Automated Network Inventory Management – What You Should Know?

May 23, 2024

Do you think cyber threats will ever go off?

Well, not really.

Hence, one has to look into network security. While there are many approaches available out there, the most effective one is – automated network inventory management.

By maintaining a real-time inventory of all devices, software, and configurations – businesses get full visibility into potential vulnerabilities. They can take proactive measures to address them.

Want to know more? Dive into this blog as we explore what are the benefits and techniques of using automated network inventory management for improved security.

What is automated network inventory management?

In simpler words, it is maintaining an accurate and up-to-date inventory of all devices. It includes software and configurations as well on your network.

Now coming to automated network inventory management, over here businesses use software, tools, and technologies to perform the above process automatically. That is, discover, track, and manage the inventory of every device and software.

To be specific – these tools make the most out of the methods like network scanning, SNMP (simple network management protocol), and agent based monitoring. They basically collect data and update the inventory in real-time with the technology stated above.

 

Automated network inventory management process:

Now the whole process of automating the network inventory goes like:

● Scanning networks to find all connected devices (can be servers, switches, routers, firewalls, or endpoints).
● Gathering information about all the IP addresses, MAC addresses, operating systems, installed softwares, or anything else that’s required
● Assigning unique identifiers to each device
● Tracking life cycle of each device like procurement, deployment, maintenance and retirement
● Collecting and storing detailed information about the configurations of network devices and software applications
● The information can be of access controls, settings, firewall rules, or some other relevant configuration parameter that’s there
● Next, comes mapping. One has to map the relationships and dependencies between different devices and software components
● This whole process of mapping will help one understand the impact of changes or failures, if there’s any in the network infrastructure
● And lastly comes monitoring continually. By checking out daily one can look for changes, updates. And new additions.

Some benefits of it that you must know:

 After looking into how the whole automation process looks, it’s time to get into the benefits. Is there any benefit of automated network inventory management? Well, many, but here are the main ones:

Improved network visibility

Network inventory management provides real-time visibility. That means, a business can identify all the connected devices, their configurations, which either way is much complicated.

Proactive risk management

Since the network is monitored continually, proactive identification and mitigation of security risks gets easier. The system quickly detects any changes that have happened in the device configurations.

Quick incident response

Here comes the main part. The software even provides crucial information for quick incident response. It helps in identifying affected devices, assessing the impact, and initiating appropriate remediation measures.

Compliance and auditing

Since over here a business gets detailed reports on device configurations, software versions, and security controls – meeting regulatory compliance requirements happens smoothly.

Streamlined network operations

Business can optimise the resource allocation aspect. They can plan for capacity updates and see to it that the network is performing optimally. The whole system also aids in reducing downtime, hence troubleshooting can be done faster.

 

Cost saving

Manual data entry. We know it’s both tiring and expensive. Also time consuming. But automated inventory management eliminates the need for the same. It reduces the chances of human error, freeing up the whole IT team, so one can focus on strategic activities more.

How it improves network security?

We previously have said that – it helps with network security. Now, let’s understand how:

Vulnerability management

When a business continually monitors and updates its network inventory, the chances of any vulnerabilities happening lower down. Automated systems often compare the inventory data with known vulnerabilities. They provide insights into potential risks. This will basically help the security team to look into the remediation efforts quickly.

Patch management

Next comes patch management. Over Here, the systems help organisations to track the software versions running on their network devices. Then it compares the information with the latest vendor patches and security updates. Later it helps organisations to identify devices that require patching.

Access control and optimisation

When the inventory information is highly accurate and updated, access control and authorisation gets a lot easier. The whole inventory management system provides insights into devices connected to the network. With the information available, businesses further can enforce access policies, detect any unauthorised access, and prevent unwanted access attempts.

Threat detection and response

If the updates are in real-time, businesses can obviously detect and respond to security incidents promptly. It can compare the current inventory with the historical data available. Then (automated systems) can identify the changes in device configurations, if any. This whole process actually reduces the risk of non compliance penalties or any repercussions that may happen.

Network segmentation and isolation

If a business has accurate network inventory data, the network segmentation and isolation process gets easier.

 All in all, the whole implementation aspect of network inventory management requires much planning, and also careful execution. Hence, make sure to first clearly define your objectives and requirements. Then choose a right technology, establish a baseline, and automate the whole data collection part. That’s it. With regular updating and maintaining your system, network inventory management will no more look like a tedious task to you!

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