Recent security compliance matrixes required by the DoD such as the NIST 800-171 have caused stress and anxiety for companies that need to be compliant. However, even though being compliant may seem like a monumental task, it’s becoming a standard of practice for businesses that want to secure their systems. Software Asset Management (SAM) and security rely on each other when implementing and adhering to the NIST security controls. Not only do effective SAM practices protect Covered Defense Information (CDI), but they also increase the security of your own company’s data. And when cyber-attacks can cost companies an average of $20 million a year, it’s important to pair good software asset management with effective security practices. So here are 5 of the ways that you can avoid a security crisis by using good SAM practices.
(1) SAM identifies unauthorized software
ahead of time
Part of SAM best practices include maintaining a list of authorized software from which those within your company can choose to employ. A software catalog such as this not only has great functionality, but also provides a check point before any software is even downloaded. This prevents unauthorized software before it’s even installed. If you include maintenance of a software catalog as part of your regular SAM process, you will prevent many potential security breaches. Another important preventative measure that falls under the umbrella of software asset management and security is incorporating a security and SAM advisor as part of the team when purchasing new software solutions. This further ensures that only authorized software will be purchased and utilized across the company.
(2) SAM identifies faulty software and ensures currency
Another important part of SAM that is both practical and increases the security of your company is software maintenance and relevancy. SAM identifies software that needs to be patched at specified intervals, preventing potential data breaches. Following SAM best practices guarantees that all software programs are kept current. Out-of-date software is not only less functional but less secure. It is imperative to keep your company’s software well-maintained and up-to-date in order to protect your clients’ information and data. Data security infractions can have long-term consequence like costing your organization its valuable reputation.
(3) SAM identifies outdated software, enforces relevancy, and blasts security alerts
With the right SAM processes, your company will have a more complete picture of what software is running. This will help you ensure that security patches and anti-viruses are applied system-wide. Furthermore, effective SAM procedures will increase the efficiency of roll-out schedules and minimize disruption to your business. Finally, the best SAM protocols will make sure that your software is up-to-date and will automatically identify which software assets and licenses are out of date then notify management team leaders. Having the most current version of your software is key to ensuring your data is protected.
(4) The convergence of Security and SAM can optimize user access to systems from both a security and licensing perspective
In addition, the information collected by an efficient SAM program can help ensure your company is compliant with licensing requirements. Not only is this financially beneficial as unused licenses can be harvested for use elsewhere, but it can also protect your company against risk of auditing from the vendors that issued the licenses. SAM programs provide real-time data that shows exactly how many licenses are being used by your company, a benefit both from a security and license compliance standpoint.
(5) The integration of security as part of a formal SAM request process can prevent insecure software before it’s installed
Earlier, we touched on ways that SAM and security can partner together in preventative ways to avoid unauthorized software. Another great way to accomplish this goal besides merely creating a catalog of acceptable software is to implement a formal software request process for the purchase or downloading of new software. While there may be some renegades that make it through this, the number will be far less than without the formal SAM request process. Additionally, the rogue software that does slip through the cracks can be targeted more specifically with automated security tools which discover, report, and remove unwanted software.
Enterprise Integration, in our partnership with Eracent, offers automated solutions that help customers track hardware and software assets. ITMC DiscoveryTM delivers comprehensive lifecycle management including license allocations and reconciliation, infrastructure monitoring and alerts along with a configurable dashboard to track assets and tasks. This solution also generates reports allowing your organization to perform continuous internal compliance audits. With Eracent’s offerings combined with Enterprise Integrations’ Service Delivery IntelligenceTM (SDI) companies can discover, map, and visualize all core components and know the health of the total business technology supply chain. The Digital Robotics Engine (DRE) is another solution from Enterprise Integration that provides enterprise monitoring, alert management, event correlation and aggregation, a real-time capture and normalization of system logs, and utilizes load balancing for scalability and performance.
Knowing more about ITAM and what automated solutions are available allows you to make the process more effective within your organization.