3 Ways to Map your Digital Footprint to Better Assess Cyber Risk

Mapping digital footprint

Defending against cybersecurity threats is more complex than in years past. As your organization increases its reliance on digital technologies and cloud software to remain competitive and enable new ways of working, getting a handle on the risk hidden across digital assets in the cloud, and across geographies, subsidiaries, a remote workforce, and your supply chain isn't easy. After all, you can’t secure what you can’t see.

For this reason, a critical first step to building and maintaining an effective cybersecurity program is to map your organization’s complete digital footprint so you can get a handle on the cyber risk and understand where improvement is needed.

Consider these three best practices for mapping your digital footprint and using these insights to better assess cyber risk and drive continuous improvement in your security program.

1. Visualize your expanding digital footprint

Gaining visibility into the digital assets that comprise your large and disparate IT environment isn’t easy. But it’s essential. When you have a complete view of these assets and the risk associated with each – such as vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and more – you can make more strategic decisions about where to prioritize remediation efforts and tighten security controls.

One way to do this is to use a trusted data scanning technology like Bitsight Attack Surface Analytics. With Bitsight, you can automatically and continuously discover and segment the assets, applications, and devices that comprise your growing digital footprint – whether they are located on-premise, at remote locations, in the cloud, or even shadow IT.

A centralized dashboard outlines the location of all assets – broken down by cloud provider, geography, and business unit – and the corresponding cyber risk associated with individual assets. Bitsight also overlays views so that you can quickly identify assets that represent the greatest proportion of risk, like a misconfigured web firewall on an AWS instance that stores sensitive employee or customer data.

With this outside-in view of your digital footprint, you can see your network the way a hacker does and prioritize remediation efforts accordingly.

2. Add cybersecurity scanning to vendor and employee onboarding

According to Gartner, 60% of organizations will use cybersecurity risk as a primary determinant in conducting third-party transactions and business engagements. But traditional approaches to assessing vendors during the onboarding process typically involve security questionnaires and vendor self-assessments. While these practices have their place, they are limited by their subjectivity. And, because assessments only offer a point-in-time view of third-party risk, they don’t account for historical cyber incidents or emerging vulnerabilities in your supply chain.

As your organization relies on a growing network of vendors and partners to digitally transform and remain competitive, it must find a way to automatically and effectively scan each vendor for cyber risk.

For instance, using Bitsight for Third-Party Risk Management, you’ll gain an immediate, near real-time view of each third party’s overall security posture. Bitsight also takes into consideration historical security performance so you gain a more complete picture of how a vendor manages their security program. If past cyber incidents are uncovered, security and risk management teams should consider further due diligence.

And don’t forget new hires. Work from home practices make organizations susceptible to new hire fraud. Even with stringent review, many organizations don’t have the mechanisms in place to ensure the person they’re hiring is always the individual logging into the corporate network. Multi-factor authentication controls can help mitigate this risk, but more sophisticated technologies like biometric ID proofing also make it easier for a company to verify an employee or contractor’s identity without significant cost.

3. Focus on continuous improvement using a variety of data points

Because new vulnerabilities and threats are always emerging, take steps to continuously monitor and measure security performance across your digital footprint. Only with this insight can you better identify the standards of care your organization must attain.

An effective way to assess cyber risk is to use Bitsight Security Ratings. Security ratings are a data-driven measurement of your enterprise-wide security performance. Findings are presented as a numerical score (like a credit score) ranging in value from 250 to 900, with a higher rating equaling better cybersecurity performance. Keeping an eye on your rating overtime is an effective way to measure and quantify cyber risk and communicate your organization’s cyber readiness in terms that all stakeholders can understand.

You can also add additional context to security ratings with Bitsight Peer Analytics. With this powerful tool you can quickly assess how your security program is performing compared to your industry peers, where your program falls short, and what security targets you should strive to achieve to reduce risk across your digital footprint.

Boost Cybersecurity ROI

Once you have the necessary visibility into your ever expanding digital footprint, you can feel confident that you are allocating limited resources to the program areas that will lead to the biggest ROI—making it easier than ever to align security to the business, reduce cyber risk, and maintain customer trust.

Video: Spectris uses BitSight’s SPM solution to prioritize risk mitigation in their growing subsidiary network

See how Bitsight customer Spectris used Bitsight Security Ratings to manage risk throughout their growing M&A network and improve cybersecurity practices across the business.