Although the term “Cybersecurity Asset Management” is relatively new, the concept has existed since the first computer networks were used in business. The logic then follows that in order to protect your computers, you need to know which computers you are responsible for, and if the defences you have put in place are working correctly.
In the early days the challenge was simple, put in a firewall, scan the network and locate the computers, then install antivirus…job done.
Roll-on 20 years and this task is vastly more complicated. Team members can take their laptops home or use their home computers to connect to a variety of Cloud services to access corporate data. Your team may be spread across the world in small offices, or maybe they are all home remote workers… thousands of them.
For the IT manager or CISO, just discovering all these cyber assets that need to be protected is an impossible task.
Next you have the protection mechanisms that you wish to adopt, more commonly referred to as the controls. The critical controls are:
- Patch management
- Web Proxy
In addition you may also have:
- Hardened Policies
With this many security controls and a distributed IT environment of cyber assets, the level of complexity increases further. It’s a problem that can only be solved using automation. Historical attempts at solving the issue have relied on the use of agents being installed on the relevant computers. However, this misses the point that maintaining a functioning agent across the whole estate is the very problem at the heart of this blog.
This is where modern Cybersecurity Asset Management comes in, with systems that automatically connect to your core Cloud and Cybersecurity control systems via API to discover all your cyber assets. Once the cyber assets have been intelligently matched across all connected systems you are left with a concise and accurate list of everything that needs protecting.
With a clear picture of all of your cyber assets, it is then possible to see the fundamentals relating to the protection of the asset:
- Is the security control installed?
- Is it functioning?
- Is it configured correctly?
It is only with this knowledge that you can work on automated methods to resolve any gaps or weaknesses with the controls.
Having your controls in place prevents 98% of all attacks* and that’s why Cybersecurity Asset Management is one of the fastest growing areas in cybersecurity today.
*Microsoft digital defence report October 2021.