ITAM vs CSAM: which is better for your business?

Every organization needs a good asset management program. This is true whether the organization is a small business, an education institution or a large enterprise. The reality is that without such a program, organizations cannot function properly and are vulnerable to security threats that can lead to data breaches and other serious problems.

IT Asset Management and Cybersecurity Asset Management are two distinct – but related – methodologies. While they share key similarities (and there is some overlap), they also differ in significant ways.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is an important part of every IT organization

ITAM programs typically include tracking inventory, software licenses and maintenance costs, warranties, configuration management, and compliance obligations.

The goal of IT Asset Management (ITAM) is to maximize the value of your organization’s information technology assets by making sure they are available when you need them, at a reasonable cost to your organization. The most common way that organizations find themselves in trouble with their IT assets is through ineffective change control processes or lack of oversight on their hardware and software purchases. 

It’s not uncommon for companies to have unused licenses floating around after a merger or acquisition because no one thought about how those would affect them during the negotiation process. In addition, many businesses don’t know how much it costs for downtime caused by outages or other incidents related directly back to their bottom line.

Organizations cannot function unless they can rely on their IT systems being up and running.

The importance of IT assets to your organization can be summarized by the fact that you cannot function as a business without them. Without your IT systems, you wouldn’t be able to process transactions, send emails, manage customer relationships, or even provide employees with the tools they need to do their jobs. In essence, every single aspect of your organization’s operations depends on its ability to rely on these systems being up and running every day. This means that cybersecurity threats also pose a threat to the very existence of your business.

With this in mind it’s easy to see why organizations should take steps towards ensuring that their systems remain secure. However it’s not enough just knowing how important security is—it’s also important for them to know where best to place their resources so as not to squander funds or resources on unnecessary technical solutions which don’t actually solve any problems (or worse yet create more problems).

Like all other assets, IT assets need to be managed for this to happen.

While cybersecurity is an integral part of IT asset management, it is not the only aspect and should not be considered a standalone function within the context of ITAM.

Managing devices includes managing the entire lifecycle of assets

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a process that helps organizations better manage their IT assets. 

ITAM helps organizations save money by reducing the cost of ownership of IT assets. For example, if you’re using an older device that requires frequent maintenance and updates to keep it functioning properly, this is costing you money in terms of both time and money. By updating or replacing aging devices with newer ones, you can reduce costs while also improving productivity overall by reducing downtime and allowing employees to focus on more important tasks instead of troubleshooting old equipment all day long!

ITAM also helps organizations reduce risks related to data breaches by tracking and managing the use of their devices – all without needing expensive software programs. This means less hassle for everyone involved because now we know exactly what kind of information has been accessed by whom when using which computing device at any given point in time.

Let’s find out what ITAM programs include

ITAM programs typically include tracking inventory, software licenses and maintenance costs, warranties, configuration management, and compliance obligations.

In addition to the initial costs of setting up an ITAM program, annual maintenance is required to keep the system operational. This entails updating databases with new products as they are purchased, reviewing bills for accuracy, keeping track of software license usage, accounting for warranty coverage on purchased assets, determining if an asset needs to be replaced or updated, etc.

This can be costly depending on how many assets are being tracked. However, it’s important to note that not all organizations will have the same needs when it comes to IT Asset Management (ITAM). For example: If you have a small office with only a few computers then your needs may vary greatly from those of a large corporation with thousands of devices across multiple locations around the world.

Read: Asset management vs configuration management

Cybersecurity asset management elevates ITAM to the next level

Cybersecurity Asset Management (CSAM) augments ITAM by identifying which assets are connected to a network, where they are located, what they are doing, who has access to them and what data they can access. CSAM is the superset of both ITAM and Vulnerability Management (VM).

The key difference between VM and CSAM is that CSAM also identifies how an asset can be attacked or compromised by hackers or other malicious actors. If a company has been hacked before or if it wants to better understand its cybersecurity risk profile in general, then it should invest in CSAM as well as VM.

CSAM provides a detailed inventory of all assets connected to an organization’s network including computers, servers, printers, and IoT devices. The CSAM inventory can be used by cybersecurity professionals to identify what assets are being targeted by hackers as part of an attack. For example, if a hacker is targeting the company’s email server then this device would appear on their CSAM inventory list.

In contrast to ITAM, CSAM does not require any hardware or software changes in order for it to work properly. This is because CSAM relies on data collected from existing network infrastructure components such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls which already exist within most organizations’ IT environments.

Read more about Virima Cybersecurity Asset Management Software

Once these assets are discovered, their presence is verified by attempting to connect with them via one or more of the available ports on each device. This is a critical step in identifying whether a given asset has been compromised and may not be used as expected. If you want to know whether your IoT devices have been tampered with, you need to verify that they’re present and functioning correctly. An attacker could easily modify your system without leaving any obvious signs of tampering so it’s important for security personnel to have an independent way of verifying that all IoT devices are present and functional before allowing them access.

