How are you reducing your IT security risks? Did you know that the global spending on security technology is forecast to reach $81.7 Billion in 2017, according to IDC?
No business wants to experience a security threat, especially following the NHS WannaCry attack in May 2017 which affected over 300,000 computer systems. However, the cost of this technology can often be off putting, despite 27% of organizations admitting to have suffered ransomware attacks. But with businesses requiring SAM (software asset management) tools in order to manage and optimise licensing positions, this technology can also help to reduce security risks.
Here are the top 7 ways organizations can use SAM to help minimize security risk:
1. Using Inventory to Identify Malicious Items
To effectively maintain a robust security position, having an inventory of all software deployed across the business is a must. Utilizing this information on a regular basis enables the prevention of workers from using unauthorized software and identify any unknown and unapproved software. SAM tools also have the capability to maintain and detect blacklist tools; identifying rogue software, which can help reduce vulnerability levels.
2. Preventing the Use of Risky Applications
With visibility of the software deployed within the business, it becomes easier to prevent the use of suspect or malicious applications. Even with stringent usage policies in place for software usage, with organizations using portable storage and mobile devices, software can be installed behind a firewall. Using the information available from the discovery and inventory functionality, means companies can disable unacceptable programs, and access control ensures only authorized or selected users can access certain software.
3. Examine Usage Data if a Security Breach Happens
SAM tools create an additional level of security for applications by providing a snapshot in real-time of which employees are accessing which programs. In the unfortunate situation that a security breach takes place, SAM functionality enables organizations to examine application usage data. This is essential for identifying when the suspect software was last used and who launched it to help solve the issue quicker.
4. Promote Rationalization and Standardization
SAM tools can identify any redundant or outdated software ensuring only necessary and required software remains available. By encouraging the rationalization and standardization of the number of unused software titles, organizations enable IT to support and patch fewer applications in a security risk, especially when only 50% of organizations have conducted staff training to help deal with these threats.
5. Leverage Patch Management
Utilising SAM to support patch management, or a SAM solution which features patch management software, can support process efficiency and ensure the scope of target systems are complete and current, which becomes more crucial following a recent statistic that less than 25% of organizations are applying the latest security software patches within the first 24 hours of release. This will result in quicker reactions in the unfortunate event of a threat, resulting in time and cost savings, as well as ensuring all devices on the network are running the required security software.
6. Anti-virus Software Checks
With access to a SRDB (Software Recognition Database), SAM tools enable organizations to perform anti-virus software checking notating computers which have no antivirus software installed. This results in the business being able to help reduce the number of risks in the future, by ensuring these computers are protected.
7. Ensuring GDPR Compliance
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be implemented in the EU on 25 May 2018. The aim of GDPR is to strengthen individual’s privacy and security rights, applying to any organization, whether they are based in the EU or not, that collects, retains or processes the personal data of EU citizens.
Organizations will have very clear controls in place around how they manage and use personal data. So consider the instance of a data breach resulting in a quantity of customer information being stolen. The penalty for such a breach could climb to tens of millions. In such circumstances the organization will be expected to have the answer to some key questions, such as: “How many devices (PCs, laptops, servers, mobiles) do we have? Who has access to them and where are they? What software is installed and which applications are actually used and by whom? Do the devices all have data encryption installed?”
But how many IT departments will be able to answer these questions accurately? Clearly – with its inherent ability to establish a clear, complete and accurate understanding of the entire IT estate – ITAM/SAM technology can play a crucial role and ultimately help organizations overcome the challenges of GDPR compliance.
Using SAM to Prevent Security Risks
Now is the time to fully leverage the benefits of SAM to prevent security risks. By bringing inventory and discovery capabilities into the mix, SAM strengthens security tools and processes, which can significantly improve an organization’s ability to protect data, software and systems, helping to reduce the operational risk. For some, it even helps identity those systems missing critical security and control solutions your organization prefers to have in place.