Asset Discovery: Everything You Should Know | 2023 Guide

Asset discovery tools by Informer

Last Updated on 14 February 2023 by admin

External Asset Discovery is the process of identifying and mapping all the technology assets that exist outside an organization’s internal environment.

This is a crucial practice for security and IT leaders, as it helps to mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks that often originate from outside the organization. In today’s digital world, cyber-attacks continue to pose a significant threat to businesses of all sizes, and external asset discovery is an essential tool in the fight against these attacks.

External asset discovery is critical for security and IT leaders because it provides a complete and accurate picture of the organization’s attack surface, helping them to identify vulnerabilities and implement measures to protect against cyber threats.

One of the primary reasons why external asset discovery is essential is that it provides visibility into the organization’s digital footprint. Modern businesses have an extensive online presence that includes numerous web applications, cloud services, and other technologies that can be accessed from outside the organization.

Attackers often exploit these technologies to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s systems or steal sensitive data. By conducting external asset discovery, security and IT leaders can gain visibility into their digital footprint and identify potential vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.

In this blog, we discuss how security 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 it’s 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?

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 and evolves.

How does asset discovery work?

Asset discovery works by using in-depth automated OSINT techniques to search the internet to identify and map assets that comprise your organizations digital perimeter. Assets can be defined as domains, IPs and FQDNs. Managing asset discovery manually is a complex and time consuming task and can often lead to unknown assets not being identified which could lead to increased risk.

In order to maintain an accurate asset inventory asset discovery needs to be conducted regularly as an organizations digital perimeter is constantly evolving. It’s critical to have tools in place that can identify and alert you of new services but also changes to know assets that could pose a risk.

Why should I use asset discovery?

This form of passive automated inventory management offers a wealth of benefits as a more efficient way to take control of your security posture.

Below are some of the main advantages of continuously mapping assets, outlining its importance in today’s cyber-climate.

Gain real-time attack surface visibility of your digital environment

Dynamic asset discovery reveals all of your internet-facing assets, keeping the focus on real (and not perceived) risk. With a full view of your external attack surface, you can see vulnerabilities as they are introduced at both the application and infrastructure level, and be alerted to potential security issues before they escalate into serious threats. This also means you can stop spending valuable time and resources manually updating spreadsheets to maintain an accurate and up to date asset inventory.

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 an organization’s digital footprint expands, so must its defensive capabilities – 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.

Informer’s asset discovery tools are 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.

The key functions asset discovery tools perform for your organization

Discovering assets on your digital perimeter enables a holistic approach to cyber security and allows you to identify and prioritize assets that may be at risk. Knowing this information can help you take remedial action before an incident occurs.

Asset discovery tools can automate many of the tasks associated with maintaining an inventory of your assets. This includes tracking asset location, ownership and assigning asset criticality. They can also help you as regards auditing and compliance purposes, generating reports that show which assets are compliant with internal security policies or external regulations.

Overall, asset discovery is a critical practice for organizations looking to protect their systems and data from cyber threats. By identifying and mapping all the technology assets that exist outside the organization’s firewall, security and IT leaders can gain visibility into their digital footprint, identify vulnerabilities, and implement measures to protect against cyber-attacks.

How Informer helps you discovery and manage your digital assets

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.