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Perform Remote Assessments with CIS-CAT Pro Companion Tool

By Maureen Kunac, CIS-CAT Pro Product Owner

Working from home full-time has recently become the norm rather than the exception. The ability to assess remote endpoints is critical as work moves outside a controlled work environment. Thousands of organizations around the world leverage CIS SecureSuite Membership resources to improve their cyber defenses. One of the newest Member benefits is the ability to conduct remote assessments using CIS-CAT Pro.

CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service

In January 2020, CIS released a companion product for CIS-CAT Pro called CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service. This tool allows you to conduct CIS Benchmark assessments using the graphical user interface (GUI) of CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard. In order to do this, you’ll need CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v1.1.11+ and CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service v1.0.0+. Once all setup steps have been completed, you can begin a configuration scan by initiating an assessment from CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard using a web service request to CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service.

Introduction to assessment scanning with the new GUI

Has your IT security team ever wanted to run a single configuration scan to verify their remediation efforts? With the latest resources included in Membership, they can. By leveraging CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v1.1.11+ and the latest version of CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service, you can scan the configuration of a single target system.

As with all of our products, we make regular updates to improve usability and functionality. To gain valuable feedback from the community, we released basic functionality that enables users to run a configuration scan on a remote target system with supported CIS Benchmarks. Be sure to look for our surveys and share your feedback on this functionality; your participation is greatly appreciated and helps drive development decisions.

Step-by-step guidance for performing a remote assessment

To start: download, install, and configure CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard and CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service. Keep in mind that CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service is configured only to process web requests from CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v1.1.11+. We chose to deploy it as a separate application to give users the flexibility for a separate installation. Although a single scan is not expected to need a powerful server, future functionality such as the ability to schedule scanning of multiple target systems may. We’re planning ahead! Continue to use CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 for all other command line, local, or centralized scanning activities.

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Once all applications are configured, login into the CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard and navigate to Target Systems -> Search. Search and select the target system’s link in the search results to assess.

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Select the “Assess” button.

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In the popup , enter the required information for the remote target system and press “Start Assessment” button.

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Navigate to the Job Status page via the link or the menu to monitor the progress of the assessment.

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The job status screen will track the progress of the assessment only and not the import of the report.

Collaborating with the CIS-CAT Pro Community

CIS is deeply thankful for our volunteers, partners, and CIS SecureSuite Members who work together to improve configuration security for everyone. By providing feedback on best practices, testing new software builds, and more, our communities are continuously helping us improve and grow. We couldn’t do it without you!

Get started with the new versions today

CIS SecureSuite Members can download the latest updates to CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard by logging in to CIS WorkBench. Don’t forget to check the CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard Change Log and CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Change Log for a complete listing of all changes!