This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.
The effects of the global pandemic pushed organizations to accelerate their digital transformation strategies. Because of this, companies in all industries were faced with an array of new technologies like cloud and containers that support the shift to edge computing and remote workers. With so much focus on these factors, companies often overlook some of the repercussions that come along with such rapid innovations. One of which is the need for a new approach to asset visibility.
Inventory, software support, and license oversight are traditional asset management responsibilities that can be addressed using IT tools. But now many organizations are realizing that the lines between network perimeters have become blurry and asset inventory has become unwieldy and harder to control. A new approach to asset management is required to address the lack of visibility and security risks therein.
What is cybersecurity asset management
Cybersecurity asset management is a process that involves identifying the IT assets such as PCs, servers, IoT devices, and databases that are owned by an organization. Any device or resource that is a part of your organization’s network ecosystem could be subject to vulnerabilities, eventually resulting in a breach of data.
Containerized applications are often used during a cloud migration to ensure the safety of the assets involved. They also come in handy with shared virtual machines and movement within the cloud. But containerization is not enough to ensure that vulnerabilities are not developed over time. Container monitoring is crucial for organizations as the IoT continues to expand.
Continuous real time monitoring of assets and any potential security risks that might affect them is essential. In light of rapid digital transformation 8 in 10 executives are investing in IT infrastructure in order to keep up with evolving customer expectations. Additionally, implementing increased numbers of devices, software, and other tools has highlighted the need for cybersecurity asset management.
Why is cybersecurity asset management important
While many smaller companies might think that data breaches only affect larger enterprises, this is not the case. In fact, 60% of businesses that have experienced a data breach were small businesses. Cybersecurity asset management empowers security teams by providing the visibility that is necessary in order to create comprehensive security strategies.
A proactive approach to cybersecurity asset management ensures that teams can detect vulnerabilities and threats before they become major issues. If an attack does occur, then cybersecurity asset management will be able to provide teams with real-time data and an accurate asset inventory in order to discover the best remediation routes.
Ultimately, the repercussions of not implementing cybersecurity asset management could lead to financial ruin. It's smart for small business owners to have a good insurance plan as financial security in the event that assets are compromised.
Without cybersecurity asset management businesses are at serious risk of falling victim to any number of attacks. And if essential data is held ransom or otherwise made unavailable during a breach, then serious disruptions will occur.
A poor implementation of cybersecurity asset management can be just as harmful to an organization. Without a continuous inventory of IT resources, there is no way for security teams to accurately determine where vulnerabilities may lie or even if an attack is being carried out.
Asset inventory challenges
There process of conducting asset inventory can be cumbersome and time consuming and there are a number of challenges that can cause inaccuracies:
- Increased attack surface - With more IoT comes the potential for larger and more insidious cyber attacks.
- Collecting data across multiple sources - Both cloud and container technologies allow for large amounts of data to exist within multiple sources causing challenges when it comes to locating and securing data.
- Compliance validation - Regulatory frameworks now require organizations to maintain a security architecture that utilizes technologies and standards that remain effective, compliant and auditable.
Let’s not forget the growing knowledge gap. Because of technology’s rapid evolution of the cloud and IoT connectivity, there is a widespread lack of knowledge of the current state of cybersecurity asset management. Fortunately, online technical courses are able to teach students vast amounts of information valuable to today’s IT and cybersecurity asset management implementations.
In fact, enrollment in such courses has increased by 2,000% in the last decade alone. This demonstrates that the industry is growing and the rapid rate of digital transformation has created a significant gap in cybersecurity understanding.
Implementing cybersecurity asset management
When implementing cybersecurity asset management, there are certain qualities that are necessary in order to maintain a complete and continuously updated inventory of IT assets residing on-premises, in the cloud or at mobile endpoints:
- Complete visibility including all hardware and software
- Continuous and automatic updates of security data
- Zero trust authentication model
- Flexible and rapidly scalable without the need to add hardware
- Customizable reporting features
- Flag vulnerabilities according to their threat level
Finally, the most important factor when it comes to implementing cybersecurity asset management is a commitment to cybersecurity. Instead of seeing cybersecurity as a distraction or an additional responsibility, organizations should view cybersecurity as an empowering process that allows full visibility and control of assets.
Implementing cybersecurity asset management as the primary foundation for IT security operations is crucial in today’s connected environment. With applications running in the cloud, employees working remotely, and the expanding IoT, it's becoming increasingly difficult for network administrators to keep track of devices and data.
Moving forward, companies must operate with a security-first mindset in order to reduce the likelihood of costly disruptions. This means successfully implementing cybersecurity asset management in addition to cyber hygiene education and remediation planning. Traditional asset management needs to evolve in order to accommodate a growing IoT environment and replace outdated approaches to cybersecurity.