Announcing Ordr 8.2 - The Most Comprehensive Single Source of Truth for Connected Devices Read more here!

Today’s tech-dependent enterprises are no strangers to change. Our customers’ experiences demonstrate that familiarity daily. Whether they operate in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, education, or government, they must contend with a constantly evolving infrastructure within their organizations, and constantly evolving threats from the outside. On top of that are the regulations and evolving business standards and practices that influence day-to-day operations.

Embracing digital transformation for all its benefits means buckling in for a bumpy ride—bumpier for some industries than others. Digital transformation expands an organization’s capabilities and opportunities, but it takes effort. In healthcare, for example, I recently stumbled on an interesting report stating that only 16% of healthcare providers are in the “win zone,” meeting their transformation goals and driving sustainable change. The average across other industries is over 30%. That figure may be discouraging, but it is absolutely understandable, and organizations in healthcare as well as other industries can learn a lot from the experiences of their peers.

High Risks, Big Rewards

Using technology to improve patient care and operations sounds simple, but it is a complex endeavor that takes herculean effort. The pandemic briefly diverted attention away from long-term planning, but most health delivery organizations (HDOs) and other enterprises are back to addressing their plans and priorities. They are beginning to switch back from being reactive to a proactive mode. And with good reason.

Although high stakes, high costs, and risk aversion have discouraged many in the healthcare industry and beyond from fully embracing digital transformation, the rewards are too great to ignore. And the threats, expectations and competition all organizations face are not standing still. Done well, digital transformation delivers benefits that outweigh the risks and so, for those that have been reluctant to act, the time to embrace digital transformation is now.

What’s Fueling this New Wave of Transformation?

Over the years, every organization I have worked with—no matter how big or small—boils down their core priorities to three essential goals:

  • Protecting people and the network
  • Preserving service availability
  • Improving operational efficiency

Those goals never change, even when the tools and strategies for achieving them do. And what’s more, they are transferable to other contexts as well: keeping manufacturing equipment operational and staff safe on the shop floor, preserving service availability for financial transactions, maintaining the operational efficiency of constituent services, etc. Consistent with these goals, here are some key initiatives and capabilities that are driving this new wave of transformation and pushing the boundaries of operational potential.

  • Remote workforce support (i.e., work from home);
  • Remote facility, branch, and clinic operations;
  • Contractor and equipment maintenance support and outsourcing;
  • Data center transformation and migration to hybrid cloud;
  • Digital supply chain enablement; and,
  • Mergers and acquisitions.

These use cases show how, more and more, connected devices are integral to fulfilling an organization’s mission. And as the inventory of connected devices expands—including the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), operational technologies (OT), mobile, and other devices—those deployments reflect the evolution of the technology. Assets that were once under tight control, on-premises and behind the firewall, are now expanding and connecting beyond traditional boundaries, across multiple network dimensions, and outside of the view and control of IT.

Here are some examples:

  • Access from Any Device – IT, IoT, IoMT, OT, IoXT.
  • Access from Anywhere – remote sites, remote workers, telemedicine.
  • Deployed Anywhere – private and public cloud, virtualized data centers.
  • Modern Apps/Mobile Apps – XaaS, training, collaboration, any device-anywhere-any deployment support.
  • Ecosystem – third party apps, supply chain access, mergers and acquisitions.

What Keeps the CXOs Up at Night?

IT leaders tasked with driving new digital transformation initiatives understand that success goes well beyond merely integrating new technologies and getting them up and running. Enjoying the multitude of benefits that can follow the completion of a technology refresh comes with many elements contributing to the pucker factor that keeps a CXO awake at night. An expanded and expanding attack surface is at the heart of this unease. Acknowledging that fact, and the factors that play into those concerns, is the first step in planning for and addressing them during the transformation process, rather than promising yourself that you’ll “get to it eventually.” Some pucker factors are reflected in several troubling trends.

Surge in Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are now more frequent, sophisticated, and severe than ever—and getting worse. Attackers know that many organizations will pay huge ransoms because costs associated with downtime and operational disruption may be even higher than what attackers demand. In healthcare, disruptions caused by ransomware can have life and death consequences.

Prevention is the best way to deal with the ransomware threat, but old school methods simply don’t work. Prevention demands accurate and timely detection, and response automation that can block an attack from progressing to its target destination. You need a way to detect ransomware early, before it has encrypted your organization’s files, because then it’s too late to take effective action.

State-Sponsored Attacks

Adversarial nation states have become adept at using the ambiguity of cyberwarfare to launch attacks on critical infrastructure and economic targets, as well as organizations that hold valuable intellectual property. The tools and methods developed for these campaigns are rarely confined to a limited set of organizations either, as sowing chaos is part of the strategy.

For example, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the FBI and Treasury Department issued a joint advisory about North Korean Maui ransomware targeting the healthcare industry. Similarly, Russian threat actors have been hard at work compromising connected devices and using them as a platform for attacks, including data exfiltration after establishing communications with command-and-control servers in Russia.

