What is CAASM, and How is it Different From Asset Management?

5 min read
James Mignacca
September 28, 2022
James Mignacca
September 28, 2022
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Data protection, as well as complying with regulatory data privacy requirements, has always been a complex process for the vast majority of organizations. Businesses typically lack the visibility they need to truly succeed in both of these areas.

To make things worse, the threat landscape is changing and expanding every day for the majority of businesses. This is particularly prominent in the last couple of years as work-from-anywhere business models have increased at a significant rate.

In fact, according to a report from Accenture, 63 percent of high-growth companies have adopted work-from-anywhere models.

The rise of the distributed workforce means a company’s IT infrastructure is also distributed. Today’s businesses rely on connected devices, cloud services and distributed hardware. This means one thing, sensitive data is absolutely everywhere and most companies lack visibility into where this data lives.

Yet without visibility into where sensitive data lives, organizations simply cannot protect it. That makes it more vulnerable to cyber threats, especially as these threats are using increasingly sophisticated methods.

Traditional data protection methods that focus on a company’s “walls” are no longer effective. That’s why organizations today must make the transition away from traditional asset management to cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM).

What is asset management?

Asset management in IT is the cataloging and tracking of all hardware used by an organization and its employees. This process is to ensure that all assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgraded and disposed of when necessary.

Assets typically include hardware, software systems, and the information that’s stored across the company’s network.

IT asset management is important for a range of tangible and intangible reasons, including improving asset utilization, eliminating waste, improving employee productivity and enhancing IT reliability.

IT asset management is also incredibly important when it comes to data protection and data privacy compliance efforts.

Businesses that use IT asset management were previously able to better keep track of changes in their tech environment, how devices are performing, and where data lives. However, distributed workforces and IT strategies means this is no longer effective for the vast majority of businesses.

The problem with traditional asset management

In the past, traditional data protection focused on a company’s perimeter and the assets that operated within its “walls”.

But the way in which businesses store data has changed significantly. Work from home and the distributed workforce have changed the way organizations must look at their attack surface. Hybrid work models, cloud storage, device adoption and the Internet of Things are all significantly expanding the average attack surface for companies.

Today, sensitive data is stored absolutely everywhere.

The borderless workplace means companies no longer have “walls”. Instead, they have a limitless attack surface in which every asset collects, stores and shares critical sensitive data that must be managed compliantly and protected from cyber threats.

Without visibility into that data, a company is significantly more vulnerable to cyber threats and data compliance issues. Add new sophisticated methods of attacks to the mix, and businesses can simply no longer rely on traditional asset management approaches.

Asset management technologies do not have the capacity to scan a modern company’s entire environment, leaving blind spots for IT teams. Without data discovery capabilities, these teams have no way of correlating and tracking sensitive data to the assets that house them.

Even when these solutions are able to create an inventory of a company’s assets and vulnerabilities, they’re typically unable to correlate those factors to a risk benchmark to help IT teams prioritize high-risk assets and remediations. This leaves businesses with a vulnerable attack surface.

Asset management has changed. For companies to truly protect their data and ensure they comply with data privacy regulations, implementing a cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) strategy is critical.

What is CAASM?

One of the ways to overcome these challenges is through the implementation of cyber asset attack surface management, commonly known as CAASM.

CAASM, in its simplest definition, aims at solving the challenge of gaining and maintaining full visibility of a company’s assets through a single pane of glass. By auditing the data and assets that a business has, cyber asset attack surface management establishes risk benchmarks that allow a company’s IT team to focus their data protection efforts on their most vulnerable and valuable assets.

So, how exactly does a CAASM solution do this? Cyber asset attack surface management combines solutions such as data discovery and data classification to ensure organizations have complete visibility into where their data lives, how it’s being used, what their existing attack surface looks like and the state of their security maturity.

Having complete visibility to where your sensitive data lives is the first step in understanding your company’s attack surface.

Are you interested in learning more about how to better protect your company’s attack surface, and how CAASM can help you do that?

Request a demo to learn more about CAASM strategy and whether CAASM technologies are right for your business.

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