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What is CIS Controls v8?

The CIS Critical Security Controls v8 are important guidelines for cybersecurity. They help organizations protect themselves better against cyber threats. These guidelines have been updated to keep up with recent technology trends like using more cloud services, virtual systems, mobile devices, outsourcing tasks, and employees working from home. Let’s dive in.

1. Inventory and Control of Enterprise Assets

Why It’s Important: Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of all your company's assets is crucial. An effective ITAM tool automates this process, giving you a real-time view of all assets in your network. This means no more surprises or frantic searches when you need to locate a specific asset.

What You Can Do: Implement an ITAM tool that automatically discovers and tracks all assets on your network. This way, you can say goodbye to manually updating spreadsheets and always have a clear picture of what you own and where it is.

2. Inventory and Control of Software Assets

Why It’s Important: With cyber threats on the rise, it's essential to ensure that only authorized software is running on your network. ITAM software helps maintain an accurate inventory and prevents unauthorized applications from causing harm.

What You Can Do: Use your ITAM software for application authorization. This way, only pre-approved software can be installed, significantly reducing the risk of malicious software infiltrating your network.

3. Data Protection

Why It’s Important: Protecting sensitive data is more than a compliance issue. It's a business priority. ITAM tools can help classify data based on sensitivity and apply necessary encryption, safeguarding it from unauthorized access.

What You Can Do: Regularly review your data classification and encryption standards through your ITAM system to ensure that your most sensitive data is always protected.

4. Secure Configuration of Enterprise Assets and Software

Why It’s Important: Your IT assets need to be securely configured to protect against threats. ITAM software can assist in establishing and maintaining these secure configurations.

What You Can Do: Utilize ITAM tools for regular updates and management of security configurations, ensuring that your assets are always in line with the latest security standards.

5. Account Management

Why It’s Important: Managing user accounts effectively is key to preventing unauthorized access. ITAM software can streamline this process by implementing role-based access control and regularly auditing user accounts.

What You Can Do: Set up your ITAM software to enforce least privilege access and conduct periodic reviews to ensure that access rights are current and appropriate.

6. Access Control Management

Why It’s Important: Strong access control is a cornerstone of good security posture. ITAM software can enforce policies like multi-factor authentication and strong password requirements.

What You Can Do: Regularly review and update your access control policies within your ITAM system to adapt to new security challenges.

7. Continuous Vulnerability Management

Why It’s Important: Staying ahead of vulnerabilities is an ongoing battle. An ITAM solution with integrated vulnerability scanning tools can provide continuous monitoring and prompt patch management.

What You Can Do: Schedule regular scans and prioritize patching of identified vulnerabilities using your ITAM system.

8. Audit Log Management

Why It’s Important: Effective management and analysis of audit logs are critical for detecting and responding to incidents. ITAM software can centralize this process, making log management more efficient.

What You Can Do: Implement a centralized log management system within your ITAM tool and conduct regular reviews to spot anomalies.

9. Email and Web Browser Protections

Why It's Important: In an era where email and web-based threats are rampant, safeguarding these channels is crucial for your business. A single successful phishing attack can compromise sensitive data and tarnish your company's reputation. Implementing powerful protections for email and web browsers is a proactive step in safeguarding your operations.

What You Can Do: Use advanced email filtering and secure browser settings to minimize risks from phishing and other online threats.

10. Malware Defenses

Why It's Important: Malware can disrupt business operations, lead to data loss, and cause significant financial damage. Ensuring your systems are protected against malware is a critical step in maintaining business continuity and safeguarding your data.

What You Can Do: Regularly update your endpoint protection platforms and ensure malware definitions are current to combat new threats effectively.

11. Data Recovery

Why It's Important: Data is the foundation of your business. The ability to recover data swiftly following a loss or corruption incident is crucial to minimize downtime and maintain trust with your clients and partners.

What You Can Do: Regularly back up data and rigorously test recovery procedures to ensure you can quickly recover from data loss incidents.

12. Network Infrastructure Management

Why It's Important: Your network infrastructure is the backbone of your business operations. Secure and effective management of network devices is essential to prevent unauthorized access and ensure the smooth running of your business.

What You Can Do: Utilize network management systems and monitor for unauthorized changes to maintain a secure and efficient network.

13. Network Monitoring and Defense

Why It's Important: Monitoring your network is vital to detect and respond to threats swiftly. Timely identification of suspicious activities can prevent potential breaches and protect your business's integrity.

What You Can Do: Deploy intrusion detection systems and conduct thorough network traffic analysis to identify and react to unusual activities.

14. Security Awareness and Skills Training

Why It's Important: Your employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats. Educating them about potential risks and best practices is essential for building a resilient cybersecurity culture in your business.

What You Can Do: Provide ongoing training sessions and conduct phishing simulations to enhance your team's threat recognition and response capabilities.

15. Service Provider Management

Why It's Important: Third-party vendors can pose significant security risks to your business. Managing these risks effectively is essential to ensure that your service providers do not become a weak link in your security setup.

What You Can Do: Perform thorough security assessments of your vendors and include stringent security requirements in contracts.

16. Application Software Security

Why It's Important: The security of your application software directly impacts your business operations and data integrity. Ensuring these applications are developed and maintained securely is key to protecting your assets and client information.

What You Can Do: Implement secure coding practices and regularly conduct security testing on applications to identify and correct vulnerabilities.