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Gartner analysts have been busy publishing several Hype Cycles recently. If you’re not familiar with the Gartner Hype Cycle, it is a graphic representation of the maturity lifecycle of new technologies, and there are several key reports to help security leaders with their strategy and investments.  We are thrilled to be included as a representative vendor for Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) category in three Gartner Hype Cycles:

Gartner Hype Cycle - Security Operations

Figure 1: Gartner Hype Cycle for Security Operations, 2023


What is Cyber Asset and Attack Surface Management (CAASM)?

As described by Gartner, “Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) is an emerging technology that is focused on presenting a unified view of cyber assets to an IT and security team. These assets can serve as an attack vector for unauthorized users to gain access to a system to steal information or launch a cyber attack. In order to detect assets containing outdated software, misconfigurations, and other vulnerabilities, CAASM tools use API integrations to connect with existing data sources of the organization. These tools then continuously monitor and analyze detected vulnerabilities to drill down the most critical threats to the business and prioritize necessary remediation and mitigation actions for improved cyber security.”

In Ordr deployments, we don’t just aggregate data via API. We also perform deep packet inspection of network traffic, NetFlow and cloud-to-cloud integration such as Cisco Meraki to discover and classify assets.

Use Cases for Cyber Asset and Attack Surface Management

There are a number of use cases for cyber asset and attack surface management for security teams:

  • Asset management – provide granular visibility across all IT, Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) assets, including detailed information about device type, manufacturer, OS version, vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance assessment – during an audit, the process to provide details of assets, and the software, antivirus or applications that are running on them, can be very cumbersome if done manually. CAASM can simplify this process
  • Security gaps – identify security gaps across the network, for example, assets that should have a security endpoint agent but do not or assets that are running outdated operating systems.
  • IT governance – identify shadow IT devices or assets that should not be on the network, such as gaming devices. Ordr goes a step further and can compare what assets we see on the network versus what is actually in the CMDB or vice versa. We can also identify devices that we discover on the network or are missing on the network in the last 24 hours.
  • Vulnerability management – identify vulnerabilities associated with assets. Most CAASMs only ingest vulnerabilities from various source systems and overlay them with asset details. Ordr goes further. Because most IoT and OT devices are typically not scanned for vulnerabilities, we also provide vulnerability details on these devices, without impacting the operations of these devices. Ordr can also discover and profile a new device on the network, and trigger appropriate scanning from vulnerability management tools.

These use cases are all fundamental CAASM use cases. But, they are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with Ordr. Because Ordr also maps communications flows for every asset, we can also support the following use cases:

  • Baseline flows – the ability to baseline normal communications patterns for every device is critical to identify malicious and anomalous traffic. This can include devices communicating to the Internet, manufacturing or medical devices in the guest VLAN, or devices that are communicating to a malicious command and control domain.
  • Bidirectional integrations – Any asset details that we aggregate and correlate is shared with more than 80 networking and security integrations. For example, granular asset and vulnerability details can be shared with CMMS, CMDB, SIEM and traditional vulnerability management solutions like Rapid7, Qualys and Tenable. This ensures a consistent source of truth on all assets and risks across the entire organization.
  • Automated policies – Finally, with Ordr, because we have details on assets, connectivity and communications flows, we can dynamically generate proactive Zero Trust segmentation policies to secure devices (to allow only sanctioned, normal communications) or dynamically generate reactive policies to block ports, terminate sessions or move devices to different VLANs during an incident.

Check out a recent Demo Forum panel hosted by Richard Stiennon on Cyber Asset and Attack Surface Management. Ordr’s own Jeremy Haltom participated, and summarizes our value proposition.

Figure 2: Demo Forum panel on CAASM

In summary, there are many benefits to CAASM, primarily with optimizing resources via  automated inventory of what’s on the network. Additionally, with the granular details on risks for every device, organizations can reduce their attack surface, improve operational efficiencies, and streamline compliance assessments. Ordr extends these benefits to even more comprehensive security capabilities, and actionable policies on existing infrastructure that can accelerate incident response by hours.

For more information on the Ordr platform, please reach out to us at info@ordr.net.


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.

Things move fast in tech. Enterprise infrastructure is growing larger, more complex, and more diverse; and the mix of hardware, software, and innovative new tools used to manage and secure those enterprises are pushing aside the legacy systems that have failed to keep up. The old saying, “You need a scorecard to keep track of the players” would apply but for the fact that the scorecard is probably out-of-date, too.

The CAASM is Growing

Just in case you weren’t paying attention, there’s a new market category—and associated acronym—that has emerged to describe a fast-evolving corner of the cybersecurity industry. Gartner, which coins terms faster than the Franklin Mint, saw activity reaching critical mass in addressing the need to track, secure, and manage the growing number of devices connecting to and comprising the modern enterprise, and defined a new category: cyber asset attack surface management, or CAASM (which you’ll probably want to pronounce like “chasm”).

Richard Stiennon, cybersecurity author and analyst, recently moderated a panel on CAASM as part of the Demo Forum, participated by Ordr’s VP Systems Engineering, Jeremy Haltom. Check it out here (once you register and login, it’s under the “live” section).

It’s good to see this space getting attention. Ordr’s mantra, “See. Know. Secure.” is a simple description of the CAASM approach needed to rein-in complexity to make it easier to secure. As enterprises get populated with devices, known and unknown, managed and unmanaged, the attack surface is also growing. That makes it harder for IT security and operations teams to do their jobs. You can’t protect what you can’t see, and it’s hard to know if the things you can see are compromised unless you have a clear understanding of what it is, what risks it brings, and how it is supposed to behave.

Without Visibility You’re Flying Blind

Absent a way to effect complete asset discovery, track the ephemeral nature of the attack surface in real-time, and manage those assets based on actual data that can tell indicators of compromise from a baseline of normal behavior, you are flying blind. And that’s not where a CTO, CISO, or CSO wants to be.

What’s interesting to us is that the Ordr System Control Engine was conceived as a solution to the challenges inherent with protecting connected systems and the networks they were connecting to. This was a big problem for healthcare organizations that rely on a mix of medical devices—the internet of medical things or IoMT—that defy traditional approaches to IT security and management. If a certain piece of equipment is operating with obsolete, unsupported software that makes it vulnerable to attack, there may be restrictions keeping IT from making any needed modifications. And if a device is in active use, it may be impossible to turn off.

Ordr SCE and the Power of Data

That was the challenge we set out to solve when Ordr was founded. But as Ordr gained traction in healthcare and other industries, our customers found that our platform was excellent at discovering and tracking assets wherever they were in the organization. We heard stories of hospitals that found equipment that had been missing for years, while others took the business intelligence they’d gathered from Ordr SCE to support asset requisition and allocation management decisions. That’s the power of data when it is complete, accurate, and in granular, contextual detail.

We know that the challenges associated with seeing, knowing, and securing cyber-assets are not going to diminish. At last count, devices were being acquired and attached to networks and the internet at more than 125 per second, with an expected 75 billion “things” connected by 2025. That’s a lot of devices, and for those organizations driving that growth through the adoption of IoT, IoMT, OT, and other connected devices, that’s a lot of attack surface to monitor, manage, and secure.

With Ordr You Aren’t Alone

So, whether you were aware of CAASM specifically or intuitively, you already know it has to be a part of an effective cybersecurity strategy. The good news is you don’t have to face the challenge alone. Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how you can see, know, and secure your cyber-asset attack surface with Ordr SCE.