How to bridge the security gap between managed and unmanaged assets?

There is a security risk that is difficult to detect: that of the security management gap between managed and unmanaged assets. lt is growing every day and affects almost every business.

What’s behind the security gap between managed and unmanaged devices?

The gap between managed and unmanaged assets remains invisible. The reason ? Simply that traditional security tools are unable to properly identify and monitor these assets. Worse, organizations often fail to patch unmanaged assets when vulnerabilities are discovered. Results ? If the company is unable to secure unmanaged devices, hackers can easily exploit them; often without triggering any alert. URGENT/11 vulnerabilities (and others like it) put organizations at risk of intrusions, ransomware attacks and data leaks. Once we have reported these facts, how do you know if your company has this security gap between managed and unmanaged assets.

This gap is due to several reasons. The explosion in the number of unmanaged assets. We already had no less than 50 billion connected goods at the end of 2021, according to Cisco and Gartner. Analysts predict that this number will exceed 75 billion by 2025.

These assets include most of the tools and technologies that we take for granted at work and at home, including: laptops, tablets and smartphones, mobile devices (smart watches, fitness trackers, connected speakers and Smart TVs). Unmanaged assets also include IIoT, ICS, and operational technology (OT) devices, in addition to servers cloud and virtual machines.

This proliferation of unmanaged endpoints creates new security challenges, as these devices are often invisible to IT. To complicate matters further, even IT assets, including laptops, desktops, and corporate servers, are sometimes unmonitored and unmanaged due to missing or misconfigured agents. Ultimately, most companies simply don’t map all the assets in their environment. Instead, they often have an incomplete, siled view of their managed assets and ignore unmanaged assets. At the risk of stating the obvious: you can only protect what you know.

Traditional monitoring and security tools yield fragmented results

Why are so many properties not detected? Most enterprises rely on asset management platforms, which rely on agents to identify managed devices on IT networks. These solutions often don’t even see unmanaged devices. It even happens that these traditional solutions disrupt the operation of unmanaged assets or take them offline…

To address these issues of silos and invisibility, companies typically add niche security solutions. But adding tools only amplifies fragmentation and increases manual tasks for security teams. This fragmentation makes it more difficult to meet compliance requirements and can prevent organizations from keeping pace with best practices as the security landscape evolves.

Asset visibility is not the only security flaw to consider. Beyond simply identifying each asset, security teams need to know the operating system and software these assets run, what other assets they communicate with, and their potential vulnerabilities and risk profile. It is impossible to collect all this data and monitor it in real time with traditional tools.

Bridging the security gap between managed and unmanaged devices

Without complete information about every device in the environment, it is much more difficult to prevent, detect and resolve incidents. Sometimes attacks targeting connected assets can be seen immediately. Without constant monitoring, organizations also cannot isolate infected equipment or react to intrusions in real time. Additionally, the lack of asset visibility prevents the organization from automating policy enforcement and response orchestration, requiring it to manually remediate vulnerabilities and threats (often on an asset-by-asset basis). And these manual response efforts quickly overwhelm SOC resources. During this time, hackers are free to cause more damage and disruption, the elimination of which requires more money, time and resources.

With a solution designed to provide complete visibility, enterprises can close the gap, identify every asset in their environment, and benefit from continuous monitoring and automation. What does it look like? We must favor a platform that uses a continuous, passive and agentless approach to identify all the goods in the environment without disturbing their functioning. It thus provides security teams with a complete inventory of assets, with all assets managed, unmanaged, clouds and BYOD, including transient devices. As this platform identifies assets, it automatically analyzes their characteristics and behavior. This helps to properly classify devices and understand the context to detect threats with a high degree of accuracy. When it comes to vulnerability detection, automation is key. Manually addressing vulnerabilities and risks takes time, and may not be fast enough to prevent a hacker from causing damage. The larger and more complex the organization, the less practical it is to rely solely on manual enforcement of security policies.

By identifying all assets, cataloging and unifying asset data, and enabling automation, organizations can bridge the visibility gap between managed and unmanaged assets. With comprehensive real-time security monitoring, policy automation, and more effective remediation, organizations can protect their assets, revenue, and reputation.

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