Five ways Software Asset Management van help minimize security risks

Almost every day, we come across organizations that only look at Software Asset Management (SAM) as some sort of compliance reporting tool, in other words: do you have sufficient licences and do you only pay for your actual usage?

In itself, this is totally understandable, looking at the incompliancy-fees that the large software vendors charge every year.  But did you know that the global spending on security technology is forecast to reach $81.7 Billion in 2017, according to IDC?

Here are the top five ways organizations can use SAM to help minimize security risks.

By Martijn van Tol, Business Unit Manager SAM COMPAREX the Netherlands

 Reading time: 4.55 minutes

1. Software Asset Management = patch management

Patch ManagementThis is the keyword: patch management. WannaCry could perhaps have been prevented if SAM was used to support patch management. My colleague Franz Schildberger wrote about that topic recently.

SAM helps with process optimization (by efficiency) and makes sure that groups of systems are accessible, complete and up-to-date. This becomes more crucial, shown by a recent statistic that less than 25% of organizations are applying the latest security software patches within the first 24 hours of release. Using SAM will result in quicker reactions in the unfortunate event of a threat, resulting in time and cost savings, as well as ensuring all devices on the network are running the required security software.

2. Using inventory to identify malicious items

To effectively maintain a robust security position, having an inventory of all software deployed across the business is a must. Utilizing this information on a regular basis enables the prevention of workers from using unauthorized software and identify any unknown and unapproved software. SAM tools (from Flexera or Snow Software e.g.) also have the capability to maintain and detect blacklist tools; identifying rogue software, which can help reduce vulnerability levels.

The inventory also allows for checks on which computers e.g. no security software has been installed. By securing those computers properly, organization will reduced their risks in the future.

3. Preventing the use of risky applications

With visibility of the software deployed within the business, you can set up your policies. This way, with the insight on installed software, it becomes easier to prevent the use of suspect or malicious applications. Even with stringent usage policies in place for software usage, employees always find a way (especially in these days of portable storage and the large number of mobile devices) to use software of their own choice: Shadow-IT....

Using the information available from the discovery and inventory functionality of a SAM-tool, means companies can disable unacceptable programs. Next, with the right tools and policy, you can ensure that only authorized or selected users can access certain software.

4. Consolidation, rationalization and standardization

SAM tools can identify any redundant or outdated software ensuring that only necessary and required software remains available. By encouraging the rationalization and standardization of the number of unused software titles, organizations enable IT to support and patch fewer applications in a security risk.

5. WHO is using WHAT

SAM tools create an additional level of security for applications by providing a snapshot in real-time of which employees are accessing which programs. In the unfortunate situation that a security breach takes place, SAM functionality enables organizations to examine application usage data. This is essential for identifying when the suspect software was last used and who launched it to help solve the issue quicker.

In other words: the correct implementation of SAM helps to reduce security risks by substantially improve and extend the security tools and processes. Improvements on the protection of data, software and systems, which really reduce the risks.

Would you like more information on Software Asset Management?

If you would like to have more information on Software Asset Management and how its insight can reduce costs, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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Martijn van Tol

Martijn van Tol

Business Unit Manager Microsoft

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