How Inventory Drives Your Security Operations & Security Visibility
By Mark St. John
Keeping an up to date inventory of cyber assets has never been easy. When IT consisted of static assets, organizations struggled to maintain comprehensive inventory knowledge, even with slow-moving changes to environments. Organizations invested heavily in early CMDB systems, agent deployments, and even the never reliable, always out of date spreadsheet.
Modernization of IT to cloud and virtualization has created an ease of resource and system deployment. While this is a beautiful shift for technology, it has added complexity to IT’s already burdened inventory area. The core issue that AlphaWave wants to help solve is that you cannot secure what you don’t know. Utilizing continuous monitoring and reviewing your externally facing cyber assets will help you keep timely and accurate information available for all teams and help solve these unknowns.
There are a few key areas where we feel you get the most value from utilizing this data:
ROI on tooling
Your organization has likely spent substantial funds and sweat equity on security visibility for hosts and networks, vulnerability management, and service deployments. These all require some input and upkeep on deployment status.
Through normal development and implementation pipelines, resources are frequently spun up that fall outside of these views. Shadow IT has become more prevalent as users find ways to perform their job functions or consume resources outside of regular pipelines. These create use cases in which tools, processes, and procedures defined for security operations become blind. Unless there are constant knowledge containments and documented transfer of resources, organizations will not keep track over time. The ability to quickly identify resources outside of security visibility and administrative pipelines provides immediate value to organizations that can quickly add them to their programs.
Once the assets are discoverable, your operations teams can work quickly to ensure security coverage and define ownership of resources. Security operations, IT, and DevOps teams rely heavily on each other when new security trends arise or when security teams are running investigations to ground.
- A SOC analyst at 2 a.m. researching an alert should have full documented clarity on the asset function and ownership of the potentially affected inventory to make sound decisions and handoffs.
- IT analysts should fully understand an asset’s ownership, value, and function when receiving any potential security guidance from security analysts.
- DevOps teams love when they can confidently deploy software, with the understanding that their IT resources and security operations will be in the know about their efforts. Any blind spots in your inventory process will break the security functions previously discussed; it will cause analyst headaches at the worst times and, worse, lead to a crack in your environment that an attacker can leverage.
Context-driven conversations will lead to easier remediation of any asset questions and security exposures that may arise. Knowledge silos will slow down manual processes for analysts and nullify automated processes when there are gaps in the systems. Enable your people and automation through clearly defined inventory!
Ahh yes, the fabled zero-day attack panic. When you get a call from your leadership, those nervous moments, they ask for a clear landscape on the latest exploit in the wild. Where are we exposed? What is the current status of your devices as it pertains to the trend? Who can aggregate and quickly distribute remediation needs to owners?
This moment is where proper asset inventory can turn headaches into decisions. Understanding where your affected resources are is the first step in building a plan and understanding your risk exposure. Having confidence in your inventory and executing a remediation and defense plan will save your organization time, effort and remove unnecessary stressors during these standard practices. Please do not give any targets of opportunity to attackers during these times. Ensure your pieces are off of the game board before it is their turn.
An often overlooked use case for inventory management is reviewing and keeping track of historical inventory. DNS records, forgotten services from old offices, or legacy environments from mergers or third parties can confuse ownership over time. Tech debt is real, and part of its monthly payment is inventory upkeep. These assets are one of the trickier parts of your attack surface landscape, the forgotten pieces that get left behind. Attackers are frequently using old cloud records use our free tool to check your records. Systems that have fallen outside of your security visibility and upkeep programs are ripe for the picking as they remain unpatched and unmonitored. Attackers will notice when they’ve found neglected yet connected assets. Make sure you don’t give them a chance.
We would love to discuss how you can use our continuously active, security context enhancing platform to arm your teams with constant knowledge of the resources they operate and secure.
Reach out to us, and let’s discuss all the ways we can help you utilize our platform to end knowledge silos and visibility gaps. Contact us for a demo.