Integrated ITAM: The missing layer of cyber security

Learn about the crucial role of integrated IT asset management in any effective cyber security strategy.

A version of this content was first presented by Milorad Doljanin, Co-Founder of Setyl, on stage at the National Cyber Security Show 2024.

When integrated into your tech stack, an IT asset management (ITAM) solution provides your organization with a solid foundation for mitigating risks and safeguarding critical assets.

In this article, we cover the impact that an integrated ITAM solution can have on the security profile of any organization, including risk reduction, compliance management, audit preparedness and security incident response.

What is an integrated ITAM solution?

An integrated IT asset management (ITAM) solution connects to all your relevant tools — from core company systems such as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, to MDM, RMM, IAM, SSO and IDP tools, and even accounting and HR packages.

These integrations make it possible for all relevant IT information to be combined into one ITAM system, giving you complete visibility over IT in one place and creating a centralized source of truth. 

The role of integrated ITAM in cyber security

Effective IT asset management (ITAM) provides a solid foundation on which to build your cyber security strategy. An integrated ITAM solution helps you and your team to:

  1. Gain visibility over what you’re trying to secure  
  2. Take control of your IT landscape and mitigate risks 
  3. Respond quickly to security incidents
  4. Meet compliance and audit requirements
  5. Scale with confidence

1. Gain visibility over what you’re trying to secure  

Having complete visibility over your IT is the foundation of your overall security landscape. You first need to understand what’s in your inventory, before you can take steps to secure it.

Indeed, ITAM teams believe that lack of visibility of IT assets is one of the greatest limitations that organizations face in achieving better alignment with their IT security teams.

An integrated and complete ITAM solution enables you to get an overview of all your data in one centralized system, from cradle to grave — and beyond. 

MDM and RMM integrations deliver device information. SSO, IAM, IDP and SAML connections provide license details and user activity, including for shadow IT. Integrations with accounting packages give insights into actual IT transactions. And integrating your HR package ensures accurate employee data, including organization structure and join and leave dates.

You then enrich this data in your ITAM platform with contextual information, such as spend and contract agreements, vendor audits and administrative responsibilities. You can also add supplementary data such as peripheral devices, service contracts, domain registrations, documents and more. 

This means no more spreadsheets to keep track of peripherals and other assets, no more storing of scanned Acceptable Use Policies in shared folders, and no more trying in vain to accurately maintain duplicate sets of data. 

By combining all this information into one platform, you not only ensure that all data is easy to access at a moment’s notice, but also that it stays within the organization even in the event of staff turnover.

2. Take control of your IT landscape and mitigate risks 

Once you have a comprehensive view of every element within your IT infrastructure, you can start to focus on risk reduction.

Your ITAM can now alert you to missing information for each of your assets and licenses, which you can update to reduce the likelihood of security incidents and data breaches. 

With the accounting integration in place, you can get notified about discrepancies between your expected IT spend, and actual transactions pulled from your accounting package. For example, you will receive alerts when someone commits the organization to a new service which has not yet been registered within the ITAM platform.

You will also receive a notification when a leaving date is recorded against an employee in your HR tool, so you can process the list of assets, licenses and even admin rights which need to be retrieved from them. 

Even seemingly small details, such as knowing which licenses a leaver was the admin of, can save weeks of administrative burden if caught before their departure from your organization. 

3. Respond quickly to security incidents

In the event that a security vulnerability or incident is identified, the best thing you can do is to respond quickly. 

Your integrated ITAM solution plays a crucial role in incident response by giving you real-time visibility into affected assets and accurate knowledge of configuration parameters. This helps you to quickly contain incidents and implement remediation measures.

Physical labels for lost asset recovery

Another often overlooked aspect of cyber security and risk reduction are physical asset labels

When an asset is lost or stolen, cyber security guidelines mandate immediate blocking of the asset from the network. However, this results in the lost asset becoming untraceable, all while you can’t be sure of the status of your corporate and personal data. 

It is always preferable to recover physical assets, regardless of how confident you are of your ability to remotely wipe assets. An integrated asset labeling strategy can provide just that outcome.

Implementing asset labels with QR codes provides a means for the initial finder to return the asset, drastically improving the chance of asset recovery and reducing that of the asset falling into the wrong hands. 

For example, when someone finds an asset which has been registered with a Setyl Asset Label they are asked to enter their contact details. These details are passed to the asset owner, who can now contact the finder of the asset without releasing their personal or corporate identity.

4. Meet compliance and audit requirements

Integrated ITAM solutions enable you to build and maintain a comprehensive information asset register, which is essential for passing your ISO 27001, SOC 2, Cyber Essentials and more audits.

Additional ITAM features that help you comply with regulatory requirements include full lifecycle audit logs, vendor due diligence questionnaires, dedicated asset archiving workflows, and demonstrable asset tracking processes.

These capabilities ensure that ITAM solutions pay for themselves, by reducing the risk of non-compliance, avoiding costly penalties and saving time spent on audits.

5. Scale with confidence

A solid integrated ITAM solution not only supports your growth, but also allows you to respond to market changes with confidence. 

When there is a need to make cuts, there is no point moving to a cheaper solution if that move exposes you to vulnerabilities, at a time when you can least afford them.

Likewise, when scaling up, you need a clear understanding of the costs you’ll be exposed to, which, aside from employee remuneration, the spend on IT is often the largest element. An integrated ITAM can provide clarity of spend on assets and licenses for each employee, and this can be rolled up to departments, locations and legal entities. 

Challenges of ITAM solutions

With this growth in the relevance of IT asset management (ITAM) solutions, a number of problems have emerged:

  1. Complexity: Some ITAM “all-in-one” solutions are so complex that they can become constraints rather than enablers, requiring lengthy training sessions and drawn-out bespoke integrations.
  2. Silos: Tools which do not provide roles for other functions can lead to IT departments becoming more siloed, preventing IT asset management from becoming a cross-function responsibility.
  3. Availability: In addition, these solutions tend to target big corporates with big budgets, leaving few suitable options for mid-size and smaller organizations. 

This is where Setyl comes in.

The Setyl IT asset and license management platform offers an integrated ITAM solution designed for collaboration across your organization. Benefits include:

  • Out-of-the-box integrations with most network discovery tools on the market, allowing you to choose the best tools for your organization.
  • Modern, intuitive interface requiring limited training, making it easy to use and to collaborate with people across your organization.
  • Affordable for organizations of all sizes.
  • Complete solution, from IT inventory to document repository, asset lifecycle management, spend management, employee audit surveys, actionable insights, integrated asset labels and more. So you can finally retire all those spreadsheets and rely solely on Setyl for comprehensive management of your organization’s IT.
“It’s been fantastic to gain this visibility over all our IT assets, SaaS applications and people in one place [with Setyl]. I now have peace of mind knowing that the information is readily available whenever needed, including for compliance and audit purposes.
Jamal Issouquaein
IT Engineer at Banked - Read the full case study

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