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How Data as a Service can Liberate and Mature Your Organization

Perspective

Information is power. But what happens when the data on which decisions are made is incorrect, incomplete and/or out-of-date? From an IT management perspective, it can lead to spiraling cyber risk, compliance challenges, and a deepening of the fault lines which already run between many business units and functions. Large enterprises have enough of these problems already. They need a single source of truth around which to unify.

This is where Tanium can be leveraged to great effect. And it shouldn’t even require multiple users to be trained to use the product. By delivering data as a service, IT security managers can create a force multiplier for Tanium that could liberate and mature their organization.

Siloed and struggling

Large enterprises can be baffling to the uninitiated outsider. After perhaps decades of M&A activity and organic growth, they’re often run more like multiple, sometimes competing, businesses with different workplace cultures and attitudes to cyber risk. That makes managing this risk extremely challenging. We calculated that global organizations on average run 43 discrete tools to manage their IT security and operations environments. Specific teams and business units coalesce around specific tools, creating coverage gaps and exacerbating organizational silos.

This would be bad news at any time. But it’s especially unwelcome when organizations are struggling to manage complex, distributed endpoint environments spanning everything from home working laptops to cloud-based containers. They’re further hamstrung by dwindling in-house skills, especially those spanning multiple cloud providers, and determined threat actors actively scanning for misconfigured and unpatched systems.

The power of certainty

The problem with data silos is obvious. Each team is working from a different set of data, leading to coverage gaps and operational mistakes, which do nothing but increase corporate risk exposure. This is where the power of Tanium’s linear chain architecture comes in.

Delivering comprehensive coverage of the entire distributed endpoint environment, Tanium enables users to ask simple questions of hundreds of thousands of machines and receive a clear answer back in just minutes.

This power of certainty can help organizations to close coverage gaps and gain the visibility and control on which agile and highly effective cyber risk management strategies can be built. Once you’ve got Tanium on board, it’s no time to ring-fence access to the information it provides — as much as workplace politics might demand it. Sharing what you know as widely as possible is the way to:

  • Support a single source of truth
  • Understand all of your assets
  • Automate operations from discovery to management
  • Index and monitor sensitive data in seconds
  • Empower better decision making
  • Drive more effective compliance programs
  • Reduce cyber risk and associated financial/reputational damage

Farmer versus chef

But how do you disseminate these powerful capabilities? By taking a step back and simplifying. Consider this analogy. If you go to a restaurant, you don’t ask for a list of 10 ingredients. Instead, you order a pre-prepared meal. Similarly, line of business (LoB) users might come to the IT/security team asking for a pre-prepared and enriched set of information: e.g., “where are all the vulnerable endpoints in my organization, and how long do I have to patch?”

The challenge is that if you put that chef’s hat on, it’s going to be pretty difficult to serve all the people asking for these meals. Instead, think more like a farmer; give them all the ingredients they need to make the meal themselves. And with Tanium, you have the ideal harvester of this data.

This is what I call “data as a service.” It takes less than 10 minutes to set up one of these feeds and add OLAs and SLAs to ensure the recipient is adequately supplied with information each day. It means there’s no bottleneck slowing down delivery: whatever cadence the recipient wants to receive data, they can. It might be once per week or, when a critical bug needs to be urgently patched, a refresh every four hours. By following the farmer model, business logic on how the data is filtered and normalized can be changed after delivery. And no recipient has to be trained in using the console first.

It’s about democratizing the power of Tanium throughout the organization. That’s the route to a more mature enterprise risk management posture.


Listen to this Security Weekly podcast to hear more on the value of data as a service. To learn how Tanium can help, contact us today.

Tim Morris

Tim Morris is a Technology Strategist at Tanium. An expert in cyber threat engineering, he builds teams and programs that solve security problems and streamline operations.