Data Asset Monitoring is key to understanding the value of corporate assets and fundamental to cybersecurity risk management. Only when the true value is known can the correct level of security be applied. Most security and IT problems begin with visibility. Overseeing security aspects of the configuration of such resources is the practice of cybersecurity asset management. To address security issues, you must discover the gaps, and to do that you need a comprehensive and reliable inventory of your asset. Therefore, cybersecurity asset management involves:
- Obtaining and continually updating an accurate inventory of all IT resources.
- Discovering security gaps related to the asset’s presence or configuration.
- Enforcing security requirements to rapidly address the identified gaps.
Poor asset management practices dramatically increase the chances that threat actors will be able to achieve their objectives, they are able to steal sensitive data, disrupt your business operations, or put the organisation at risk. Unapproved apps, unmanaged devices, poor password protection, and other security issues are leaving far too many organisations vulnerable to attack. And as organisations embrace digital transformation, it becomes increasingly urgent for them to increase control over their IT infrastructures and reduce security risks.
Asset management allows security managers to succeed at other initiatives, from rolling out an antivirus app to improving oversight of cloud resources. It improves the security organisation’s efficiency, allowing it to track and demonstrate progress, enabling prevention of a variety of issues before they escalate into major incidents.
Most companies with a cybersecurity program in place at least have a hardware inventory. For licensing purposes, most companies also maintain some type of software inventory as well. However, conducting the appropriate discovery and analysis of your hardware and software is just the beginning of effective asset management for cybersecurity.
Data discovery and classification is an important process for cybersecurity. But, the assets involved in storing, moving, and securing that data are just as important. Developing a comprehensive cybersecurity program requires an awareness of the physical threats just as much as the cyber threats. This is why a comprehensive asset management strategy, including Data Asset Monitoring is so important.
When it comes to asset management, there are four areas for organisations to consider:
Data Asset Monitoring
It’s important to know all the data moving in and out of your organisation, where it is stored, and how important it is.
Hardware and Software
The next step is to identify all the hardware devices and software applications that process the data. A list of authorised hardware should be created and maintained in order to provide insight into the components that may comprise an organisation’s infrastructure. Additionally, a software inventory provides insight into the applications that are approved for use in the environment. Use application white-listing, only allowing approved applications, to help you maintain control over your environment.
Physical Property and Facilities
Extending your asset management beyond the IT hardware devices and software programs is a critical part of developing a comprehensive cybersecurity program. Making sure you have the appropriate security processes in place to protect the physical assets that house those systems is vital. This is also critical to having up-to-date and effective disaster recovery plan.
Without making sure you’re adequately managing and equipping people to run systems, you’re putting your assets at risk for a potential cyber-attack. This means making sure employees have an understanding of their role in cybersecurity. It also means creating accountability for the people who are running the systems and processes and establishing contingency plans that consider the loss or lack of availability of critical team members.
Cyber Resiliency through Data Asset Monitoring
Building in the appropriate security and availability controls to protect your assets is critical to protecting your data. Once you have an understanding of all of the assets that need protection, you can take steps towards protecting it. In light of the frequency and complexity of cyber risks, asset managers should operate on the assumption that breaches will occur. It’s unlikely that firms can prevent cyber menaces from infiltrating barriers all of the time. Develop a robust cybersecurity program that’s designed to prevent attackers from achieving their objectives, rather than simply prevent breaches.
Cyber resiliency is the ability to operate business processes in normal and difficult scenarios without adverse outcomes. Resiliency strengthens a firm’s ability to identify, thwart, detect and respond to process or technology failures. It also bolsters a firm’s ability to quickly return to business as usual if an attack occurs, while reducing financial loss, customer harm and reputational damage.
Asset managers work hard to develop strategies, and accumulate and organise information, for their firms, efforts they don’t want to put at risk. Without cyber resilience and proper solutions in place, asset managers will be hard-pressed to protect the prized assets of their own from security breaches.
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