Why Asset Visibility Has Become Table Stakes for IoT Device Security

Securing IoT devices can be challenging, especially compared to traditional IT equipment. Their distributed nature often results in poor asset visibility for security and IT teams, creating security risks. According to Forrester’s Top Trends In IoT Security In 2024, most organizations aren’t sure how many IoT devices they have.  

An unmanaged IoT device can be an easy target for a malicious actor. Unfortunately, traditional methods of inventorying and categorizing IT equipment are often insufficient for IoT devices. The term “unmanaged” devices has come to mean any IoT or OT that is too difficult to manage using standard IT tools. These devices are usually deployed at a frequency greater than what old inventory methods can handle, and active scanners may fail to recognize IoT devices on the network. With nearly 16.3 billion IoT connections worldwide, it’s critical that organizations understand not only how many connected devices they have but also if any of those devices are vulnerable.

Increased asset visibility helps to reduce security blindspots that can otherwise lead to cyberattacks. It also helps to reduce administrative costs, improve the procurement process, and more effectively manage IT budgets using data-driven insights that identify necessary technology investments. Visibility of your assets has become table stakes for core functionality necessary to actually reduce risk like vulnerability management, threat detection, and utilization planning.

Benefits of Asset Visibility

Asset visibility refers to an organization’s capabilities to track and monitor all assets on the network and involves knowing their location, status, and condition. Asset visibility is also a crucial component of managing and mitigating cyber threats, as organizations can’t protect what they can’t find. 

Threat Detection

With visibility into the various manufacturers and device types, organizations gain insight into their current technology investments to identify where potential risks might lie. Inventorying IoT assets can also identify potential security incidents by revealing: 

  • Botnets resident on the network
  • Insights into your organization’s boundaries and trends across business units or functional area
  • Indicators of compromise that may point to an in-progress cyber attack
  • Anomalous behavior, like a typically light IoT user, such as HR, having more activity than a high IoT environment, like a manufacturing floor

When security teams have access to high-fidelity information and alerts that cover the totality of a network, they can detect attacks faster and make better decisions, potentially mitigating the severity of a cyberattack.

Vulnerability Management and End-of-Life Status

When organizations deploy new IoT devices, they increase their attack surface, which is the totality of all possible entry points a malicious user can try to compromise to gain access to a network or information.

Asset visibility is the source of truth for IoT devices as it helps baseline behavior for threat detection and vulnerability mitigation. Threat actors routinely target unpatched, vulnerable devices to gain initial access to a network, and in 2023, vulnerability exploitation nearly tripled. The longer a threat actor remains undetected in a system, the more damage they can cause, such as stealing sensitive information or moving laterally to compromise other systems. When organizations have visibility into all IoT devices and associated software, they can identify potential security issues and take preventative steps to avoid a cyberattack.

Increased asset visibility also helps reveal which devices are end-of-life (EOL), meaning the manufacturer no longer supports them. This enables organizations to effectively budget for replacement devices.

Utilization Planning

Utilization involves inventorying how often a machine is used. For healthcare organizations that use IoT devices, utilization monitoring is helpful for healthcare capital planning and for gaining insights into equipment location and usage. 

The Asimily IoMT Risk Management platform offers granular insight into utilization metrics and machine location. Utilization can help organizations justify deviation from the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) recommended maintenance activities and intervals. Higher utilization often correlates with impact scores for a vulnerability, which can increase its remediation priority for well-attuned organizations.

How to Increase Asset Visibility with IoT Inventory

Asset visibility begins with a comprehensive and robust IoT inventory. Unfortunately, organizations may hesitate to undertake an IoT device inventory due to concerns over cost or a perception that the process is time-intensive. A 2023 G2 survey found that approximately 64% of organizations lack accurate IoT inventories.

A robust IoT device inventory will contain information about every connected device on the network, such as: 

  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Operating system, firmware, and software
  • Configurations

Device classification is helpful for further organizing, managing, and optimizing IoT devices within an organization’s inventory. Classifying devices allows organizations to gain a more granular view of the device type, connectivity protocol, and application domain. Proper device classification can also aid with compliance and regulatory standards.

It can be challenging to locate IoT devices using traditional inventory methods. Asimily identifies devices safely based on their network traffic. With the industry’s best protocol analyzer, deep packet inspection (DPI), and AI/ML-based traffic analysis, Asimily finds and classifies each new device into a family, along with all apps, services, and connections.

When organizations constantly update and accurately inventory their IoT devices and traditional assets, they are well-prepared to proactively manage and mitigate cyber threats. It’s important to note that networks are not static. IoT device inventories are a journey, not a destination, and should be performed continuously. 

How Asimiliy Supports Increased Asset Vulnerability

Savvy security teams know that device configurations drift and new devices appear suddenly, and they prepare for it. With Asimily, inventory and visibility of IoT devices become the starting point for risk reduction. 

Asimily is designed with IoT devices in mind, monitoring network traffic to and from IoT devices, continuously scanning your network to automatically detect any IoT devices, and ensuring your inventory remains current. When it locates a device, it surfaces the model, firmware version, MAC address, other data or applications, and any possible vulnerabilities.

Asimily customers are 10x more efficient because the engine can pinpoint and prioritize the top 2% of problem devices that are High Risk (having both a High Likelihood of exploitation and High Impact if compromised). Asimily’s recommendations are built for easy deployment. When the recommendation involves a change to networks, there is a seamless integration with NACs, firewalls, or other network enforcement solutions.

Asimily’s inventory and vulnerability detection capabilities ensure you can identify unknown assets and apply mitigations. In the event of a cyberattack, our platform, with its rapid response features, quickly captures packets to aid incident responders. With Asimily, security teams can keep a handle on their IoT attack surface and ensure they are as safe as possible, providing a sense of reassurance and security.

To learn more about Asimily, download our whitepaper, IoT Device Security in 2024: The High Cost of Doing Nothing, or contact us today.

IoT Device Security in 2024 The High Cost of Doing Nothing | Asimily

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