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15 posts

Verizon’s DBIR Highlights Key Drivers of Security Risk

It’s that time of the year when Verizon updates us on the latest trends in the global threat landscape with its Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). The findings in this year’s report are based on data provided by more than 70 sources (including Qualys) about more than 41,000 security incidents, including more than 2,000 confirmed data breaches, across a variety of geographies (over 80 countries) and industries. A privileged observation point indeed.

While the very informative 78-page report touches on a wide range of areas,  I’ll focus on three that are particularly relevant for Qualys customers:

  • Who are hackers’ preferred targets, and why
  • The importance of reducing both the time it takes to discover security problems, such as vulnerabilities or breaches, and the time it takes to fix them
  • How lack of visibility, human error and careless misconfigurations heighten organizations’ security risks

Read on to learn more about the evolution (or is it “EVILution”) of the threat landscape in the past year, and find out about recommended actions.

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Know What’s on Your Network at All Times with Qualys Asset Inventory

Qualys has just launched a global IT asset inventory solution that offers full visibility across even the most hybrid, complex and distributed IT environments, addressing a challenge many security and IT teams face today.

When IT directors and CISOs look at their digitally transformed networks, they encounter many shadows that their legacy enterprise software tools can’t illuminate. These blind spots often include cloud workloads, containers, IoT systems, mobile devices, remote endpoints, and Operational Technology wares.

Because full visibility is essential for security, this foggy, fragmented view of a network makes the organization vulnerable to cyber attacks. Qualys Global IT Asset Inventory (AI) provides complete, continuous, structured and enriched asset inventory in hybrid environments.

“This is a really big deal because it’s the basis of security: If you don’t know what you have, you can’t secure it,” says Qualys Chief Product Officer Sumedh Thakar.

Justin Bendl, Senior Manager for Security & Compliance at Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, says that Qualys AI has begun to assist the bank in expanding automation that provides real-time visibility into the completeness and accuracy of software assets.

“This automation is enhancing the bank’s overall control environment and further mitigating risks in a proactive manner,” Bendl says.

Philippe Courtot, Qualys Chairman and CEO, highlights the benefits of Qualys AI’s full integration with the Qualys Cloud Platform. “You will know instantly what assets connect to your network, and be able to assess their security and compliance posture in real-time, giving you unprecedented and essential visibility,” says.

Read on to learn more details about Qualys Global IT Asset Inventory and the use cases it’s designed for.

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How New Passive Network Sensor Boosts Platform Capabilities

Black Hat attendees got a peek at Qualys Passive Network Sensor (PNS), a product that amplifies the already comprehensive IT asset visibility Qualys provides to its customers. By adding real-time network analysis to Qualys’ versatile set of sensors, PNS eliminates blind spots across IT environments through continuous traffic monitoring.

“Now you have instant visibility into every single asset that’s communicating on your network,” said Qualys’ Chief Product Officer Sumedh Thakar during a presentation on Passive Network Sensor at the conference.

The sensor extends the Qualys Cloud Platform’s broad spectrum of integrated security and compliance capabilities, further reducing Qualys customers’ needs for multi-vendor point products that are costly to manage and integrate.

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QSC18 Virtual Edition: Global IT Asset Discovery, Inventory, and Management

Maintaining an IT asset inventory is essential for a strong security posture, but digital transformation has further complicated this already challenging task.

“The volume and variety of assets, including cloud, virtualization, mobility and IoT, is disrupting IT, and security takes center stage,” Pablo Quiroga, a Qualys Director of Product Management, said during QSC18 Virtual Edition.

Consequently, many security teams can’t definitively answer questions like: What are your IT assets? Where are they located? Who are their owners and users? How are assets related?

Having asset-inventory blind spots heightens security risks, which is why most regulations and standards highlight this practice. For instance, the Center for Internet Security’s Top 20 controls begin with inventory and control of hardware and software, because attackers constantly look to exploit vulnerable assets.

In his presentation, titled “Global IT Asset Discovery, Inventory, and Management,” Quiroga explained the importance of a complete and accurate inventory, and how Qualys can help. Read on to learn more.

