What is Asset Discovery?

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Asset Discovery, an essential part of IT asset management (ITAM), is a systematic approach to identifying and recording an organization’s tangible and intangible IT assets. It integrates various concepts like network scanning, device discovery, network inventory, hardware inventory, software inventory, network mapping, and more to create a comprehensive view of all IT assets within a network.

Note: Struggling to keep track of your organization’s IT assets? Gain a clear view of all your IT assets, from hardware to software, and ensure easy compliance using Torii’s SaaS Management Platform.

What happens when these IT assets are not accurately accounted for?

The inability to perform effective asset discovery can result in several issues, ranging from poor inventory management and inefficient asset tracking to a lack of network visibility. Without proper asset discovery, it’s like trying to navigate a ship with a blurry map. The chances of hitting an unforeseen iceberg are terrifyingly high.

Network Scanning: Network scanning, for instance, plays a crucial role in asset discovery by identifying the types, properties, and characteristics of devices connected to the network.

Device Discovery and Network Inventory: Similarly, other processes, such as device discovery and network inventory, provide essential insights into the assets’ details, such as their location, performance metrics, and role within the network.

Inventory and Asset Management: The collected information from asset discovery enables ITAM to perform functions such as inventory management, asset tagging, asset monitoring, and security asset management. The power of this process even extends to cloud asset discovery, maintaining visibility of assets stored or operating in a cloud-based environment.

Vulnerability Assessment: Additionally, finding hidden or overlooked assets via asset discovery can be critical to practical vulnerability assessment, configuration management, and enhancing the overall network visibility, which are all essential steps needed to secure an IT infrastructure.

In conclusion, Asset Discovery is the fundamental base of effective IT asset management by facilitating efficient inventory management, thorough asset tracking, endpoint discovery, and more. Without it, the vulnerability of a network to security threats increases while the capacity to manage and leverage IT assets effectively decreases.

Examples of Asset Discovery


Microsoft uses asset discovery in its System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). In their infrastructure, SCCM scans the network for IT assets, automatically identifying, categorizing, and tracking them. This includes everything from hardware and software specifications of PCs and servers to installed programs and system configurations.

JPMorgan Chase
In the banking sector, JPMorgan Chase uses an application called Application Portfolio Management (APM) for asset discovery. APM automatically scans their entire IT infrastructure, detecting any connected device, whether physical or virtual. This allows them to keep track of all their IT assets, helping them manage licensing, maintain compliance, and improve capacity planning.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) uses asset discovery to help organizations understand what resources they have in their GCP environment. Their Cloud Asset Inventory service provides real-time inventory and visibility into their cloud resources, tracking each asset’s lifecycle. This includes discovering project metadata, VM instances, storage buckets, and database services on their platform.

Best Practices for Asset Discovery

Asset discovery is the backbone of efficient IT asset management—it fuels better inventory management, enhances network visibility, and optimizes security asset management. The journey towards a robust asset discovery process begins with a few critical steps.

Initiate Network Scanning

Initiate network scanning to get a comprehensive overview of your network inventory. Logically categorizing and identifying each device—whether hardwareware—contributes to meticulous hardware inventory and software inventory management.

Adopt an Asset Tagging System

It’s a foolproof way to discourage Shadow IT while simplifying network auditing. By attaching unique identifiers, you gain reliable asset-tracking capabilities. With Torii SaaS Management Platform, this becomes a straightforward task. The platform allows for automated detection and tagging of every IT asset, reducing manual mistakes.

Regularly Perform Device Discovery

Regular checkups ensure no unauthorized devices infiltrate your network. They also help you measure the health and performance of your existing IT assets. Ensure you involve cloud asset discovery for an inclusive survey of your IT resources.

Adopt Configuration Management Practices

This involves documenting your network mapping, tracking changes, and logging every vital detail. This method ensures a fast recovery in case of a system crash or unauthorized modification.

Use Reliable Management Tools

Use the Torii platform for its enhanced asset monitoring tools. It not only keeps a tab on user activities but can also automate SaaS operations like onboarding/offboarding, optimize SaaS licenses, and provide a clear view of SaaS expenditures.

Carry Out Vulnerability Assessments

Finally, carry out consistent vulnerability assessments. These tests keep your systems robust and secure. By exposing any weak, exploitable points in your network, they maintain the integrity and security of your IT asset landscape.

All these steps together, managed systematically, improve endpoint discovery, making IT operations more streamlined, secure, and efficient.

By combining standard practices with resourceful tools like Torii, IT managers can optimize their IT asset discovery process, rendering an error-free workflow, maximizing productivity, and superior control over their IT landscape.

