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Count Your Assets Before They’re Hacked

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Why IT Asset Management should be your #1 priority today

There was a simpler time, not so long ago, when no one really had to worry about securing their operational technology (OT) devices; a time when you could enjoy all the benefits of connectivity and remote access, without the ‘muss and fuss’ of secure passwords or firewalls.

Those days are gone. As Fred Gordy so powerfully writes for FacilitiesNet, “Devices are now in the hacker’s crosshairs.” If that isn’t on your radar, you’re already behind.

I recently wrote about understanding cybersecurity in the context of building automation systems. Cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, but the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework is a fantastic way to break down key security elements.

Of course, each piece in this framework is significant. They all contribute to a safer, cybersecurity environment.

But there’s one that I really want to highlight for you: it’s identifying and tracking your assets.

Why asset management?

Asset management is one of the biggest tasks for cybersecurity. At the end of the day, you can set up all the passwords and firewalls and virus scanners you want. But if you don’t know what’s on your network, you can’t protect it. It’s as simple as that.

Yet so many people I talk to are at a total loss of how to manage their assets. They have out-of-date spreadsheets that no one’s in charge of maintaining. They don’t know how many devices are on their network. And they don’t know where to begin with creating a system to keep track of it all.

How should you start?

You’ll almost certainly go through some trial and error to find a workflow that suits your organization. It won’t happen overnight. The right system is really dependent on the size of your network, criticality of services, how closely the IT and OT departments work together, and so many other factors.