As companies step up their embrace of technology frameworks such as cloud computing and digital transformation initiatives, their IT security ecosystem is becoming more and more strained. From a cyber security standpoint, larger attack surfaces are stemming from more distributed networks and more IT assets being deployed like remote work and IoT. Networks are growing so fast and with so much complexity that it’s extremely difficult for IT security professionals to stay ahead of the curve.
Cyber Teams Are Overworked and Understaffed
To make matters worse, security teams are becoming overworked and understaffed. Research shows a number of key challenges organizations now face:
- Security teams are now responsible for more than 165,000 cyber assets on average, including cloud and datacenter workloads, end user devices, applications, and a never-ending stream of data assets.
- Cyber teams are asked to navigate a backlog of over 120,000 security findings on average.
- The average organization has an incredible device-to-employee ratio of 110:1, with teams managing more than 32,000 devices.
Cyber security teams are in short supply (and very high demand), and that’s creating a fundamental need for cyber asset management. What does it mean? Organizations increasingly need a thorough inventory of IT and internet-facing assets so that CISOs can adequately track, monitor, and protect distributed networks and every device in them.
Cyber Asset Management Problems Can Arise Anywhere
In spite of rapid hiring of IT and cyber security professionals, most organizations still experience significant gaps in their understanding of their full IT environment. And that can weaken their ability to deliver a strong cyber security posture. Cyber security incidents related to asset management can arise from anywhere, such as:
- Internet-facing IT services that have not implemented the newest security updates and patches, leaving data and assets vulnerable to cyberattack.
- Poorly configured cloud storage instances that can cause private or sensitive data to be exposed and breached.
- End user accounts that are not disabled when someone leaves the company, allowing unfettered access to the network from an unauthorized individual.
- Servers in a datacenter that are relatively untouched because no one knows what they do, but they could contain network access credentials that hackers can exploit.
How Cyber Asset Management Can Be Deployed
A cyber asset management policy is central to a strong overall cybersecurity posture. It generally encompasses several key processes:
- Gathering Data: collecting data from any source that has detailed information about various cyber assets.
- Correlating Data: putting data together in a way that produces a comprehensive view of what every asset is and what data and applications reside on it.
- Validation: ensuring every asset is meeting compliance with the overall security policy.
- Correction: creating an automated response to assets or devices that deviate from policy.
A good asset management strategy can identify a number of shortcomings, including assets that may be missing an endpoint device; assets not being scanned and monitored properly; cloud instances with too much public access; inadequate incident response procedures; and policy enforcement that does not sufficiently remediate an issue.
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Cyber Skills Are the Key to Protecting Cyber Assets
With so much to protect across the IT infrastructure it’s critical that every cyber security professional get the advanced training needed to deploy a robust asset management policy. Several certifications are perfect fits to meet these new challenges:
CISSP, or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is considered to be the gold standard in the field of information security. CISSP-certified professionals are highly trained to master all aspects of IT security, including IT architecture, design, management and controls, and importantly, they are qualified to design and deploy an enterprise-wide security protocol that can protect a company’s infrastructure from malicious attack.
The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is trained to govern and control enterprise IT, particularly in performing an effective and efficient security audit on an IT organization. CISA certified professionals are able to identify and assess vulnerabilities and report on compliance and institutional controls, making them critical players in governing IT.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is another key certification for IT professionals who manage, design, oversee and assess enterprise information security. CISM certified individuals must demonstrate a deep understanding of the relationship between information security programs and broader business goals and objectives, so it is considered a strategic certification for people who can lead cyber security teams.
And don’t forget the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Ethical hackers have the opportunity to investigate vulnerabilities in target systems and use the same techniques as malicious hackers, but in a legitimate and legal manner. They learn to assess the security status of network systems and utilize the latest hacking tools, malware codes and other tactics that hackers use.
These are all great skills to have to understand your infrastructure and how you can protect the IT assets that make your company run.