Today, nearly all organizations depend on connected devices and cyber assets in almost all aspects of their business.
At the same time, most organizations also struggle to get accurate information related to their assets and mitigate cybersecurity risks mainly due to the lack of a CAASM (Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management) solution in place.
While the continuous invention of cyber assets has improved productivity, collaboration, and efficiency in organizations, it has led to more cybersecurity risks as well.
According to the latest ESG survey, 69% of organizations admit suffering at least one cyber attack because of unknown, unmanaged, or poorly managed cyber assets.
The reason behind this is simple — most organizations keep on adding new cyber assets, which makes the task of identifying and securing their ecosystem of devices, users, code repositories, cloud workloads, and other assets more difficult.
Currently, the management of all cyber assets is strewn across multiple cybersecurity solutions in most organizations.
To resolve this, organizations must consider proliferating all their cyber assets for better visibility, risk posture, and threat landscape. To accomplish this, what they need is a comprehensive cybersecurity asset management solution.
In this post, we have explained what is cyber asset management, its top challenges, and solutions to overcome them.
What is Cyber Asset Management?
Cyber asset management refers to the process of identifying all cyber assets in an organization’s environment and maintaining an accurate cyber asset inventory, while proactively managing the additions, removals, and changes to those cyber assets.
A cyber asset can take multiple forms such as known assets, unknown assets, rogue assets, internal-facing assets, cloud assets, and external vendors.
Once you have a complete inventory of assets that need to be managed and secure, you can easily implement an effective cyber security program in your organization’s network.The main purpose of cyber asset management is to identify potential cybersecurity risks, threats, and vulnerability gaps that your cyber assets may possess and mitigate them before an incident occurs.
Cyber asset management helps to do this by —
- Recording & updating an accurate cyber asset inventory in real-time
- Continuously discovering cybersecurity gaps
- Enforcing security compliance to address the identified gaps
Unfortunately, implementing this process comes with several challenges.
Top Cyber Asset Management Challenges
Here are the top 4 challenges every organization faces when implementing cyber asset management.
Discovering Unmanaged Devices
Organizations often need to discover unmanaged devices on their network in many scenarios.
For the uninitiated, unmanaged devices are endpoints (i.e. cloud servers, on-premise servers, desktops, laptops, IoT devices, etc.) that aren’t known to management systems yet.
These are the devices that are neither discovered nor managed by an organization’s cybersecurity asset management tools. So, even if an organization has a huge arsenal of cybersecurity tools, it is impossible to protect a device if it is unmanaged or not discovered yet.
Inventorying All Cyber Assets
As an organization grows, so do the cybersecurity challenges.
One of these challenges is the lack of a real-time & complete picture of all cyber assets in an organization’s environment.
Even in the modern era, many organizations still use a mixed variety of approaches that usually involve manually updating spreadsheets.
This process is not only outdated but also unreliable for making a complete inventory of all cyber assets within an organization’s environment.
In fact, following this process may even result in increased exposure to cyber threats across the organization’s entire network.
Nowadays, organizations use too many security tools to protect their cyber assets, but these tools rarely give them a complete picture of where the threats actually exist.
And without the complete cyber assets inventory, it is impossible to find out whether all assets adhere to compliance requirements or not.
As a result, it ultimately leads to creating vulnerability gaps in visibility and compliance enforcement.
Understanding Incident Context
Because of the expanding cyber asset network, organizations find it difficult to accurately identify and evaluate the dependencies and relationships between different assets.
This especially includes understanding the cyber asset context that are operating, their role in the organization, their vulnerabilities, and the potential impact of cybersecurity incidents.
This challenge mostly arises because of the dynamic nature of cyber assets, the amount of data generated by these assets, and the complexity of their relationships with each other.
Every organization must address this challenge to prioritize risk mitigation efforts and make data-driven decisions about the deployment as well as management of cyber assets.
What is Driving These Cyber Asset Management Challenges?
Now that you have learned about the top cyber asset management challenges, it’s important to find out the key reasons behind them before you can address these challenges.
In most cases, there are 3 primary factors that drive cyber asset management challenges.
More Connected Devices & Assets
The first thing responsible for driving cyber asset management challenges is the increasing number of connected devices & assets in an organization.
Every device that is added to an organization’s network creates blind spots in its environment, making it more complex and difficult to manage.
And as the number of devices grows, it becomes harder to track and manage all cyber assets, which makes it easier for vulnerabilities and security threats to go undetected.
Additionally, many connected devices have limited security capabilities, which makes them a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals.
In fact, one attack on your weak connected device can put the entire network at risk and compromise sensitive data.
The worst part? — The interconnectivity of devices also means that a security incident that occurred on one device can have a ripple effect throughout your entire network, which can be extremely difficult to contain and resolve.
This is why it is imperative to have a robust cyber asset management strategy in place to mitigate the security risks posed by the increasing number of connected devices.
