual techniques take. Discovery against large domains containing thousands of assets can take place in seconds. Informers attack surface management solution revolutionizes defense, allowing organizations to catalogue their assets in a single frictionless platform.