Software Asset Management and Cybersecurity
Proactive software asset management and the security of IT systems
Proactive management of software used in a company through the Software Asset Management system may have a positive impact on the security of the company’s IT systems.
The term “cybersecurity” is well known to all of us. Trying to protect their assets against threats involving the use of technology, companies need to invest in solutions that would improve the security level of their systems and data. Yet, the impact of a proactive Software Asset Management on the security of the company’s IT systems is not common knowledge.
By nature software is faulty and may include some security gaps. For that reason software producers persistently introduce updates, identify and eliminate bugs or add security patches. On the other hand, cybercriminals try to use the identified gaps and vulnerabilities before they get fixed by the producers and updated in an organization. It may be wondered how it is possible that a software vulnerable to cyberattacks has been purchased by a company - was it not updated on time? Is it actually used in the company? Do users install it on their devices and use it within their everyday work? It turns out that often it is much easier and less time-consuming to make use of software flaws than struggle with costly firewalls purchased by the organization.
SAM is nothing else but a set of best practices and processes enabling efficient management of software used in an organization. It primarily focuses on the license aspect but it also provides a comprehensive insight into the IT infrastructure and software, as well as possible threats. Ultimately SAM allows an organization to monitor license compliance, optimize software-related costs and adjust IT investments to business needs.
Does SAM increase security?
SAM is not only about managing license compliance. A well-thought-of and efficient SAM implementation provides a full insight into:
- the number and type of devices used,
- applications installed on those devices,
- software versions used,
- what patches have been installed,
- the end date of software support services rendered by the producer with respect to a given product,
- vulnerabilities related to a specific application
Such a set of information allows companies to identify and counteract any possible threats by retiring unsupported applications, installing updates and patches mitigating the vulnerabilities encountered, retiring applications which have not been approved for internal use. Identifying such risks and taking the right actions leads to a significant increase in the organization’s security level.
SAM tools available on the market not only allow to identify an unsupported software but also indicate applications with concurrent functionalities. Being able to detect similar applications helps reduce their number and highlight the standard established in the organization. Also, standardizing devices with a view to the software used reduces the number of applications that need to be managed, but also simplifies the patch management process in the IT environment.
A substantial majority of organizations have anti-virus tools in place as one of the elements increasing the security of data and IT systems used. SAM processes and tools allow to identify devices with no anti-virus software installed, which may be a source of vulnerability through which a potential break-in may be conducted.
SAM tools available on the market offer the possibility of integrating software with vulnerability management platforms. Putting together the information on the software used in the IT environment with the identified vulnerabilities allows to proactively manage security issues in an organization and take efficient corrective measures.
As presented above the implementation of SAM processes and tools supporting this area may significantly increase IT security.
Software Asset Management as an element used to evaluate cybersecurity of an organization
Taking into account the information resulting from the implementation of SAM while defining the level of security in an organization allows a more comprehensive risk identification and evaluation in this area and faster reaction to the existing threats. Thanks to SAM an organization can:
- identify vulnerabilities of individual applications and systems and related risks,
- increase security in the software assets management area,
- lower costs related to cyberthreats,
- develop a plan aimed at streamlining the existing IT infrastructure through the elimination of identified threats.