Knowing and understanding which risk factors impact your organization are key, no doubt about that. This information aids IT and Security teams in developing and implementing protections that help safeguard against current threats targeting your organization.
But it doesn’t end there.
While that provides knowledge of what threats are placing devices, users and data at risk, and subsequently matches them up with the solutions to best combat currently known threats, active monitoring provides deep insight into not just an endpoint’s health status but also gives administrators the telemetry data necessary to know:
- what risks are being introduced to devices
- which risky behaviors users are performing
- if data has been compromised
all in real time. By integrating risk data with endpoint security solutions, organizations gain the ability to convert this data stream into actionable and often, automated tasks, to maintain a strong security posture while helping them with meeting their compliance goals.
What is risk?
“a situation involving exposure to danger.”
Above is the very definition of risk. As a verb, risk is further defined as “exposing (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss.”
In the context of cybersecurity, risk applies to any such situation that introduces undesired consequences or negatively impacts any device, user, service or resource.
Risk comes in many forms. While it cannot be eliminated, certain mitigation techniques may exist for organizations to appropriately contend with risk, for example:
- Avoidance: Risk that is deemed unnecessary may be avoided to prevent it from impacting the organization. Ex. A regulated industry must ensure that all communications are secured through app A not app B on company-owned devices. Admins may restrict the usage of app B on managed devices, leaving app A as the sole choice for communications.
- Reduction: The usual risk management strategy when it comes to cybersecurity. Organizations implement security strategies to minimize the impact of identified risk factors. Ex. OS vulnerabilities leave computers open to data security threats. IT has implemented a patch management policy that scans devices OS levels and automatically updates those that are out of scope instead of relying on users to manually initiate an update.
- Transference: Depending on the risk type and scope, as well as organizational resources, sometimes it may be more prudent to offset the risk to a third party or service. Ex. Operating data centers in multiple regions worldwide may be too costly to maintain and secure. Instead, contracting cloud services, like IaaS, shifts the risk of daily management away from the organization and over to the service provider.
- Acceptance: Certain risks cannot be avoided, reduced or transferred. Simply put, they must be accepted. Ex: A company with a distributed workforce cannot operate without relying on mobile devices used by employees to perform work. Preventing mobile device use would also halt business continuity, making that risk unavoidable as the remedy is far worse than the symptom.
How collecting telemetry data provides visibility into device health?
Consider the amount of data that endpoints produce over a period of time. Not just what users are producing mind you, but network communications from communicating with multiple services, error logs being recorded, system processes currently in use – the list goes on and on.
All of this data is useful to one degree or another, but who has the time to sift through each bit and byte in order to extract what’s necessary for IT and Security teams to know the current status of a device? Furthermore, extrapolate that time interval by multiplying it against the total number of devices in use across your infrastructure.
In the immortal words of one Kimberly Wilkins (better known by her pseudonym “Sweet Brown”), “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Especially not IT or Security teams. After all, time is a precious resource and they’ve got much more important things to do with it than look for needles in a haystack. Herein lies the beauty of telemetry data: it’s already a known quantity and can be cherry-picked to deliver exactly the type of data these administrative teams need to more effectively and efficiently manage and secure their endpoints.
Types of telemetry data collected:
- OS updates
- App patch levels
- Configuration settings
- Network activity
- Behavioral analysis
- Authentication auditing
- Malicious code
- Error logging
- System processes
- Audit compliance
Each of the telemetry data types above identifies a category that provides specific information relating to and conversely impacting endpoint health directly.
Can integrating risk data with endpoint security solutions help your security posture?
To borrow a line from our technical paper, “Why yes, yes, it can.”
Some of the challenges that make managing risk significantly more difficult are:
- Ordering large quantities of devices, different device types
- Maintaining security across a fleet of personally and company-owned devices
- Supporting distributed workforces in remote and hybrid environments
- Convergence of two or more threat types to execute complex, multi-pronged attacks against targets
- Enforcing security settings to maintain endpoint compliance
By integrating risk data alongside endpoint security systems, the collection, analysis and sorting of telemetry data may be automated to the degree your organization feels comfortable with. Moreover, leveraging systems to gather telemetry data, perform analysis and execute these tasks as automated workflows not only saves organizations money but also saves IT and Security teams time by better serving resources where they are most needed:
- Actively monitoring devices
- Preventing attacks
- Alerting admins to threats
- Mitigating vulnerabilities
- Remediating risk
- Enforcing secure configurations
- Maintaining regulatory compliance
Do you understand your organization’s needs and how to make data actionable? Download our technical paper today to learn about combining the various keys to minimize risk to grow your organization’s security posture.
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