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EasyVista | January 31, 2024

Cybersecurity and ITSM: A Powerful Duo

88% of respondents to a 2022 Gartner Board of Directors Survey said their organization, “view cybersecurity as a business risk.” 

Because ITSM and cybersecurity will enable companies to establish robust, comprehensive IT risk management processes, the intersection of these two disciplines benefits any organization looking to better protect their data (64% of organizations). 

While cybersecurity focuses on the protection of data and information—using systems and IT solutions to mitigate and/or reduce the risk of threats penetrating companies, IT Service Management (ITSM) serves as a set of guidelines and frameworks for managing and optimizing IT services to reduce risks, decrease server downtime, and increase user satisfaction. This article covers what cybersecurity is, how cybersecurity and ITSM intersect, and the biggest challenge companies face when they integrate the two.  

A Brief Overview of Cybersecurity  

Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems, networks, and other digital technology from digital and unauthorized attacks. It involves setting up and implementing layers of defense, including firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption protocols. If protections are not set up, companies run the risk of the possible exposure to malware erasing their entire database; hackers altering files and stealing personal information; and an attacker using your computer and systems to attack others (making it seem like it’s you). While there’s no way to 100% guarantee that even if you take every precaution to protect your company data you won’t fall victim to a cyberattack, you can still reduce the chances of one occurring and reduce the remediation time when one happens. 

The 6 Key Areas of Cybersecurity 

  • Network security: prevents unauthorized access to network resources 
  • Endpoint security: protects end users from incoming attacks on servers, desktops, laptops, mobile devices.  
  • Application security: protects applications (cloud and on-site) from preventing unauthorized access to and the use of applications and related data. 
  • Cloud security: protects a company’s cloud-based services and assets (ex: applications and virtual servers) 
  • Mobile security: protects technologies such as smartphones and mobile devices from attacks. 
  • Information security: protects an organization's important information (ex: digital files and paper documents) against unauthorized access or alteration. 

The Intersection of Cybersecurity and ITSM 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, organizations face an ever-growing threat landscape that puts their sensitive data and critical systems at risk—making cybersecurity policies and guidelines a top priority for businesses. Pairing these guidelines with an effective Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) framework and solution is crucial for ensuring the smooth functioning of IT services. The synergy between the ITIL processes used in ITSM bodes well with what companies need to do for their IT security. Not only does it help their overall security posture, but it’s also a move in the right direction as far as integrating security processes and security thinking directly with what’s happening in the rest of the IT department. 

At the end of the day, combining cybersecurity and ITSM is about prioritization.  

Since both teams are familiar with triaging the never-ending stream of issues coming in from users, understanding how to address problems as they arise isn’t an issue. Real power comes in being able to prioritize the most important, or dangerous, ones first. And in combining the two, top priorities might not align right off the bat depending on the alert, but with processes and solutions in place, teams are better prepared to handle anything thrown their way.

Here’s how: 

  1. Risk Management - Improve IT maturity by making IT's secure posture more reactive instead of proactive—security becomes more ingrained. Meaning, they can identify future risks and assess their impacts before they happen—granting them time to implement solutions or patch up any holes before something bad happens. Common examples of proactive IT involve regularly assessing the security posture and implementing preventive measures through change management. 
  1. Streamlined Incident Response - To minimize the damage, prompt and well-coordinated responses are crucial in the event of a cyberattack. When using an ITSM solution with incident management, organizations can respond effectively, and in a timely manner, to security incidents without having to compile every piece of information from multiple sources—they'll have what they need. Plus, after the threat is addressed, the company can implement preventive measures to avoid similar future incidents.  
  1. Continuous Monitoring and Improvement - Automation tools don’t need sleep, bathroom or water breaks. One of the biggest payoffs of ITSM technology for cyber threat detection is the solution’s ability to work non-stop—monitor 24/7, without worrying about workers during graveyard shift having drops in attentiveness. Using automation enables organizations to build an iterative process for monitoring and evaluating threats and organizational needs.  
  • 4 Benefits Automation provides:  
    • Anomaly Detection 
    • Patch Management & Vulnerability Remediation 
    • Real-time Threat Detection 
    • User Authentication Control 
  1. Resource Allocation - ITSM helps in optimizing resource allocation—very important for security monitoring and incident solutions—and ensure resources are appropriately managed and used for security needs that address IT needs (and align with your budget).
  1. Business Objective Alignment - In the world of cybersecurity, it can be easy to lose track of how the technical aspects fit in with the bigger business aims. Integrating ITSM and security, objectives and goals are more aligned and effective because they can be measured (and tracked).

Additional Considerations When Integrating 

  1. Education and Training - Cybersecurity awareness training can be implemented into ITSM processes to help educate users about online security best practices (human error is a leading cause of cyber incidents). Popular topics include phishing scams, MFA, and security protocols.  
  1. Compliance Alignment - ITSM solutions can help companies align their compliance requirements (industry-dependent for protecting sensitive information) to more effectively ensure they are always in compliance with the legal and regulatory standards needed.  
  2. Data Governance - Integrating cybersecurity and ITSM allows organizations to establish comprehensive data governance policies (e.g., data classification, access controls, and data lifecycle management). With sensitive data properly classified and protected, companies can comply with data protection regulations and not have to worry. 

The Biggest Challenge: Communication 

As mentioned earlier in the blog, combining ITSM and cybersecurity is about the prioritization of issues—understanding what’s important and timely, and what’s less so. For a company to successfully integrate these two areas, the teams need to be on the same page. How? By starting with making sure everyone who needs to be involved understands the context of the threat (answering the question: what's going on?).

We’re talking more than just sharing a common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) entry.

Give background information and explain how security relates to the IT infrastructure of the company. On top of that, teams should understand what solutions are available to help mitigate and remediate risks (e.g. how to create a change request). The more information provided the better teams will be in understanding how to integrate the two practices—results will follow. 

By integrating ITSM, the ability to utilize solutions for automation, incident response, change management, and data governance, companies not only become more secure (benefiting both them and their clients), but they’re also empowered to be more efficient and reliable with their IT services. For companies to continue flourishing in the 2020s and beyond, combining the powers of cybersecurity and ITSM will be a top priority to strengthen the organization’s ability to respond to and prevent digital threats from happening. 

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EasyVista is a global software provider of intelligent solutions for enterprise service management, remote support, and self-healing technologies. Leveraging the power of ITSM, Self-Help, AI, background systems management, and IT process automation, EasyVista makes it easy for companies to embrace a customer-focused, proactive, and predictive approach to their service and support delivery. Today, EasyVista helps over 3,000+ enterprises around the world to accelerate digital transformation, empowering leaders to improve employee productivity, reduce operating costs, and increase employee and customer satisfaction across financial services, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and other industries.