Digital Supply Chain Security

Digital supply chains that allow for remote and automated service between organizations have been a boon for operational efficiency—and for threat actors able to compromise those connections for their own ends. The SolarWinds Orion attack targeting U.S. federal agencies and commercial enterprises illustrated how damaging supply chain attacks can be.

Vulnerable SolarWinds servers sitting inside agency and corporate networks, operating with privileged access to IT systems, proved to be a gold mine for hackers to exploit and get whatever data they need, including high level state and military secrets.

Shadow IoT

One big security challenge faced by enterprises today is the presence of connected devices on their networks operating outside the view of IT security and operations. Known as “shadow IoT,” these devices epitomize the mantra you can’t protect what you can’t see. A recent Five Fifty report by McKinsey highlights the risk of the proliferation of devices connecting to the network as shadow IoT (such as the infamous hack of a casino using a connected aquarium thermometer as the vector of attack) and lack of readiness for most organizations.

Often these systems operate with outdated OSes, are unpatched, and unmanaged. Without proper onboarding—or a security platform able to detect, identify, profile, and monitor any device that connects to the network—any organization with shadow IoT operating within its IT estate is at risk of an attack.

How Ordr Helps Enable Secure Digital Transformation

Ordr’s mantra from the beginning has been to enable our customers to SEE, KNOW, and SECURE every device that is connected to their organization. To do this, we establish the most comprehensive and accurate single source of connected device truth in the Ordr Data Lake for each of our customers. This starts with automatically discovering and accurately classifying every connected device because you can’t secure what you can’t see.

From this foundation of visibility Ordr provides a complete view of the connected device attack surface including how devices are connected and communicating, which devices are vulnerable, and the unique risk each device represents in the environment.

Integrations across the security, networking, and IT ecosystem are integral to the Ordr solution. These integrations enhance the already rich view Ordr has of connected devices by centralizing additional data points and device details. A good example of this are the recent integrations with Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platforms in the recent Ordr 8.2 release.

Integrations also enable Ordr to enrich the tools and workflows used every day and improve how teams manage and secure devices. An example here is the recent integration with the ServiceNow Service Graph Connector to help customers ensure the data in their CMDB is complete, up to date, and accurate. Another example is how Ordr device insights are used to optimize vulnerability scanning with Qualys.

Integrations also help teams take action to address vulnerabilities, respond to active threats, proactively improve protections, and ultimately reduce risk. Ordr automates the creation of security policies and enforces those policies by integrating with a customer’s existing security and network infrastructure. With this approach Ordr customers are able to quickly block attacks, quarantine compromises devices, segment vulnerable devices, and accelerate Zero Trust projects to proactively improve security.

We continue to drive innovations across the Ordr platform and expand with integrations across the security, networking, and IT ecosystem to provide our customers with a single source of truth for all their connected devices. Reach out for a demo and to learn how Ordr can help you SEE, KNOW, and SECURE, all your connected devices.

The “shared responsibility” philosophy for improving cybersecurity is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It was woven throughout the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy issued by the White House in early March, and later that month the UK also announced its plan to improve cybersecurity for the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

On March 22, the UK government announced it will draft a six-year plan to “promote cyber resilience across the health and care sectors by 2030, protecting both services and patients.” That plan will build on five pillars for reducing the risk and impact of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations, while also improving recovery and resiliency should an attack succeed. Those pillars include:

  • Identifying the areas of the sector where disruption would cause the greatest harm to patients, such as through sensitive information being leaked or critical services being unable to function.
  • Uniting the sector so it can take advantage of its scale and benefit from national resources and expertise, enabling faster responses and minimizing disruption.
  • Building on the current culture to ensure leaders are engaged and the cyber workforce is grown and recognized, and relevant cyber basics training is offered to the general workforce.
  • Embedding security into the framework of emerging technology to better protect it against cyber threats.
  • Supporting every health and care organization to minimize the impact and recovery time of a cyber incident.

Faster Response, Minimized Disruption

The second of the five pillars is notable to us because it calls for “uniting” the healthcare sector in an effort to combine resources and expertise to “enable faster responses and minimize disruption.” At a macro level that is a critical capability for hardening the networks of organizations connected through extensive digital supply chains. At the individual level it is vital for an NHS Trust to approach cybersecurity from a “whole hospital” perspective. Recognizing that, with IT systems operating on the same infrastructure as the operational technologies (OT) that run the hospital operations—and also alongside the sophisticated connected medical devices (Internet of Medical Things) integral to delivering a high quality of healthcare to patients—a vulnerability anywhere in the network puts the entire Trust at risk.

“This new strategy will be instrumental to ensure every organization in health and adult social care is set up to meet the challenges of the future.” — Health Minister Lord Markham

Protecting 1.7 Million Devices

The announcement points out that there are more than 1.7 million devices operating within NHS Trust networks, and that the strategy seeks to monitor each for suspicious activity that could indicate an attack or active threat. That’s wise, and an imminently achievable goal. In fact, many Trusts in the NHS system currently use the Ordr platform to discover, monitor, and protect the hundreds or thousands of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices that populate their networks for the delivery of patient care.

