The latest cyber threat data is pretty unequivocal. Over a third of global organizations experienced a ransomware-related attack or breach over the past year, according to IDC. Nor is it the only threat that IT leaders must keep on their radar. Yet while the security industry is packed full of vendors offering silver bullet solutions, many do little to fix the underlying challenge that leads to breaches: cyber hygiene.
Fortunately, Tanium offers organizations the visibility and control they need to support cyber hygiene and close off critical avenues of attack. We sat down recently with Nathan Peters, Operations Manager at ProNet Designs, to hear more.
The source of the problem
Ransomware dominates the current threat landscape — for good reason. Attacks have spiked an estimated 102% over the past year, and global damage is projected to reach a staggering $20 billion in 2021. While there are multiple attack vectors, many breaches come about due to unpatched or misconfigured IT assets. The latest campaign, driving a new variant known as LockFile, works by exploiting so-called “ProxyShell” bugs in Microsoft Exchange server.
In this context, ignoring cyber hygiene is akin to abandoning basic due diligence, according to Peters.
“It’s like not locking your car door at the mall. Yes, the doors are shut, but someone can still open them,” he argues. “Not knowing how healthy or otherwise your environment is just leaves the door open to greater risk and broadens the attack surface.”
Unfortunately, today that attack surface is larger than ever thanks to investments in cloud infrastructure and applications during the pandemic and an explosion of remote working endpoints. Yet, organizations of all sizes are finding it difficult to keep track of all their IT assets. A Tanium study from 2020 found that 94% of IT leaders have discovered endpoints in their environment that they were previously unaware of, and 71% do so on a weekly basis.
The mid-sized organizations that ProNet Designs helps often have fewer resources to throw at the problem, and business priorities that take precedence over cybersecurity, Peters explains.
“Generally, they’re focused on their operations, their products and selling to customers,” he says. “They don’t have a Security Operations Center, or Red, Blue or Purple Teams to tell them what’s wrong.”
Where Tanium and ProNet Designs are helping
So what’s the key to successful cyber hygiene? It all boils down to gaining comprehensive visibility into the organization’s endpoint assets and bringing any rogue systems under management. And then it’s about control: the ability to remediate at scale to fix any unpatched or misconfigured endpoints.
This is what ProNet Designs does for its customers using the Tanium platform.
“We take Tanium to show what assets they have, what is patched, whether it’s in compliance and configured right,” explains Peters. “We also use Tanium to look at their network and check if any ports are open that shouldn’t be. It helps us to see what an attacker could leverage and lock it down.”
Tanium is also helping Peters and his team enhance IT forensics and reporting — providing the clarity and confidence they need to support longer-term risk mitigation for customers.
“It’s not just about asset management and patching. Tanium also enables you to go back in history to see what happened,” he concludes. “It gives you confidence: to understand how exposed you became and to make better decisions to prevent the same thing happening in the future.”
Learn more about the essentials of cyber hygiene and find out what’s on your network with a cyber hygiene assessment today.