II.C.5     Inventory and Classification of Assets

Action Summary

Management should inventory and classify assets, including hardware, software, information, and connections.

Management should maintain and keep updated an inventory of technology assets that classifies the sensitivity and criticality of those assets, including hardware, software, information, and connections. Management should have policies to govern the inventory and classification of assets both at inception and throughout their life cycle, and wherever the assets are stored, transmitted, or processed. Inventories enable management and staff to identify assets and their functions. Classification enables the institution to determine the sensitivity and criticality of assets. Management should use this classification to implement controls required to safeguard the institution's physical and information assets. Additionally, management can use the inventory to discover specific vulnerabilities, such as unauthorized software.

Inventories are important for management to identify assets that require additional protection, such as those that store, transmit, or process sensitive customer information, trade secrets, or other information or assets that could be a target of cyber criminals. Knowing what information assets the institution has and where they are stored, transmitted, or processed helps management comply with federal and state laws and regulations regarding privacy and security of sensitive customer information.

After inventorying the assets, management should classify the information according to the appropriate level of protection needed. For example, systems containing sensitive customer information may require access controls based on job responsibilities. These systems should have stronger controls than systems containing information meant for the general public. Some institutions classify information as public, non-public, or institution-confidential, while others use the classifications high, moderate, and low. Additional classifications, such as critical and noncritical, may be helpful to certain types of institutions.


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