When the full NHS cybersecurity strategy is published later this year, Ordr is confident that our customers will be prepared to meet whatever standards are set as they pertain to protecting connected devices. And as the CISOs and other leaders in those Trusts have already demonstrated a desire to work toward a Zero Trust security posture, there is no doubt they will establish themselves as cybersecurity exemplars for their peer Trusts.

Ordr is also actively working with NHS Trusts to comply with the NHS Data Security Protection Toolkit (DSPT) and  ensure the security and privacy of data shared within the NHS system. Contact us for more information about how we can protect the connected devices in your network.

Binding Operational Directive 23-01 can help close a government security gap


The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently issued an advisory on a dozen new exploits and vulnerabilities affecting industrial control systems (ICS) from nine different manufacturers. The warning is the latest in a growing body of evidence that critical public infrastructure–things like the power grid, transportation systems and facilities, government buildings, and public safety organizations–will soon become the primary target of threat actors in an escalation of attacks against national economic interests. In fact, some observers believe a shift in strategies in the war between Russia and Ukraine is proof that such an escalation is well underway.

It’s hard to argue that threat actors are not becoming increasingly aggressive and willing to attack targets, even when there might be a human cost. Hospitals and healthcare services providers have seen a sharp increase in attacks over the last three years, and research suggests those attacks are associated with an increase in patient mortality. Even the U.S. Federal Reserve warns that attacks on industrial enterprises and infrastructure could impede economic activity and seriously undermine confidence and stability in national financial systems.

Setting a Good Example

And so, as attention turns toward the hardening of private and public infrastructure against cyberattacks, leaders in Washington, D.C. are trying to set a positive example by updating their own security policies. When the White House issued the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity on May 12, 2021, it established the foundation for the government’s strategy to address the protection of a sprawling and complex federal IT infrastructure comprising hundreds of different agencies. Then in early March this year the White House published its National Cybersecurity Strategy to bring the issue into sharper focus.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) took a big step forward when it issued Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 23-01, Improving Asset Visibility and Vulnerability Detection on Federal Networks.

But the work toward improving the federal government’s readiness and resilience against cyberthreats was underway before the release of the National Cybersecurity Strategy. In October of 2022 the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) took a big step forward when it issued Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 23-01, Improving Asset Visibility and Vulnerability Detection on Federal Networks.

Connected Device Visibility is Critical

BOD 23-01, which had a deadline of April 3, 2023, requires all federal civilian executive branch (FECB) agencies to establish the means for effecting “continuous and comprehensive asset visibility” as a first step in assessing and monitoring cyber risk. CISA did not identify penalties for missing the April 3 deadline, but there are ongoing reporting and improvement timelines to ensure asset inventories are up-to-date. The philosophy behind the directive is sound. Today’s IT estates are complex and include thousands of components operating on-premises and in the cloud. Servers, routers, switches, software, application, services, and all kinds of devices, many of which are practically invisible to traditional IT management systems.

This is especially true for connected devices, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), operational technology (OT), and more. And what BOD 23-01 does is acknowledge that, without a complete accounting of every single device that connects to the enterprise—expected or unexpected, and for however long it remains connected—each is a potential vector for attack. Also, when connected assets are unaccounted for, an organization’s configuration management database (CMDB) will be inaccurate, leading to other IT operations and security issues that can put the enterprise at risk. Ordr’s experience with connected device discovery illustrates the wide variety of unexpected devices that can be found operating in some enterprises alongside mission-critical equipment. Vending machines and building controls, Tesla cars and Kegerators, Alexas and Pelotons, all connected to the network and communicating out to the Internet, unmanaged and unknown to IT operations and security.

See IT, Protect IT

You can’t protect what you can’t see, and so device discovery, visibility, and monitoring is vital to maintaining security at a high level. Ordr is not only able to discover and monitor these devices in real-time, but the extensive Ordr Data Lake contains detailed profiles of millions of IoT, IoMT, and OT devices, identifying their purpose and operational profile. That enables security teams to identify devices with vulnerabilities, establish a risk score for every device operating in the network, detect when devices exhibit indicators of compromise, and automate policy creation to accelerate response and prevent attacks targeting connected devices or prevent lateral movement. These capabilities support BOD 23-01’s objective to “make measurable progress toward enhancing visibility into agency assets and associated vulnerabilities… an important step to address current visibility challenges at the component, agency, and [federal civilian executive branch] enterprise level.”

These capabilities support BOD 23-01’s objective to “make measurable progress toward enhancing visibility into agency assets and associated vulnerabilities… an important step to address current visibility challenges at the component, agency, and [federal civilian executive branch] enterprise level.”

It’s good that the U.S. federal government recognizes that maximizing the effectiveness of a cybersecurity program demands a full accounting of every device operating in the network. That is the foundational tenet to Ordr’s mission, and it has been embraced by our customers, including many of the world’s largest healthcare, financial, and manufacturing organizations. And for our customers in the federal government, they had a head start on meeting (and likely exceeding) requirements ahead of CISA’s April 3 deadline.

If your agency or organization recognizes that it has blind spots it needs to address to take a full inventory of every device it has connected to its network, give us a call. We can run a demonstration that can show you every connected device on the network. And with a complete accounting of your connected assets, you can build a plan to see, know, and secure your enterprise.