Protection against cyber security threats is becoming increasingly important. Organizations are being attacked every day and the consequences of a cyber security attack can be extremely costly (see our case studies below for examples). Practicing effective IT Asset Management, and particularly Software Asset Management (SAM) can significantly help an organization lessen its vulnerability to cyber security attacks. In fact, it’s a big part of the reason many of our clients work with us. Beyond cost savings and license compliance risk avoidance, effective SAM can help protect organizations from certain types of exploits used in cyber attacks. Here are four ways that SAM helps minimizes cyber security risk:
Identification of malicious/faulty/unsupported software
One of the essentials of SAM is maintaining an accurate and complete inventory of all software assets across the entire organization. Obviously, it’s difficult - impossible, really - to manage or protect something if you don’t know that it exists or where it exists. Knowing what software you have and where, is therefore, essential to being able to effectively manage and minimize your organization's attach surface. Effective SAM allows you to identify and locate unknown, unapproved, unsupported, malicious, or faulty software. Additionally, some SAM tools can help identify and manage blacklisted applications – enabling your organization to take swift action to remove software that presents a potential threat.
Prevention of 'shadow IT'
Because effective SAM allows you to know what’s in your environment and identify risky applications, it becomes much easier to prevent the use of them. Because of easily available SaaS products and bring your own device (BYOD) practices, it is now easier than ever for employees to access unapproved and potentially malicious software, also known as ‘shadow IT’. Shadow IT makes its way into an organization when employees circumnavigate established (or non-established) purchasing processes to obtain software. While SaaS products and BYOD can make work easier for employees, it also puts the organization at more risk.
Using discovery and inventory data allows organizations to detect and disable ‘shadow IT’ and any unapproved programs. Additionally, access controls ensure that only authorized or selected users can access certain software.
Ensuring that only necessary software is deployed - not having outdated/redundant software
Financially, it makes a lot of sense to only use software that you need. Don’t pay for something you’re not using and don’t use something that you’re not paying for – failing to follow this simple rule costs organizations millions of dollars every year. Of course, having a complete view of all your entitlements and deployments is much easier said than done. Cost optimization is not the only benefit to maintaining a healthy and up-to-date IT environment. Cyber security risk multiplies substantially when organizations keep outdated or redundant software assets in their environments – it just gives you one more thing to manage, which is one more thing that could be missed.
Maturing processes for risk prevention and incident response
It’s not uncommon for many organizations to take more than 24 hours after release to apply the latest security software patches – for some organizations it even takes days to months. One of the pillars of SAM is having clear and effective processes in place so that when things need to get done, they get done (like quickly applying new software patches). These processes go a long way in reducing cyber security risks.
In addition to all of this, having an effective SAM process allows you to take corrective action as quickly as possible. When vulnerabilities are detected, an automated SAM process allows you to quickly tie software and hardware (i.e. laptops, servers, networking equipment, etc.) to user accounts. This will ensure that no active vulnerabilities go unnoticed or unpatched.
While the above are four major ways SAM minimizes cyber security risk, they are not the only ways. When it comes to minimizing security risk, SAM provides many benefits. Even in the unfortunate case that your organization suffers a cyber security attack, SAM can help examine usage data. This enables you to know when the malicious software was last used and who used it.
With such heightened frequency of cyber security attacks, now is the time to embrace Software Asset Management to minimize security risk. Schedule a time to meet with one of our security experts to learn more.
Below, you'll find case studies from some of Anglepoint's clients that demonstrate how Software Asset Management can help minimize Cyber Security risk.