CIS Benchmarks & Compliance

Adhering to compliance standards in the network industry, especially with various industry-standard policies, is essential. These policies establish regulations to protect your IT infrastructure from external threats stemming from security vulnerabilities. One such crucial compliance policy is the CIS Benchmarks. This policy was specifically crafted to secure configurations and establish a secure baseline configuration for devices.

Developed by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), these benchmarks represent the only consensus-based guideline for configuration best practices. They are the result of collaboration amongst a global community of cybersecurity professionals and have gained widespread acceptance from governments, businesses, industries, and academia.

The question arises: Why is compliance with CIS crucial? The answer is straightforward. Compliance is beneficial for all types of network infrastructures, but it is especially vital for highly dynamic infrastructures where new devices from different vendors and models are continually added.

In such scenarios, relying on manual efforts often leads to employing default configurations for newly introduced systems, which may be convenient but not secure. Administrators struggle to manually monitor each device and their configurations, making it challenging to maintain a steady baseline configuration. Also, manual processes increase the risk of poorly configured systems and paves the way for external threats such as hacking, legal fines, and reputational damage.

A tool is necessary to efficiently track these benchmarks in large network infrastructures with diverse devices and vendors. This is because manually assessing each device against the extensive benchmarks, each spanning about 800 pages with over 300 recommendations, is impractical.

This is where ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager plays a crucial role. It is a comprehensive network change and compliance management solution designed for dynamic and ever-growing network infrastructures. This tool eliminates manual errors, ensures compliance with industry standards, and supports CIS Benchmarks. It achieves and maintains compliance by regularly monitoring devices for all applicable CIS Benchmarks, instantly detecting violations, and suggesting detailed corrective actions.

Achieving CIS Benchmark compliance with Network Configuration Manager

Network Configuration Manager boasts a dedicated compliance management feature to adhere to any compliance policies. Now, we have integrated CIS Benchmarks into this functionality.

The devices supported for CIS compliance include Cisco IOS and Cisco ASA device types. If your network environment extensively utilizes these device types, you can leverage Network Configuration Manager to maintain compliance with all CIS Benchmarks.

Network Configuration Manager consistently evaluates all configurations within your systems based on the recommendations outlined in the CIS Benchmarks. It promptly identifies any violations and provides detailed, step-by-step guidance to facilitate compliance. Each CIS Benchmark is tailored for a specific product, service, or system, encompassing recommendations for all configurations associated with them. Adhering to the recommendations within a CIS Benchmark ensures that the product or system is configured to meet the highest security standards.

How compliance works in Network Configuration Manager:

The CIS Benchmarks required for compliance will be readily accessible. Upon discovery of Cisco IOS or ASA devices, the policy will automatically align with the specific requirements for these devices, eliminating the need to manually create or associate policies.

Key functionalities within Network Configuration Manager to leverage for CIS compliance

  1. Schedule CIS compliance checks
  2. Remediate CIS non-compliance issues using Configlets
  3. Obtain real-time, dedicated compliance reports

Schedule CIS compliance checks

In expansive network infrastructures, manually ensuring that the CIS compliance check has been performed on all necessary devices is impractical. With Network Configuration Manager, you have the option to use the scheduling feature, allowing you to set a specific date and time for the CIS compliance check. Subsequently, NCM will autonomously execute the checks at the designated date and time, eliminating the need for human intervention. You will receive a status report upon completion of the scheduled operation. This streamlined process ensures that all essential devices are routinely audited for compliance.

CIS compliance schedule check  

CIS benchmark schedule

Remediate CIS non-compliance issues using Configlets

In certain instances where modifications are made to a device's configuration, the CIS benchmarks may no longer align with the device configurations, resulting in a non-compliance error. This discrepancy needs immediate rectification because, if overlooked, it can lead to security vulnerabilities and substantial fines. Network Configuration Manager offers a comprehensive solution by automating the remediation process. With Configlets, which are automated script templates, you can create a remediation template for each benchmark. In the event of a rule violation, you can swiftly execute and resolve it with a simple click of a button.

CIS benchmark automation  

Obtain real-time, dedicated compliance reports on CIS

Reports play a pivotal role in any operation, as they offer a comprehensive overview of the entire process. Network Configuration Manager provides a dedicated compliance report that allows you to monitor the real-time compliance status of devices.

Key information included in this report: the device's host name, severity levels (such as critical, major, and warning), the count of compliant devices, and the timestamp of the last check. For a more detailed analysis, you can explore individual devices to pinpoint specific policy violations, along with severity levels, the amount of compliant devices, and the timestamp of the last check.

Clicking on a particular device directs you to a detailed page where you can identify which rules of the policy are violated and which ones remain compliant. This detailed view empowers you to implement remediation for the violated rules and address non-compliance issues effectively.

This flexibility extends to exporting this report in both PDF and CSV formats or sending it via email if required. Additionally, if you have organized device groups, you can tailor the report to focus on a specific group of devices.

CIS benchmark report  

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FAQs about CIS Benchmarks & compliance

What does CIS Standards stand for?

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What is the purpose of CIS Benchmarks?

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What are the CIS Benchmarks?

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Who will benefit from CIS compliance?

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How are the CIS Benchmarks developed?

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What are CIS Benchmark profiles?

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