- February 14, 2023
- Catagory IT management
If you don’t have visibility into your IT infrastructure, you can’t have confidence in your overall security.
This is especially true for those in the manufacturing and energy sectors that have a great deal of operational technology (OT) and industrial control systems (ICS), as their security can impact the broader organization through its integration with more conventional IT systems.
An annual report released by Dragos outlined the visibility challenges faced by ICS/OT networks when it comes to identifying vulnerabilities ICS/OT devices as ransomware attacks on firms with ICS/OT infrastructure increase. These attacks demonstrate how industrial firms have their own set variables when it comes to security and establishing visibility across all systems, especially as the industrial internet of things (IoT) becomes more ubiquitous.
But even outside industrial systems, visibility is critical for robust security, especially as remote work continues and many businesses settle into a hybrid approach. Whether it’s an ICS/OT device in an industrial setting, a IoT sensor for agricultural applications or a laptop for a road warrior leading your sales initiatives, you must be able to see these devices on your network and understand their vulnerabilities.
No matter why your digital footprint is expanding, security visibility becomes increasingly difficult when you must keep track of home office, on-premises and cloud-based endpoints. Your attack surfaces are proliferating, and you must be able to see all of them – you can’t get the visibility you need to identify the gaps in your security programs and controls without the right tools and best practices.
And there’s many elements you must be able to see and control:
- Endpoints of all sorts are your weakest links as they exchange data over a variety of network connections
- Because it’s so easy for business users to spin up whatever cloud-based services they think will help meet their objectives, you run the risk of shadow IT that’s connecting to your infrastructure without proper governance
- Even before remote work became the norm, remote offices meant a more distributed workforce, which is more difficult to monitor than ever thanks to home offices and mobile devices
- Cloud services can allow you to delegate security to the provider of a service, but it’s still a shared responsibility
These are just some of the key elements of your IT infrastructure that require visibility if they are to be fully secured, and it’s helpful if you break down visibility into three broad categories if you’re to attain it organization-wide.
Operational visibility includes operational compliance and operational processes, as well as user visibility so you understand who has access to data and why, including applications. People come and go and responsibilities change, so you must have best practices for onboarding and off-boarding employees as well as device lifecycle management. A zero-trust approach to security can help to improve user visibility.
Technical visibility has become more difficult with more distributed workforces and IT environments – you must understand all the threats and vulnerabilities that might affect your systems, connections and devices, whether it’s a laptop, server, smartphone or narrow-purpose IoT device.
Your organizational visibility determines your awareness to any threats to your brand, reputation, and intellectual property. This level of visibility requires not only security tools but also best practices and processes.
At the end of the day, however, visibility is all about knowing where your data is so you can protect it – it’s the lifeblood of your business. A managed service provider can help you make the right links between visibility and security so you can build a true picture of your IT infrastructure across every system and endpoint.