Verifying the identity of each device is also important because some organizations don’t realize that entering an incorrect password multiple times can leave behind evidence showing exactly which passwords were tried (e.g., if someone enters “password” repeatedly). By sending multiple requests for authentication (at least three), CSAM can help ensure that only authorized people are accessing the network through their devices.

Automated tools then scan these discovered devices for any known vulnerabilities on the asset that may put it at risk of future attack. This is recorded in a dashboard format and presented to you so you can see which assets are at risk, what the risk level is and when it was last scanned.

Read: Detecting cybersecurity threats with IT discovery

ITAM vs CSAM: Which is a better investment?

Most experts consider CSAM to be a better investment than ITAM. CSAM provides a detailed inventory of all assets connected to an organization’s network, so it can identify risks and vulnerabilities before they become problems. This means that CSAM will be able to help organizations prevent attacks before they happen, while ITAM only identifies vulnerabilities after an attack has happened.

Many cybersecurity experts believe that IT asset management (ITAM) tools do not provide enough protection against cyber attacks because they only account for software licenses, which are often stolen by hackers in order to create malware or ransomware when combined with other stolen data from another source like a database server or cloud storage account where sensitive information about employees may also reside.

But the present dynamic IT environment cannot survive just with a simple CSAM or ITAM solution. It needs the best of both worlds to keep organizations safe from all kinds of attacks. But before we get into that discussion, let us take a closer look at both.

ITAM vs CSAM – Similarities

ITAM vs CSAM – Similarities
1. The first step to a successful IT Asset Management and Cybersecurity Asset Management program is the same: gaining an up-to-date asset inventory. Without this, you can’t identify inefficiencies, determine how many licenses you need or evaluate whether you have the right cybersecurity protection.
2. Both ITAM and CSAM programs accurately project and plan future IT costs. This allows for budgeting with confidence. Both programs can be integrated into your existing budgets, with the benefit of being able to make strategic decisions based on accurate data. Each offers the ability to scale according to a company’s needs, including the ability to add custom fields and sub-categories according to need.
3. Both rely on configuration management databases (CMDBs) to track assets. A single source of truth is necessary to track all assets and ensure that they are identified, inventoried and properly managed.
4. Both aim to define, classify and track the inventory of technology assets throughout an organization’s lifecycle.

ITAM vs CSAM – Differences

ITAM vs CSAM – Differences
Security teams need to go further than just managing an asset inventory. They need to create an inventory with rich and correlated data from sources that know about each asset – including cloud, virtual and IoT assets which are often unaccounted for in ITAM.Many companies are turning to cybersecurity asset management solutions to meet the growing demand for accountable IT. CSAM solutions provide a more comprehensive list of assets as well as rich, correlated data that can be used for compliance and incident response. This in-depth data helps improve prioritization and triage, which can lead to faster security response and better detection of threats.
ITAM is generally thought of as an umbrella term that encompasses all aspects of asset management.CSAM is a specialized subset of ITAM that focuses on keeping an organization secure from external threats. 
Organizations have many unknown zones, meaning areas where there’s little to no asset management or areas where traditional ITAM doesn’t reach. They are also missing valuable data on their existing assets, which leaves them vulnerable while they are connected to their corporate network and internet.The objective of the cybersecurity project is to create a proactive security process that begins with establishing a baseline of existing cyber assets, followed by a more robust posture of identifying current and future vulnerabilities and understanding how they can be mitigated.

Stay ahead of all kinds of IT threats with Virima

The key takeaway from this discussion is that both ITAM and CSAM are critical programs for any organization to have in place. ITAM ensures that the organization has adequate supplies of the necessary equipment and software needed to operate effectively. CSAM helps mitigate risk by identifying vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by cybercriminals. While neither of these programs alone will protect a company from all possible threats, they do provide a solid foundation on which to build an effective cybersecurity program.

But what if you could have the best of both worlds in a single, all-in-one solution?

Virima’s IT asset management solutions provide a holistic and integrated approach to vulnerability management, asset discovery, and compliance auditing. As part of this strategy, the Virima ITAM solution goes much further when paired with Virima Discovery, automated CMDB, and ViVID Service Mapping.

Whether you’re an IT Service Management (ITSM) admin, security analyst or developer, Virima IT Asset Management is a solution that makes it easy for you to manage your assets. No matter how big or small your company is or what industry it’s in, Virima makes it easy to identify at-risk devices on your network before they become a problem. Virima’s ITAM software is built from the ground up to integrate with cybersecurity tools, making it easy for your entire organization to work together towards a smart IT infrastructure.

Our IT Asset Management (ITAM) solution pools all your data in one place, making it simple to automate managed software assets, licenses and patches across physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Our dynamic IT asset management platform featuring automated Discovery uses a combination of device-level and ownership details along with rich reporting to provide full visibility into your entire software environment.Do all this and more with Virima! Schedule a demo right away to know more about our ITAM, Discovery, automated CMDB, and ViVID Service Mapping solutions.

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