More Security Tools
Several organizations are turning to security tools as a method of managing the risks associated with connected devices.
But the truth is, adding more security tools just increases the complexity and creates a fragmented security landscape.
In simple terms, when you add multiple security tools, it can become difficult to coordinate and integrate their efforts, which ultimately leads to inefficiencies and vulnerability gaps.
Plus, security tools generate a large number of alerts and data, which can make it difficult for an organization’s security teams to detect, prioritize, and respond to real threats in a timely manner.
Therefore, it is critical for organizations to implement a holistic approach to their cyber asset management strategy to overcome its challenges & make sure they’re working effectively in harmony with each other.
Lack of a Centralized Solution
Despite the increasing number of connected devices and security tools, most organizations still lack a centralized solution, which ultimately leads to difficulty in tracking and managing all assets accurately.
For the uninitiated, a centralized solution in an organization refers to a cybersecurity system in which all cyber assets & security-related functions and processes are controlled and managed from one place.
This centralized approach empowers organizations to monitor, control, and manage the security of the entire network, devices, and systems using a single platform.
The lack of such a centralized solution makes it difficult for organizations to identify potential risks and vulnerability gaps, which increases the time, effort, and resources required to manage all cyber assets and mitigate cybersecurity risks effectively.
4 Solutions to Overcome Cyber Asset Management Challenges
To overcome the cyber asset management challenges, organizations must adopt a technology solution that can address all issues in one place.
The ideal solution should have the following capabilities:
Complete & Comprehensive Asset Discovery
Cyber assets and devices operate without being tied to a traditional parameter. So, the right solution must be able to identify all types of assets & devices, whether they’re on or off the organization’s network, on-premises, or in the cloud.
But in order to understand the security landscape in its entirety, the cybersecurity asset management solution must take into account everything that touches the organization’s environment including devices, applications, operating systems, code repositories, and services — on-premises and in the cloud.
This means the solution must have capabilities to use existing infrastructure, network connections, APIs, and other relevant protocols to connect all data sources in one place.
Gap Identification & Actionable Insights
Once organizations have complete knowledge and inventory of all cyber assets in their environment, they can begin identifying and assessing vulnerability gaps to actively manage any potential risks in their network.
But in addition to knowing which policies are and are not being enacted, it is vital to understand the cyber asset context including their users, roles, configurations, and posture to mitigate potential risks and compliance gaps.
To do this effectively, organizations must understand and analyze contextual data about each cyber asset in their network. While most security tools have the basic abilities, they’re not fully equipped to identify issues in the aggregate, especially when the issues are unique to devices and assets.
The right solution, however, should be able to help organizations identify all vulnerability gaps even when they’re unique to specific devices or assets, and provide actionable insights on how to mitigate those gaps.
Automated Security Policy Enforcement
After a vulnerability gap or potential security risk is identified, the right solution should be able to address it immediately.
Ideally, the solution must be equipped with real-time policy enforcement & automated security that can take the necessary actions such as —
- Isolating affected devices
- Initiating software updates
- Triggering alerts to security teams
- Scan for vulnerabilities in devices under threat
Implementing an Agentless Approach
The majority of cybersecurity asset management tools adopted by organizations usually operate by deploying agents into their environments. These agents monitor tools’ activities by correlating trends, which are then collected by the deployed agent.
But as the number of cybersecurity tools continues to rise in organizations’ environments, it is impossible to install agents across all cyber assets in the network.
This is why implementing an agentless approach is critical.
For the uninitiated, the agentless approach refers to the method of managing and monitoring cyber assets without the need to install software agents on each device.
It allows organizations to build a complete & comprehensive inventory of all cyber assets in real-time and make sure that every asset is accounted for.
This, in turn, eliminates the potential risks and vulnerability gaps that can arise from software agents and lower the administrative overhead of deploying and maintaining agents on every asset.
Solving cyber asset management challenges is extremely important for organizations. Neglecting to do so can result in dire consequences like a sensitive data breach, financial loss, damage to reputation, and many more.
To prevent this, it is critical to adopt a robust cyber asset management platform like Scrut Automation that can help to address and resolve these diverse challenges.
Scrut Automation is a leading technology solution designed to address the expanding threat landscape within organizations and handle any potential threats or cybersecurity risks immediately.
Asset management in cybersecurity is about conducting and maintaining an accurate & real-time inventory of all cyber assets such as hardware, software, internet-facing, etc. of an organization.
Cyber asset management is important because it helps to detect risks & threats before an incident occurs that could affect an organization’s operational capabilities in achieving its missions.
The most common cyber assets examples include on-premises devices, software & SaaS applications, code repositories, and cloud storage.
There are plenty of tools you can use for cyber asset management but no tool can match the capabilities of CAASM by Scrut Automation because it provides a comprehensive and holistic view of all cyber assets in real-time with context.