Network security monitoring tools are a critical component of any IT security toolkit. These tools help protect your network from online threats by looking for weaknesses and potential dangers in your organization's digital properties.
But as digital ecosystems have expanded into the cloud, remote locations, and across geographies – the number of monitoring tools has skyrocketed. According to a survey by 451 Research, the average IT and security team uses between 10 and 30 monitoring tools for applications, network infrastructures, and cloud environments – with 8% using between 21 and 30 tools!
Isolated solutions can increase visibility. However, security staff may be overwhelmed by the amount of data and notifications. This can lead to them overlooking something important.
So, what are the most appropriate network security monitoring tools for the job? Let’s look at three tools and strategies organizations can use to effectively mitigate risk.
1. Continuously monitor your entire digital ecosystem - in a centralized way
Bad actors are constantly mastering new breach techniques and targeting emerging vulnerabilities. Your organization needs to move with the same agility. Gone are the days when a one-and-done annual audit of your security systems was enough. Today you must continuously monitor for cyber risk.
Continuous monitoring technology consistently and automatically scans your growing attack surface, providing dashboard views about the daily security posture of each digital asset and security vulnerabilities on your network. It will not take long to identify areas that are susceptible to attack, the types of user activities that could lead to a security breach, what has already been infiltrated, and what breaches have taken place.
You can also discover where cyber risk is concentrated and prioritize those assets for further investigation and remediation.
A key benefit of this approach is that a single, centralized tool gives you visibility across your entire attack surface – on-premises, in the cloud, and across geographies, subsidiaries, and business units. With this unified and integrated view of cyber risk you can more effectively take control of risk exposure – without succumbing to tool sprawl.
2. Change how you measure cybersecurity performance
When you report on the effectiveness of your cybersecurity program to the board or C-suite, it’s likely that there’s some disconnect. Perhaps you come prepared to discuss the security controls you have in place and how many incidents your team has intercepted. But these insights don’t help senior executives understand where security risks are in the organization or where more investment and resources are needed.
Instead of communicating the same KPIs about the nature of your company’s security apparatus, you must deliver digestible metrics and threat intelligence that clearly communicate your organization’s cybersecurity situation.
It is essential to possess the necessary instruments to demonstrate to upper management how your company is adequately prepared to protect itself from potential cyber-attacks in a way that makes sense to them.
For instance, Bitsight Executive Reports lets you quickly pull metrics that reframe the conversation about cybersecurity into one about business risk. You can present information on how many vulnerabilities you have in your digital infrastructure and their severity – i.e., their likelihood of contributing to a breach. This makes it easier for executives and board members to make more informed decisions about where investments and resources are needed.
They won’t make those decisions without current data, however. That's where Bitsight Security Ratings come into play.
By using a standard security rating, like a credit score, you can automatically summarize your organization's cyber risk and performance – over time and in real-time – to show how changes in investments and remediation techniques are truly working. This can be a game-changer for gaining buy-in for your security initiatives, securing budget, and helping your team better manage cyber risk.
3. Monitor and quantify cyber risk financial terms
Continuous monitoring is key to discovering where risk lies, but you also need to know which network vulnerabilities are the riskiest or could result in the most financial damage if breached.
Rather than best guess which risks could do the most damage to your organization, use Bitsight’s powerful monitoring and cyber risk modeling technology to financially quantify the impact of a breach.
With Bitsight, you can simulate your organization’s financial exposure across thousands of cyber events, including ransomware, denial of service, compliance issues, supply chain attacks, and more. Understand this concept and you can collaborate with your executives to make better decisions about risk. Identify what to accept, mitigate, or transfer and prioritize where to direct your team's efforts.
Escape network monitoring tool sprawl
Adopting too many network security monitoring tools can result in a flood of conflicting data, inefficiencies, and significant security management challenges. Having too many tools also hampers visibility – the key objective of any monitoring solution.
To curtail the issues that can arise from tool sprawl, take a data-driven and continuous approach to security monitoring. One that centralizes the process of automatic risk discovery, quantification, prioritization, and reporting.