If not, you’re not alone
A troubling statistic in IT security is that 30% of IT managers do not know how many devices are on their networks, according to a 2018 LogMeIn report. Likewise, 10% of IT administrators surveyed by the Sans Institute said they didn’t know how many management servers they were using. Even more surprising, Gartner disclosed results from a survey of clients who found 60% more endpoints on their networks than they thought by using an automated IT asset management tool.
What’s behind the lack of visibility?
There are several trends that contribute to poor network visibility.
1. Decentralized networks. Companies with several locations increase the complexity of the network and introduce the potential for security gaps. For instance, almost half of participants in a 2018 survey by SANS Institute reported having at least six operating systems and 12% said they have at least 11.
2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). A 2018 report from Bitglass found that 85% of the companies surveyed allow BYOD to not only employees, but also contractors (27%), partners (25%), customers (22%), and suppliers (19%). And, many employees use multiple connected devices at work, which aren’t always authorized or known by the IT department.
3. Internet of Things (IoT). Many IoT devices are not added to the inventory list of connected devices so they’re not detected by network scans.
What’s the Risk?
Lack of network visibility is a critical issue facing IT managers given the inherent vulnerability of connected devices. According to IDC, 70% of breaches occur on endpoint devices. Research from Absolute Software found that 42% of endpoints are without security at any point in time. As a weakly protected path to the network, connected devices are an appealing target for cyber criminals.
Complicating this issue is the rapid growth of devices that connect to corporate networks. Statista estimates that there were 22 billion devices connected to corporate networks and the internet at the end of 2018. That number is expected to reach more than 30 billion by 2020 and over 75 billion by 2025. Consider also, that these devices have their own apps and software.
What to do?
IT departments must make device visibility a priority. It’s essential to know and inventory all devices on the network, when the devices are connected, who is using them, what is running on them, and what’s their security posture.
Keep in mind that it only takes one unknown or unprotected device to provide a gateway for hackers to infiltrate your network.