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Continuous Security and Compliance Monitoring for Global IT Assets

In today’s information security world, all assets everywhere must be detected, visible, protected and compliant — all the time. It’s no longer enough to rely on “point in time” security and compliance assessments, such as scheduled weekly or monthly scans on handpicked critical servers.

“You must transition to continuous security and compliance monitoring of all of your global IT assets,” Chris Carlson, a Vice President of Product Management at Qualys, said during a recent webcast.

The reasons for this shift are many and varied, and include these three key ones:

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Countdown to GDPR: Get 20/20 Visibility Into Your IT Assets

Anyone questioning the importance of IT asset visibility in an organization’s security and compliance postures ought to review the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect next year.

With the severe requirements the GDPR places on how a business handles the personal data of EU residents, it’s clear a comprehensive IT asset inventory is a must for compliance.

Specifically, companies must know what personal data they hold on these individuals, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and for what purposes it’s being used.

In this second installment of our blog series on GDPR readiness, we’ll explain how organizations need full visibility into all hardware and software involved in the processing, transmission, analysis and storage of this personal data, so they’re able to protect it and account for it as required by the regulation.

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No More Tears: WannaCry Highlights Importance of Prompt Vulnerability Detection, Remediation

It didn’t have to happen.

That’s the simple yet profound lesson from WannaCry’s ransomware rampage that has infected 300,000-plus systems in more than 150 countries, disrupting critical operations across industries, including healthcare, government, transportation and finance.

If vulnerable systems had been patched and maintained as part of a proactive and comprehensive system configuration and vulnerability management program, the attack would have been a dud, barely registering on anyone’s InfoSec radar.

“WannaCry was totally preventable with the proper patching and the proper build configurations,” Qualys’ Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said during a webcast this week. “That’s a reminder to all of us that you didn’t have to be a victim.”

There are various workarounds for mitigating the underlying WannaCry vulnerability, but those are stopgap measures. “The primary way to remediate this vulnerability is through disciplined and timely patching,” Qualys Product Management Director Jimmy Graham said during the webcast, titled “How to Rapidly Identify Assets at Risk to WannaCry Ransomware.”

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For GDPR Readiness, You Need Visibility into Your IT Assets

The looming deadline for complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is shining the spotlight on a foundational InfoSec best practice: A comprehensive IT asset inventory.

The reason: GDPR places strict requirements on the way a business handles the personal data of EU residents. For example, companies must know what information they hold on these individuals, where it’s kept, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and for what purposes it’s being used.

An organization can’t expect to comply with GDPR if it lacks full visibility into the IT assets — hardware and software — that it’s using to process, transmit, analyze and store this data.

“If you don’t know what IT assets you’ve got, how can you effectively find the data on your network that you need to meet GDPR requirements?” said Darron Gibbard, Qualys’ Chief Technical Security Officer for the EMEA region, during a recent webcast.

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SANS Study: To Take On New InfoSec Challenges, First Get the Basics Right

A major challenge for enterprise InfoSec teams is keeping their finger on the pulse of two constantly changing elements: external cyber threats and internal technology needs.

Staying a step ahead and proactively adjusting their organization’s security posture accordingly is a must in order to keep attack risks as low as possible. So what are the major shifts in threats and business technology use that CISOs and their staff face in 2017? And how should they respond to these changes?

You will find comprehensive answers to those and other critical InfoSec questions in a new SANS Institute whitepaper written by security analyst John Pescatore.

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Making Asset Inventory Actionable With a Cloud-Based System

As we’ve discussed in this blog series on automated IT asset inventory, having — or regaining — unobstructed visibility of your IT environment is key for a strong security and compliance posture.

We met Max, the CISO of a large manufacturer, whose organization progressively lost this visibility, as it adopted cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, IoT and other digital transformation technologies.

AssetView_Overview_v2_crop_searchbarWith the company’s IT environment upended and its network perimeter blurred, Max and the InfoSec team recovered control with a cloud-based, automated IT asset inventory system. This successful solution featured six key elements. In the previous posts, we addressed the first three:

This means that you need a complete and continuously updated list of IT assets, as well as granular security, compliance and system details on each one.

In this post, we’ll explain the next two requirements for an effective cloud-based IT asset inventorying system:

  • Asset criticality rankings
  • Dashboarding and reporting

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