5 Reasons Why Cybersecurity Asset Management Matters
Cybersecurity asset management is a topic that has been widely discussed over the past few years. With the significant increase in cyber crimes, it seems that no single month goes by without hearing about another high-profile breach somewhere in the world.
The increasing frequency of these events makes it clear that organizations need to take a proactive approach to improve their security posture. Cybersecurity asset management is, therefore, a key factor for any organization serious about its cybersecurity infrastructure.
Need an immediate example?
Recently, the news articles were flooded with a whistleblower's, who was previously Twitter's head of security, disclosure sent to Congress and federal agencies. The whistleblower, Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, who has agreed to be publicly identified, alleges Twitter of severe security vulnerabilities.
"[I]t was impossible to protect the production environment. All engineers had access. There was no logging of who went into the environment or what they did." - From Zatko’s disclosure
The whistleblower also alleges that the company has:
- Lost track of the information they hold
- Failed to delete a user's data after they cancel their accounts.
- Misled the regulators about deleting the data as it is required to do.
As stated by the whistleblower, these were also why Twitter executives don't have information on the actual number of bots on the platform. (News Source: CNN Business) Although Twitter denied the allegations, the moral of the story is that knowing your assets is having control and visibility over what data you own. Blindspots carry the risk of being exploited by threat actors, which can be devastating even for the most reputable companies. Let's go back to square one and paint a clear picture of what cybersecurity asset management is.
What is cybersecurity asset management?
Cyber assets can refer to programmable electronic devices and networks, including hardware, software, and data in those devices. Cybersecurity asset management is a fundamental way to optimize security controls to defend against emerging threats through continuous identification, evaluation, adoption, and retirement of valuable IT assets. An effective asset management program is fundamental to an enterprise's cybersecurity strategy.
By continuously identifying, evaluating, and adopting new security controls that address emerging threats, enterprises can reduce the likelihood of a successful attack on their cyber environments. CSAM should cover physical and virtual systems as well as cloud-based assets such as S3 buckets.
What does effective cybersecurity asset management do? It helps you:
- Monitor all assets' lifecycle from new asset creation to the point that it becomes obsolete and must be disposed of
- Ensure that cyber assets remain secure and compliant
- Spot unknown assets and bring them under management for their protection
- Regularly maintain assets to detect unauthorized changes
- Gain insight into your internal and external attack surface
Why is cybersecurity asset management important?
With a proper asset management system, you can easily undertake the following and minimize your cyber asset attack surface.
1. Systematical tracking of dispersed cloud assets
New cybersecurity challenges have surfaced as more and more companies migrate and move their workloads to the cloud in order to ship products faster. The dispersed and volatile nature of the cloud renders visibility a monumental challenge. Since you can't secure what you cannot see, blindspots in your cloud environment may lead to serious blows to your company, including data breaches, data loss, and a negative brand reputation.
Therefore, effective cybersecurity asset management ensures that:
- All cyber assets in your cloud environment are created in a managed way
- All assets are tracked throughout their operational lifecycle so that no rogue assets go unnoticed
- Unused assets are removed safely to ensure no security gaps remain open to risks
- Your sensitive data remains secure
- All cloud access configurations are properly managed in order to prevent unauthorized access
2. Continuous monitoring of SaaS assets and configurations
Today, it's almost impossible to find a digital business that hasn't implemented at least one third-party SaaS tool into their day-to-day operations. For example, over 40% of Fortune 100 businesses pay for Slack, an all-purpose communication platform, especially for workplaces.
While SaaS tools make things go easier and faster, they require proactive security measures on the user side. For instance, enabling MFA for all users in a SaaS tool you use for your company is often optional and almost always overlooked. For secure workspaces, account and access-based configurations should be continuously monitored.
With effective asset management, you can get notified of SaaS misconfigurations and prevent unauthorized access. Cybersecurity asset management lets you see all the cards in your hand so that you can pull a strategic game against threat actors.
3. Timely heads-up on security gaps
When it comes to cybersecurity, time is always of the essence. Efficient cyber asset management or cyber asset attack surface management tool in place saves you from manual controls and chances of overlooking critical security gaps thanks to automatization and alerting systems. They notify you when there is a vulnerability so that you can close security gaps before they turn into serious issues.
4. Ability to see your attack surface as an attacker would
To outmaneuver a malicious actor, you must clearly see where you're most vulnerable. In other words, you must be able to answer the question, "where am I the most vulnerable?" Most companies conduct a predictable cycle for vulnerability detection–vulnerability assessment, getting a report, fixing only the critical issues. However, there are a few issues with this cycle:
- Vulnerability assessments are typically point-in-time, not taking the dynamic nature of the cloud into account.
- They provide a narrow scope, leaving unaddressed blindspots as they lack complete visibility of the company's assets.
On the other hand, asset management is all about knowing what you own. When you see your assets in complete view, you get a good perspective of your attack surface and a higher chance of closing security gaps in time. Cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) solutions, for instance, provide crystal clear visibility of your entire cyber estate (including multi-cloud and SaaS) and help you prioritize threats.
5. Secure disposal of end-of-life assets
Disposing of end of life data assets securely and responsibly is key for both security and compliance reasons. As in the Twitter example, knowing the data you and your company acquire, process, or store is vital, especially for data regulations like GDPR. You must dispose of all end-of-life data assets to avoid long-term security costs.
Most companies don't understand the consequences of mistreating end-of-life data and failing to fully educate their employees. When your sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, there might be no turning back or avoiding heavy financial and legal penalties.
- Keep an always up-to-date asset inventory
- Regularly check the end of life assets
- Educate employees about dealing with end-of-life data
- Comply with data regulations
How Resmo empowers your asset management
Do you know how many IT assets your organization has? You might be surprised to learn that most organizations can't answer that question. They don't even have a good handle on the security vulnerabilities present in their cyber environments. Don't be THAT organization.
As a cyber asset attack surface management solution, Resmo collects your entire cloud and SaaS asset inventory and configurations in one place, providing continuous visibility, security, and compliance. Some of the powerful capabilities include the following:
- Get notified of vulnerabilities across your entire cyber estate.
- Use compliance packs to check your assets against security best practices or popular cybersecurity frameworks like CIS benchmarks.
- Query all your resources using a powerful SQL query engine.
- Create a complete, centralized asset inventory.
Not sure yet? Start your free trial today to discover the full potential of Resmo.