IT hygiene are security best practices that ensure that digital assets in an organization’s environment are secure and running properly. Good IT hygiene includes vulnerability management, security configuration assessments, maintenance of asset and system inventories, and comprehensive visibility into activities taking place in the environment.
As technology advances and the tools used by cybercriminals and cybersecurity professionals evolve, the strategies used to carry out cyberattacks differ based on their complexity and uniqueness. Threat actors are constantly targeting organizations that practice poor IT hygiene to exploit known security weaknesses and human error. Security administrators can survive cyber attacks by exercising kindness IT hygiene practices such as whitelisting programs, updating the system, and more.
Gaining complete visibility into IT assets is fundamental to developing an effective security strategy. The appearance of shadow IT, such as malicious assets, software, or user accounts, can create blind spots that threat actors can use as attack vectors. IT hygiene practices address visibility issues, ensuring IT assets are adequately protected thereby reducing the attack surface.
A common problem faced by organizations practicing poor IT hygiene
Following are some of the problems organizations face as a result of poor IT hygiene:
- Exposure to security breaches. They are expensive and damage the reputation of businesses and organizations. . Threat actors can exploit a lack of appropriate security controls, such as poor configuration management, to compromise an organization’s security.
- Vulnerability to loss of important data in cyberattacks or other disasters due to lack of backup. This can affect the availability of information systems impacting the operations of the organization.
- Malicious activity is hidden due to lack of visibility of critical endpoint processes and operating system information. Threat actors can exploit legitimate processes to carry out malicious activity undetected.
- Vulnerability to attack due to outdated applications, operating systems and hardware.
- Incomplete protection and security. Organizations using security solutions that do not offer comprehensive monitoring and response capabilities are at greater risk of cyber attack and exposure.
Why is IT cleanliness important?
IT hygiene is critical to maintaining the security and resilience of an organization’s IT infrastructure. By adhering to good IT hygiene practices, organizations can ensure the protection, performance, and reliability of their IT infrastructure while complying with regulatory requirements and minimizing costs. IT cleanliness is important as follows.
First, organizations can improve their security posture significantly by practicing good IT hygiene through comprehensive vulnerability and patching management. This practice ensures protection of endpoints and applications from malicious attacks.
Additionally, by maintaining good IT hygiene, organizations can effectively reduce their attack surface as they have greater visibility into all of their IT assets.
Finally, adhering to good IT hygiene practices helps meet regulatory requirements and industry standards and saves costs. Proactive monitoring and response can help organizations avoid legal penalties and financial and reputational damage resulting from data breaches and cyberattacks.
How Wazuh helps improve IT hygiene
Wazuh is a free, open source security platform that offers unified XDR and SIEM capabilities. This helps provide security across workloads in cloud and on-premises environments. It provides a centralized view for monitoring, detecting, and alerting security events on monitored endpoints and cloud workloads.
This section highlights some of Wazuh’s essential capabilities for keeping your network clean and secure.
1—System inventory: IT Hygiene starts with real-time visibility of digital assets in the environment and the events that occur in them. Real-time visibility includes up-to-date inventory of assets and systems. This involves the instant identification of risks, vulnerabilities and misconfigurations across these assets. That Wazuh system inventory capabilities collect relevant information such as hardware, operating system, ports, packages, Windows updates, and network interfaces on monitored endpoints. This information is critical to developing effective IT hygiene practices that improve an organization’s overall security posture. For example, system inventory data contains a list of open ports on endpoints that can assist security administrators in identifying and closing ports that are not needed, thereby reducing the attack surface.
|Figure 1: The Wazuh dashboard showing inventory data from monitored endpoints.|
2 — Security Configuration Assessment (SCA): This requires extensive analysis of security issues on monitored endpoints. It is based on compliance standards to improve security posture. IT hygiene best practices require security administrators to perform regular configuration assessments to identify and remediate endpoint vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Security configuration assessment and endpoint hardening effectively reduce an organization’s attack surface.
That Wow SCA capability assesses system configurations and triggers warnings when these configurations do not meet secure system policies. Depending on the industry, IT hygiene ensures that endpoints comply with HIPAA compliance standards, PCI DSS, NIST 800-53, and CIS benchmarks.
|Figure 2: The Wazuh dashboard showing SCA reports from monitored endpoints.|
3 — Vulnerability management: It is a proactive and ongoing process to identify, prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities at the endpoint. The vulnerability management process is critical to keeping IT clean. Wow Vulnerability Detector capabilities enable you to discover security vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications installed on monitored endpoints. Security administrators can take necessary actions to remediate vulnerabilities and improve IT cleanliness.
|Figure 3: The Wazuh dashboard showing monitored endpoint vulnerability reports.|
4 — Extended threat detection and automatic response: This can help clean up IT by continuously monitoring and analyzing endpoint activity in the organizational environment. This continuous monitoring ensures proactive detection and response to threats or malicious activity. With the XDR/SIEM solution, security teams can quickly identify and isolate infected endpoints, thereby preventing the spread of malware in their corporate network. Wazuh helps organizations monitor and secure their IT infrastructure by providing comprehensive threat detection and automatic response capabilities for endpoints. It helps to improve an organization’s IT hygiene practices by providing continuous monitoring, malware detectionincident response, and compliance capabilities.
In today’s ever-changing threat landscape, establishing a good IT hygiene routine is critical to preventing cybercriminals from causing security breaches. By leveraging Wazuh capabilities, organizations can proactively detect and respond to security threats and maintain a strong cybersecurity posture.
Wow is a free, open source SIEM and XDR solution that offers comprehensive security to organizations. Wazuh improves an organization’s IT hygiene using multiple capabilities to warn administrators about vulnerabilities, suggest remedial steps, and respond to threats.
Wazuh has more than 20 million annual downloads and supports users extensively through a constantly growing open source public.