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IT Asset Discovery's Role in Enhancing Cybersecurity Measures

attack surface monitoringit asset discovery asm
February 29, 2024
5 mins read
Andrija Suberic

Andrija Suberic

Product Marketing Manager

Digital transformations are a trend that remains at the forefront for most companies, with Gartner reporting that over 87% of business leaders consider digitization to be a top company priority. This is characterized by trends like cloud environments, mobile applications, remote working, etc., to name just a few. While bringing numerous benefits, these trends also introduce a key challenge of an increased attack surface that is highly challenging to track and monitor. An Attack Surface can be considered the number of entry points an attack can exploit to gain unauthorized access into an organization. The greater the attack surface, the greater the risk of an attacker being able to compromise one weak entry point. Take, for example, the rise of remote working that has directly increased cyberattacks targeting remote workers. This is where Attack Surface Monitoring (ASM) comes in as a critical security control to help organizations identify, classify, monitor, and prioritize their digital real estate. Visibility equals security; hence, in this article, we will cover IT asset discovery and why it is one of the most crucial aspects of ASM.

What is IT Asset Discovery?

IT Asset discovery is an organized and systematic way of discovering the digital assets within an organization's network. It covers everything from network devices to servers, regardless of whether they are hosted on cloud or on-prem environments. IT Asset discovery forms the foundation for effective Attack Surface Monitoring as it provides ASM with the data it needs to monitor.

How Does IT Asset Discovery Work?

IT Asset Discovery can be carried out via various techniques, such as network scanning, configuration management databases (CMBD), agent-based scanning, etc., to create a comprehensive catalog of an organization’s digital footprint. It can also query data about the asset during discovery, such as its technical details, security posture, and business purpose.

Why Is IT Asset Discovery Important?

IT Asset discovery is vital because it gives cybersecurity teams the visibility to understand the organization's digital footprint and security posture. Without a thorough IT asset discovery process, critical assets might remain unprotected, making them susceptible to cyber-attacks.

IT Asset discovery tools help businesses by:

  • Automating the Discovery Process: Continuously scanning the network for new or changed assets ensures cybersecurity teams are aware of any changes within the environment.
  • Categorizing and Prioritizing Assets: Based on their criticality and the data they handle.
  • Integrating with Vulnerability Management: Identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities on discovered assets.

How the Implementation of IT Asset Discovery Safeguards Businesses

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Implementing IT asset discovery safeguards businesses by:

  • Enhancing Visibility: Providing a clear view of all assets within the digital environment.
  • Reducing Attack Surfaces: By identifying and securing all assets, thereby minimizing potential entry points for attackers.
  • Facilitating Compliance: Ensuring that all assets comply with relevant regulations and standards.

Given modern networks' dynamics and volatility, the IT asset discovery process must be continuous and automated to provide real-time insights into the threat environment. This automation allows cybersecurity teams to pre-emptively address security gaps before attackers can exploit them.

How IT Asset Discovery Works with ASM

Attack Surface Monitoring is a key cybersecurity methodology that is built upon several key steps, such as:

  • Identification and Prioritization: Identifying and prioritizing assets based on their business criticality and the data they process. -** Vulnerability Management**: Identification of vulnerabilities on the discovered assets and their mitigation.
  • Change Monitoring: Monitoring any changes that can affect the security posture of the assets.

It is difficult to secure what you cannot see. Hence, IT asset discovery plays a key role within the context of ASM. It provides cybersecurity teams with the necessary insights to secure the digital environment proactively. Additionally, it is a critical step in mitigating the risks associated with "Shadow IT," where unapproved devices and applications are used within the network without the cybersecurity team's knowledge or approval.

Challenges of IT Asset Discovery

Despite the benefits mentioned in the previous section, IT asset discovery is far from a simple process, given the changing nature of modern environments. Networks are highly dynamic and volatile, with regular updates, changes, and expansions occurring.

Additionally, the type of assets can be pretty diverse, from cloud services, IoT devices, firewalls, etc., to decommissioned / dormant applications that are no longer used (and hence not patched! ). Hence, ASM's IT asset discovery process must be continuous and automated to provide real-time insights into the threat environment.

What are IT Asset Discovery Tools

Open-source tools play a key role in IT Asset Discovery with their ability to identify and catalog digital assets across an organization. Tools like Sourcemapper, Fallparams, Mass-GitFinder, and CrawlerGo stand out for their specialized functions in the cybersecurity domain.

For example, Sourcemapper is instrumental in mapping source code files helping identify potentially vulnerable code segments. Fallparams contribute by identifying insecure parameters in web applications and highlighting potential entry points for cyber threats. At the same time, Mass-GitFinder is a powerful way to uncover exposed Git repositories, a common oversight that can lead to significant security breaches if sensitive information is leaked. These are just some open-source tools that collectively empower cybersecurity teams to conduct a thorough IT asset discovery. The challenge comes in integrating these different tools into a unified IT asset discovery interface to consolidate findings, which we will discuss in the next section.

How Trickest Elevates Your IT Asset Discovery

Trickest streamlines IT asset discovery by covering vital processes like Attack Surface Management, Vulnerability Scanning, and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) into inter-connected, automated workflows. Leveraging our platform transforms complex discovery tasks into straightforward, efficient workflows, empowering teams with the agility to constantly enrich, debug, and adapt to the dynamic digital environment.

Our Visual Workflow Builder provides an intuitive interface, simplifying the orchestration of discovery tasks and enabling teams to tailor workflows to their specific needs, ensuring comprehensive visibility and control over their digital assets. This approach not only enhances operational efficiency but also significantly uplifts the security posture with hyper-scalable execution capabilities, delivering unparalleled speed and scalability in identifying and cataloging digital assets across the organization’s network.

Here's a snapshot of the pre-built Asset Discovery and Vulnerability Scanning workflow that you can use immediately by registering on our platform.

Screenshot of the part of the Asset Discovery workflow in the Trickest workflow Editor

Automating Discovery with Precision

At Trickest, we're revolutionizing IT Asset Discovery by harnessing the power of inter-connected open-source tools to conduct thorough, continuous scans of your digital landscape. Our platform ensures that no asset goes unnoticed, automating the detection and cataloging of every component within your environment—from cloud resources to remote endpoints. By integrating a suite of leading open-source tools within our platform, we provide a detailed, actionable data source of your entire attack surface. This seamless integration allows for the automation of complex discovery and vulnerability assessment workflows, delivering superior results that exceed what specialized tools can offer. Our hyper-scalable workflow execution model ensures that as your organization grows, Trickest scales with you, maintaining a vigilant watch over your expanding digital territory and securing it against potential threats.


A cyber pank lock in the computer machine shinning

The importance of IT asset discovery in Attack Surface Monitoring (ASM) cannot be overstated in today's digital-first world. As organizations expand their digital footprints through cloud adoption, remote work, and integrating new technologies, the complexity of managing and securing their digital assets increases accordingly. IT Asset discovery is the cornerstone of effective ASM, providing the essential visibility and insights needed to safeguard these assets against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Discover how Trickest can revolutionize your IT asset discovery and secure your organization's digital future by registering to our platform today.


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