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Digital transformation and a growing business mean a growing number of points of access into your network. Having more devices, using more applications and expanding your IT infrastructure to handle larger workloads can create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can — and will — exploit.

Keeping an up-to-date inventory of all the devices and applications you have on your network is essential to minimizing this risk. After all, if you don’t know what your network includes, how will you know what to protect?

How Well Do You Know Your Network Inventory?

If you’re unaware of a device or an application living on your network, a bad actor could leverage that weak point to gain access to the rest of your network — say, with something as simple as plugging a device into an old server in an obscure wiring closet. Because you can’t actively monitor parts of your infrastructure you don’t know about, this could go unnoticed, allowing the actor unchecked network access. Similarly, if you’re unaware of what applications are in use, you may miss a crucial security patch that could allow a cybercriminal to gain access.

In contrast, by having an accurate inventory of your network, it becomes measurably easier to separate the important events from the background noise. For example, someone accessing an application from an unusual IP address would be important to note. But if you don’t know that application is operating at all, you might not realize there’s a problem until something drastic happens, like your customer data gets leaked.

Keeping an up-to-date network inventory should be the basis on which you build your security framework. You need to know what you’re protecting before you can mount a defense.

Getting a Handle on Your Network Inventory

Security products or solutions you’ve purchased, like antivirus software, might seem to have you covered. But are you sure that these solutions sufficiently protect your network if you don’t know what’s on it? For example, how would anti-virus software defend against a bad actor exploiting a networked multi-function printer/copier, your networked security cameras, or any of the other non-PC devices that now make home on your trusted network?

Fortunately, there are systems and applications that can be used to scan your network and automate inventory collection. From there, you can proceed with building a more secure system, as you’ll know more specifically what you need to protect and can identify threats faster.

Some businesses choose to work with an IT consultant when building or monitoring their network inventory. They can help identify solutions and best practices for ongoing monitoring so that you can keep an up-to-date log as your company grows and evolves.

How Well Does Your Security Stack Up?

Keeping a network inventory is a good start, but it’s just one of several ways that you can get a better handle on your security and build a stronger foundation. To help you gauge where you stand, LA Networks has put together a short self-assessment that you can take to identify areas for improvement, including criteria assessing your methods for keeping an up-to-date inventory.

Security threats continue to evolve, so it’s important to have the right foundation in place now to be able to quickly adapt to new risks as they arise. Take the self-assessment now to see how your security foundation stacks up, and our team of expert engineers can help you take steps to shore up your foundation.

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