Many organization’s today struggle seeing through the fog of endless new information and threats. But as technology continues to change at a rapid pace – so does our ever-evolving threat landscape.
Fortunately, the CIS Controls present a pragmatic approach to reduce your attack surface, offering prioritized guidance on the critical elements for adopting basic cyber security best practices. In this blog post, I've outlined key benefits of automating the CIS Controls.
These controls are easy to follow and provide organizations with an accessible starting point, regardless of your size or industry. These controls provide organizations with a defined process and architecture about what your environment is doing. This element of repeatability and the structure around it is one of the major values of the CIS Critical Security Controls.
2. Knowledge & Expertise
You’ve got to know what you have in your environment in order to predict what may happen, and likewise, you have to have some kind of knowledge of what systems are in your infrastructure to properly secure them. That knowledge can help you predict how those systems should be or how they are configured.
One of the key benefits of adopting the CIS Controls is that organizations are able to leverage the knowledge, skills and experience of some of the industry’s greatest minds, with first-hand experience on how to effectively identify and defend against today’s most pervasive cyber-attacks.
3. Achieve and Maintain Continuous Compliance
These controls are not a substitute for any existing regulatory, compliance, or other security best practices, however, overlap certainly exists. Security best practices are largely common sense and you can see commonalities throughout the various controls, usually with the same intent but with different wording in different sections. This includes major compliance frameworks like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, NIST 800-53, ISO 27000, and regulations like PCI DSS, HIPAA, NERC CIP, and FISMA. This is extremely helpful if your organization is subject to multiple regulatory requirements and will give you a great starting point for action.
4. Improve Productivity While Saving Resources
The benefits of automating these critical security controls are endless, but at its core, automation can provide significant improvements in productivity as well as savings in both time and money. The ability to do more with less is a constant within any industry, but these controls were designed to help organizations quickly define the starting point for their defenses, direct resources on actions with immediate and high-value payoff, then focus resources on additional risk matters that are unique to their business.
5. Establish Minimum Baseline for Configurations
Handling misconfigurations is a crucial part of the CIS Controls. When it comes to prioritizing remediation of misconfigurations, the CIS Controls suggest to develop a process that lifts the lid on the change activity within your organization. Change is constant and inevitable, but it’s also vital to the safety and security of an organization’s environment. This starts with a change management process to plan and schedule changes and is complimented by change detection to see what actually changed. Being able to identify which change represents a misconfiguration by aligning the detection of change with the management of change is an absolute must. A good change management process will always include a change review to assess the success of a planned change. This coupled with the ‘physical’ proof of changes caused by change activity is a massive step to identify changes that should not have happened.
Learn about configuration drift and what can be done to help prevent it in our blog: What is Configuration Drift and How Can You Prevent It?
6. Most Importantly - Improve Security
The key benefit with the CIS Controls is security. The Controls at their basic level (Learn about the Basic CIS Controls) include subjects like discovery, vulnerability assessment, system hardening, audit logging. By automating these controls, new devices discovered, hardened and assessed for vulnerabilities, will help significantly reduce your attack surface. Once at this stage, it’s imperative that organizations use tools to automatically monitor and alert against changes to the hardened posture as well as periodically report that system’s configuration and vulnerability stance has not changed. NNT Change Tracker can help you do just that, allowing you to monitor a vast array of systems easily from one console. Doing this will allow your organization to keep a tighter control on the security of your environment.
NNT can help your organization automate the majority of the CIS Controls with our comprehensive security suite. By automating these controls, your organization helps enable a prioritized, risk-based approach to cyber security, helping achieve reliability, scalability, and continuous security across your entire IT infrastructure. Learn which controls NNT can help you automate by downloading our Essential Guide to the CIS Controls.
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