How to Build Your Cloud Asset Inventory

The sum of data stored in the cloud worldwide is a lot more than you might estimate. According to a study, there will be over 100 zettabytes of data stored in the cloud by 2025. A zettabyte is a billion terabytes. It is simply a lot. When we look from an enterprise perspective, modern companies rely heavily on cloud computing to drive their businesses, store data, run applications, and many more operations. 

Cloud adoption has undoubtedly brought forward innovation, but the flip side is that companies now experience an inventory problem. The monumental amount of assets in your cloud naturally makes it harder to track and even to know what you own. 

This article provides a brief overview of a cloud asset inventory, how it can help businesses achieve visibility and control cloud resources, and how to create a cloud asset inventory. Let’s dive in!

What is an asset?

A cloud asset, in particular, can be something like a security key, database, or IP address. Third-party cloud services such as workplace communication tools like Slack or even Git repositories like GitHub are also considered assets. Therefore, a cloud asset inventory consists of many discrete resources from your cloud stack. 

What is a cloud asset inventory?

A cloud asset inventory is like a database where an organization can list, view, and monitor its cloud-based assets, making them easier to manage and secure. IT used to control cloud assets, but today, developers have liberal permissions to create and configure cloud resources. Yet, this is not the only thing companies have adopted to increase productivity. 

what is a cloud asset inventory

With Continuous Integration (CI) and infrastructure-as-code (IaC), development teams have been able to accelerate deployment processes. These, in return, add up to hundreds of thousands of cloud resources, bearing a critical visibility challenge along the way.

Note: Cloud asset inventory goes hand-in-hand with cybersecurity asset management.

Why cloud asset inventory is a necessity

Cloud providers are fueling their growth by continuously launching new services. For example, the market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers over 200 fully featured services. It might seem like a not-so-much, but when you face the SKUs for each service, it starts to feel like a lot. Then, you have EC2, which has over 475 instance types, S3 buckets, and an ongoing list of other resources.  

cloud computing visual

Since the nature of technology is only going forwards, cloud providers continue adding new services and functions. It also applies to other popular CSPs like Azure and Google Cloud Platform. As a result, with every new function and service added, it becomes easy to lose track of your assets, their configurations, and how they relate to each other. 

Suggested reading: fwd:cloudsec and AWS re:inforce 2022 recap.

How to create a cloud asset inventory for free

Cloud asset inventory is a process of keeping track of all the cloud assets that an organization has. It can be done manually or through the use of software to track and record these assets. It lists all the data, applications, and other assets stored in the cloud. 

A good way to start this process is by identifying which applications you use regularly and then going from there. Resmo provides an easy method of consolidating your entire cyber assets in one place, allowing you to query, monitor, track, and secure them. 

Whether you need to create a:

  • Google cloud asset inventory
  • AWS cloud asset inventory
  • Azure cloud asset inventory
  • GitHub cloud asset inventory
  • Or other SaaS cloud asset inventories

Resmo will help you build an organized and always up-to-date cloud asset inventory with one-click integrations. Let’s walk you through the “how” part of it.

Creating a cloud asset inventory with Resmo

Step 1: Sign in or sign up to Resmo.

Step 2: Navigate to the Integrations page to create your first integration.

resmo integrations screen

Step 3: Integrate with your cloud services or SaaS tools to create your asset inventory.

Step 4: On your Resmo account, go to the Resources page. 

  • Once you complete your integration process, Resmo will start regular polling to aggregate your assets in a unified view. 
  • The resources page allows you to monitor your cloud asset inventory, resource summary, compliance status, and risk score (if applicable). 
cloud asset inventory

Step 5: To see a resource in detail, click on it. Resource detail pages contain Summary, JSON, Compliance, Changes, and Relations tabs.

EC2 instance change monitoring

Types of resources data you’ll be able to track:

  • Relations and context between complex assets
  • Detailed user information
  • Resource change information, including the change actor
  • Every detail of your cloud and SaaS assets and their configurations (i.e., EC2 instances, S3 buckets, IP addresses, devices)
  • Compliance status and risk score of resources
  • And more
contextual asset inventory map

Benefits of having a cloud asset inventory

With a proper cloud asset inventory in place, companies can comprehensively view all the assets stored in the cloud. It also includes information about the type of asset, where it is stored, and who has access to it.

1. Brings visibility

Cloud assets tend to get tangled and difficult to track due to their dynamic nature. They are continuously being created, modified, and deleted, one after another. So much so that you no longer know what resources exist in your cloud, let alone their configurations or relations with each other.

According to a recent study, 46% of organizations consider visibility a major challenge when working in multi-cloud environments. 

Visibility has become even more challenging with the multi-cloud and increasing number of SaaS applications used. Moreover, considering the shared responsibility model of cloud service providers and SaaS tools, you should implement proper asset management, vulnerability management, and incident response plan. Plus, staying in the dark and pushing things under the rug is never a get-away-with situation for cloud security. 

How cloud asset inventory helps:

  • Collects all assets across all your accounts in one place
  • Provides complete visibility 
  • Helps to find a specific resource you are looking for

2. Streamlines tracking changes

Would you rather control thousands of resources individually or collect and review them all in one place? Instead of manually going through all assets one by one, which seems near impossible, tracking changes on a cloud asset inventory enhances team productivity and minimizes error margin.

3. Helps prioritize security actions

Apart from these benefits, cloud asset inventory can support a variety of use cases:

  • Engineering teams can detect and get rid of unused resources.
  • Security teams can identify vulnerabilities and cyber asset attack surfaces
  • DevOps and DevSecOps can monitor and query resources and resource changes.

Ready to take control of what you own on the cloud?

A centralized cloud asset inventory is a must for organizations looking for complete control and visibility over their entire cyber asset landscape. It also helps tackle challenges that come with the cloud, including visibility, monitoring, and continuous security. If these sound like you, you can start using Resmo today with the free trial or free plan option. 

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