Today, businesses want better visibility in their critical infrastructure to monitor their IT infrastructure, ensuring it stays secure.
Earlier organizations depended on IT logging because it was their source of truth for any incidences. Like the airplane’s black box that records everything happening in the machine, these IT logs Organizations help to monitor all activities in the It infrastructure too.
While organizations must log the user’s activity in their IT operations, the sheer volumes of operations demand better strategies to track, review and evaluate logs. Security decision-makers need to understand that simply logging will not help to increase the visibility of the critical IT infrastructure or keep it secure.
In this article, let’s explore how security leaders can consider improving their visibility into the IT infrastructure to enhance security. But before jumping into the best practices, let’s understand the differences between logging, visibility, and observability of IT environments.
Logging vs. visibility vs. observability
While these terms might overlap, there is a significant difference between visibility and observability.
Organizations can use the logging approach to generate a documented record of incidents in a particular system or business network. CISOs should consider logging and monitoring as crucial aspects of their operations or cybersecurity strategy. Efficiently tracked logs allow reactions to security incidents, enabling security teams to reconstruct after the incident. SecOps teams must retain the records for as long as possible to enhance security.
CISOs, through visibility, can understand and use log data for enhanced security and better knowledge of critical IT infrastructure.
Usually, organizations gather data from various sources into one central repository to optimize correlation and analytics. Gaining better visibility will help organizations to drive innovation, consider the bigger picture, and ensure better security throughout the critical infrastructure.
Observability concentrates more on DevOps and aims to offer the development teams the right tools and functionalities for logs, metrics, and investigation. Enterprises develop and embrace DevOps to gain agility in their development.
SecOps and DevOps teams can collaborate to form DevSecOps to ensure security is part of the development process, from conceptualization to deployment. The DevOps teams can leverage the discipline of observability to build software for operations that are user-friendly and secure them.
Best practices to get better visibility in critical IT infrastructure
1. CMDB consolidation
Enterprises that want maximum visibility in their critical IT infrastructure can design and implement a comprehensive service-aware configuration management database (CMDB) to gather information on all critical infrastructure and business services throughout the organization.
Service-aware configuration management database is a single source of information that stores configuration-related data. Businesses need a team of leaders to lead their configuration management initiatives for developing a data model. To ensure success, the configuration management team should include stakeholders, application managers, IT asset managers, resources from the incident, workflow, and change management.
2. Use cases prioritization
Once the SecOps teams design the CMDB, they must define the goals based on the organization’s use cases instead of populating the database with multiple infrastructure components. Rather than trying to achieve all the goals at once, SecOps teams should design a well-scoped project.
For instance, security teams can start by evaluating business service impact, managing assets, configuration, or compliance. Security industry veterans suggest one of the best strategies is to keep one or two top-priority goals and achieve them. Once organizations achieve high-priority goals, they can expand their horizon with new goals.
3. Embrace a phased attack plan
The security teams must clearly understand whether they need an agentless or agent-based discovery for their deployments. SecOps teams should understand if they must import data from other tools. After designing a worldwide CMDB, organizations need to populate it.
Consolidating data spread across various spreadsheets and databases can be time-consuming. Hence businesses must consider embracing a staged approach and designing a strategy for gathering data from on-premises, virtual or cloud servers.
4. Embrace automation for infrastructure discovery
Infrastructure discovery plays a crucial role while managing infrastructure and assets, offering in-depth information on components in the business network. This is also essential to organizations’ CMDB because it enables organizations to reveal configuration items (CIs) and their relationship dependencies.
CISOs should consider integrating tools developed for infrastructure discovery that scrutinize each data set, physical host, application, web server, data repository, and other critical IT infrastructure in their IT infrastructure. CISOs can consider embracing automation in this process to populate the CMDB. This approach is quicker than manually collecting data from various sources or executing tools one at a time.
5. Integrating automation for service mapping
SecOps teams need to understand that Infrastructure discovery applications are not service-aware. Neither are the infrastructure discovery tools understand the ways CIs blend to create a business service.
Enterprises that do not have a detailed plan for each service can make it challenging to understand the root cause of service issues. Moreover, without a detailed roadmap, SecOps teams cannot determine the potential influence of the desired change or prioritize challenges. Organizations that map a single business service manually will have time-consuming processes.
Additionally, manual service mapping will not be able to work in dynamic ecosystems that can change daily, like cloud environments. Manual service maps can be inaccurate and invaluable with time, even with stringent change management policies.
CISOs can implement automation tools with inbuilt artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to develop and maintain service maps that offer holistic visibility into services and other dependencies to significantly save time.
6. Update the CMDB data regularly
Enterprises that select and implement automated critical IT infrastructure discovery and service mapping tools will help them to ensure an efficient CMDB data current. CISOs also need to assign a human owner to this proves to evaluate the updates for accuracy and maintain the automation tools.
Critical IT infrastructure visibility will enable organizations to minimize downtime and develop a strong foundation for managing service-centric operations. This strategy will ensure success next stage in the lifecycle for successful technology service operations: availability.
CISOs and SecOps teams can consider the above strategies to ensure their critical IT infrastructure visibility are not exhaustive and enhance the visibility efforts. Hiring and retaining skilled resources will help organizations get better visibility into critical infrastructure security to ensure complete security control.