Continuous monitoring is a critically important step for organizations who are serious about securing their digital domain. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines continuous monitoring as the process of maintaining ongoing awareness of information security, vulnerabilities, and threats to support organizational risk management decisions. In this way, a continuous monitoring program provides critical real-time visibility into organizational risk factors and cybersecurity performance, which while not an easy task, is considerably more approachable thanks to automated information gathering tools. In order to have an effective cybersecurity program, it’s paramount to have a complete understanding of your organization’s risk profile, existing IT infrastructure, organizational alignment, accountability, and support, and, robust management and enterprise visibility into risk. Here is how a continuous monitoring program can support and benefit an organization.
Benefit 1 – Device Environment
Having a thorough understanding of the devices and systems under direct organizational control is a massive benefit of maintaining a continuous monitoring program. When you know your digital footprint front to back, it serves as a fundamental pillar for future success. Whether it’s for understanding end of life systems, reducing potential attack vectors, or prioritizing crown jewel assets. For these reasons and a myriad of others, it’s important to know what systems you have out in the field. Leveraging this knowledge can greatly reduce business costs, reduce risk, simplify administrative overhead, and improve efficiencies.
Benefit 2 – Threat Landscape
Continuous monitoring isn’t just about knowing what systems are in your ecosystem, it’s critical that threat profiles are created for all business systems to better understand the underpinnings of the actual risk presented by specific systems. Creating a risk evaluation for all critical systems in an organization’s digital ecosystem is crucial in prioritizing security resources to ensure that every budgeted dollar is spent on tangible security controls on systems that have the potential to cause the most financial harm in the event of a cyberattack. With this increased level of understanding, it becomes infinitely easier to identify high-risk systems that cybercriminals may target, and how they may do so. Being aware of which specific systems are the most critical for business operation allows for better prioritization of security resources, which results in the best marginal decrease in organizational risk.
Benefit 3 – Ability to track Cybersecurity Performance Indicators
Having the ability to track key cybersecurity performance indicators (CPIs) is another benefit of continuous monitoring. With the help of automated tools, it becomes possible to aggregate organizational data in order to properly track the performance of a variety of business metrics. These cybersecurity performance indicators can be helpful in identifying security gaps, auditing control effectiveness, tying budgetary allocations to direct security upgrades, driving governance and accountability, and so much more. Tracking these kids of metrics allows for smarter allocation of budget and better future planning for the most cost-effective, yet rigorous, security program possible.
Benefit 4 – Increased decision-making capability
One of the most important aspects of business is conducting proper market research and making the right decisions based on market conditions. When it comes to making business decisions, it’s important to have relevant and accurate information on hand to ensure the correct decision is made. Continuous monitoring is a piece in that puzzle, since a well-executed continuous monitoring program will provide key decision-makers the information they need to understand the current landscape of their digital environment. Armed with this knowledge, businesses have the agility to adjust to varying market conditions and be better positioned to exploit new opportunities.
Establishing an effective continuous monitoring program is not an overnight task. It requires planning, effort, time, and a strong team to include support from the top. But there is hope as there are resources, tools, and frameworks available to help organizations hit the ground running when it matters most. One of the most important principles in determining the success of a cybersecurity program is in the detail and veracity of the knowledge of the company’s digital ecosystem, existing cybersecurity measures, and future cybersecurity goals. Being able to accurately pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in organizational systems is invaluable and having a continuous monitoring process in place provides organizations with the knowledge they need to most efficiently allocate resources for measurable performance improvement.
CnSight is an automated tool that will get you on track to an effective continuous monitoring program. Contact us to schedule a demo or learn more!