CIS-CAT Pro is Now Even Better! Here's How We've Improved It

If you’re a CIS SecureSuite Member, or want to be, you're probably familiar with CIS-CAT Pro. It's our configuration assessment tool that helps CIS SecureSuite Members scan their systems primarily against the CIS Benchmarks. They can then use those scan results to report on their levels of compliance.

For some time now, CIS-CAT Pro has supported the following primary activities:

  • Simplifying the hardening process by evaluating your configuration settings against the CIS Benchmark recommendations using CIS-CAT Pro Assessor
  • Viewing your assessment scan results and leveraging them to quickly address configuration drift with CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard
  • Expanding your assessment scanning capabilities to remote assets by pairing CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard with the CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve made changes to ease onboarding, maintenance, and installation for our CIS-CAT Pro users! Specifically, we’ve retired CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v2.x and will release CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v3.x. The latter includes CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service embedded functionality. For installation simplicity, we've retired the stand-alone Assessor v4 Service.

Let’s explore the reasons for these upcoming changes.

Streamline CIS-CAT Pro for Success

Let's begin with CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service. Currently, CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service is a web-service version of CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4. It coordinates with CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard to conduct assessments of a single, remote target system like an operating system or application.

Based on Member feedback we've received, we're excited to say that we've made some changes. In our new model, Assessor v4 Service functions will become standard features embedded within CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard. This will become effective with the release of CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v3.0.0, which is planned for Q4 2022.

The standalone Assessor v4 Service will be available until the end of the year. During that time, our support team will assist Members with questions regarding the availability of CIS-CAT Pro Assessor v4 Service, but they will no longer offer support on the function of the tool.

A New Version of CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard

This brings us to the changes surrounding CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard. At the time of this writing, CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard is a web-based application that provides a graphical interface for viewing assessment results generated by CIS-CAT Pro Assessor. Members can view configuration scores for each CIS Benchmark, and they have the option of viewing results mapped to the CIS Controls.

We've heard feedback from our Members, and we're working to make things simpler. First, we'll be asking Members to set up only one server for Dashboard going forward. (It was previously two.) Second, we'll be choosing the components for Members. MariaDB, Tomcat, Java, and all the other components that support Dashboard will automatically be embedded and included. This will result in a simpler installation process. Members will still need to type in a username and set a password for Dashboard. But we'll configure all of these other components. You won't require special assistance from your database administrators or need to know all about Tomcat. And to upgrade, it'll be a simple procedure. You'll just need to run the installer.

These changes take effect with the release of CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v3.0.0. (CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v2.x will no longer be available effective January 2023.) CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v3.0.0 will also drop support for vulnerability assessments, as this feature isn't widely used among Members.

We're also working to introduce features to help organizations remove some of their assessment data in the next couple of months. Overall, Members will have the best experience with Dashboard if they require no more than two years of configuration results for a historical look back, if they're single enterprises that don't require advanced permissions based on role, and/or if they are small- to medium-sized organizations. Members with thousands of endpoint assessments planned for import into Dashboard may want to consider alternate result viewing tools. CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard users with fewer than a thousand reports imported monthly may have a better performance experience.

A Fresh Start for the Same Great Tool

Maureen Kunac, Sr. Product Owner of CIS-CAT, is excited to help Members ease onboarding, maintenance, and installation of CIS-CAT Dashboard (as well as use remote assessment functions within Dashboard) via these changes.

"With the release of CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard v3.0.0, our goal is to streamline installation, maintenance, and encourage quick adoption with a simple and fast installation process," she explained. "The new installation will include all necessary components, including the ability to perform a single system, remote assessment (formerly Assessor v4 Service functions). We understand in today’s complex world of software that our Members are managing many applications and facing more and more tasks on a daily basis. We don’t want Dashboard to be that additional complex piece of software for our Members to adopt, install, and maintain."

Ultimately, the functionality in Dashboard will be the same except losing the vulnerability assessment features. All other graphic and menu items will be in the same place. In that way, these changes mark a fresh start for CIS-CAT Pro. We're offering the same great tool with a more streamlined experience that we hope you'll enjoy.