Related Tools for Asset Discovery

  • Torii: A cloud-based SaaS management platform facilitating oversight and optimization of software usage and expenditures.
  • NinjaRMM: An IT asset management tool designed to monitor, manage, and optimize endpoints and network infrastructure.
  • Auvik: A network management platform offering visibility and automation for IT infrastructure, mainly focused on network devices and configurations.
  • SolarWinds MSP: A comprehensive IT management platform providing tools for monitoring, managing, and securing IT environments, particularly tailored for managed service providers.
  • Lansweeper: A comprehensive asset discovery solution that scans networks to identify and manage hardware, software, and users.
  • Nmap: A powerful open-source network scanning tool for discovering hosts and services on a computer network, thus aiding in security assessments and network inventory.
  • Qualys: A cloud-based security and compliance platform offering vulnerability management, threat protection, and asset discovery services.
  • Open-AudIT: An open-source network auditing application providing comprehensive asset discovery, inventory management, and configuration auditing capabilities.
  • Spiceworks: An IT management software suite offering network monitoring, help desk ticketing, inventory management, and community support forums for IT professionals.
  • Alloy Navigator: An IT service and asset management platform enabling organizations to manage IT infrastructure, services, and assets effectively.
  • ServiceNow ITOM: ServiceNow’s IT Operations Management (ITOM) suite provides tools for discovering, mapping, and managing IT infrastructure and services across hybrid environments.
  • BMC Discovery: An IT asset discovery and dependency mapping tool enabling organizations to gain visibility into their IT infrastructure, dependencies, and relationships for better management and optimization.

Related Concepts in Asset Discovery

  • Network scanning: The process of using software to identify and gather information about devices connected to a network.
  • Inventory management: The practice of tracking and maintaining a record of all assets within an organization, including hardware and software.
  • Asset tracking: Involves using tools and technology to monitor and manage the lifecycle of physical assets, such as computers and mobile devices.
  • Device discovery: Refers to the identification and recognition of new devices on a network, allowing for their integration into existing systems.
  • Network Inventory: A comprehensive list of all devices, software, and configurations on a network, providing a detailed view of the IT infrastructure.
  • IT asset management: Systematically managing an organization’s IT assets throughout their lifecycle, from procurement to disposal.
  • Network mapping: the process of visualizing and documenting the layout and connections of devices and resources within a network.
  • Asset inventory: Refers to the complete cataloging of an organization’s physical and virtual assets for tracking and management purposes.
  • Hardware inventory: A comprehensive record of an organization’s physical computer equipment and other hardware assets.
  • Software inventory: A detailed record of all software applications, licenses, and versions used within an organization.
  • Network auditing: The systematic examination and evaluation of a network’s security, performance, and compliance.
  • Asset tagging: Involves using physical labels or digital identifiers to identify and track assets uniquely.
  • Asset monitoring: Ongoing process of observing and tracking asset performance, health, and usage to ensure optimal functionality and security.
  • Security asset management: Encompasses the practices and tools used to secure and protect the organization’s assets from potential threats.
  • Cloud asset discovery: Identifying and cataloging all assets and resources within a cloud computing environment.
  • Endpoint discovery: Involves the identification and cataloging of all network-connected endpoints, such as computers, mobile devices, and IoT devices.
  • Vulnerability assessment: Identifying and evaluating vulnerabilities and weaknesses within an organization’s IT infrastructure.
  • Network visibility: Refers to gaining a comprehensive view of the network, including its devices, traffic, and security posture.
  • Configuration management: Involves tracking and managing the various configurations and settings of assets to ensure consistency and compliance.

FAQs: Asset Discovery

Q: What is asset discovery?

A: Asset discovery identifies and cataloging all the devices and software assets connected to a network.

Q: Why is asset discovery important?

A: Asset discovery is essential because it helps organizations understand what devices and software they have on their network, which is crucial for security management and compliance.

Q: How does asset discovery work?

A: Asset discovery works by using various scanning techniques to detect and gather information about devices and software on a network. This can include IP scanning, SNMP queries, and network protocols.

Q: What are the benefits of asset discovery?

A: The benefits of asset discovery include improved security by identifying potential vulnerabilities, better network management, and increased software and hardware asset tracking efficiency.

Q: What tools are used for asset discovery?

A: Some commonly used tools for asset discovery include network scanners, vulnerability scanners, and asset management systems.

Q: Can asset discovery be automated?

A: Yes, asset discovery can be automated by using specialized software that continuously scans the network for new devices and software assets.

Q: Is asset discovery limited to just network devices?

A: No, asset discovery can extend beyond network devices and cover software assets, such as installed applications, licenses, and configurations.

Q: How often should asset discovery be conducted?

A: Asset discovery should be conducted regularly, ideally on an ongoing basis, to ensure accurate and up-to-date information about devices and software assets on the network.

Q: What challenges can be encountered during asset discovery?

A: Challenges during asset discovery can include identifying and discovering devices in complex network environments, dealing with remote or offline devices, and distinguishing between authorized and unauthorized assets.

Q: How does asset discovery relate to asset management?

A: Asset discovery is critical to asset management, providing the foundational data needed to manage and track assets effectively.

Q: Is asset discovery only relevant for large organizations?

A: No, asset discovery is relevant for organizations of all sizes as it helps maintain security, compliance, and overall network management, regardless of scale.

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