With tens of thousands of assets within an organization, each vulnerable to different attack vectors, the combinations, and permutations an organization can be attacked with are virtually limitless. As the attack surface expands, cybersecurity teams must contend with highly complex issues such as:
- Vulnerability management
- security management
- attack detection
- incident response
How can your information security team overcome these challenges and protect your organization?
The first line of defense against adversaries is a good security posture. This security posture guide covers the following:
- What is my security status?
- Three Critical Steps to Assess Your Security Posture
- How to improve your security posture
What is a security posture?
Security status is represented by the following scale:
- Level of visibility into asset inventory and attack surface
- The controls and processes in place to protect the organization from cyberattacks
- Ability to detect and contain attacks
- Ability to respond to and recover from security events
- How automated your security program is
A conceptual diagram of the various elements of security.
Inventory of IT assets
You can’t protect what you don’t know. Central to any security posture solution is an accurate inventory of all assets. This includes all on-premises, cloud, mobile, and third-party resources. Managed Assets or Unmanaged Assets. Applications and infrastructure are cataloged by geographic location and whether they are connected to the Internet (perimeter assets) or not (core assets).
Understanding the business significance of each asset is also very important, as each asset is an important factor in calculating the risk of compromise. You must be able to express the expected business impact of a damaged asset in dollars (or euros, pounds, yen, etc.).
Safety management and effectiveness
Around this central core are enumerated the cybersecurity controls they employ. Some controls, such as firewalls and endpoints, are used to prevent attacks. Intrusion detection systems (IDS), SIEMs, and others are involved in detecting attacks that bypass protective controls. Additional tools and processes are required to respond to and recover from such attacks.
In addition to being able to list controls, it is also important to understand the effectiveness of each control in mitigating cyber risk.
An attack vector is a method an attacker uses to infiltrate or infiltrate a network. Attack vectors can take many forms, from malware and ransomware to man-in-the-middle attacks, phishing, and compromised credentials. Some attack vectors target security and infrastructure vulnerabilities, while others target users with network access.
And remember that the risks go beyond unpatched software vulnerabilities (CVEs). Asset monitoring for risk areas such as unpatched software, password problems, misconfigurations, encryption issues, phishing, web and ransomware, and denial of translation Security attack is the foundation of any security posture
Therefore, understanding the scope of your security health and appropriately prioritizing relevant risk areas is critical to protecting your organization from security breaches.
The combination of your asset inventory and your attack vector forms your attack surface. The attack surface covers all the ways that an attacker can try to gain unauthorized access to your resources using compromise techniques.
Security status automation
An important aspect of your security posture solution is the level of automation. Attackers are constantly testing defenses using automated techniques. Hundreds of new vulnerabilities are published every month. It’s not enough to list inventory, fix vulnerabilities, and review controls from time to time. To stay one step ahead of your adversaries, you need to automate your security posture management.
Improvement of the security situation
To understand and optimize your security posture solution , you should:
- Analyze your current security situation
- Identify potential gaps (security posture assessment)
- Take action to close these gaps (transform your security posture).
How to assess the security situation
Assessing your security posture solution is the first step in understanding where you are in cybersecurity readiness and your risk of a cyber breach. I would like to be able to answer the following questions:
- How secure is your organization?
- Do you have a good cybersecurity strategy in place?
- How good are our security controls?
- Can you accurately measure breach risk and cyber resilience?
- How vulnerable are we to potential security breaches and attacks?
- How effective is our vulnerability management program?
- How can you assess and compare different risk owners within your organization?
Three Key Steps to Assessing Your Security Posture
Let’s take a look at how to assess your security posture solution in three steps.
- Get an accurate inventory of your IT resources
- Map your attack surface
- Understand cyber risk
Step 1: Create an Accurate Inventory of Your IT Resources
The first step in assessing your security posture solution is to create a comprehensive inventory of all your assets.
You need accurate and up-to-date numbers for all hardware, software, and network elements in your company.
However, simply being aware of an asset is not enough. You should also know detailed information about each asset that can help you understand the risks associated with that asset. That implies:
- Asset classification by asset type, subtype, role, Internet access or not, and location
- Detailed information such as software and hardware details, open port status, user accounts, roles, and services related to this content
- Determine the business materiality of each asset
- Ensure all assets are running properly licensed and updated software and comply with global privacy policies
- Continuously monitor them to get a real-time picture of their risk profile
- Decide which assets should be liquidated if they are no longer being maintained or are no longer in use
Having an accurate asset inventory is vital to your security.
The ability to track and audit your inventory is a fundamental requirement for most security standards, including CIS Top 20, HIPAA, and PCI. Having an accurate and up-to-date asset inventory also allows your business to track the type and age of the equipment used. Tracking this information will help you identify technology vulnerabilities and keep your cycles up to date. As systems age and are no longer supported by vendors, they pose a security risk to the entire organization. Unsupported software will no longer receive vendor updates, creating the risk that new vulnerabilities may not be tracked or patched.
Step 2. Map your attack surface
The second step in assessing your security posture solution is to map your attack surface. The attack surface consists of all points in the network from which attackers can attempt to access information systems.
For example The X-Y diagram in any representation represents the attack surface, and in a typical breach, attackers use points on this attack surface to compromise (web-facing) assets. Other points are then used throughout the organization to travel to valuable assets, compromise those assets, and exfiltrate data or harm them. For medium to large enterprises, the attack surface can be huge. With hundreds of thousands of assets potentially under attack from hundreds of attack vectors, the attack surface can consist of tens to billions of data points that need to be constantly monitored.
Step 3. Understand cyber risk
The final step in assessing your security posture solution is to understand your cyber risks. Cyber risk is inversely proportional to your security posture. The stronger your security posture, the lower your cyber risk.
Mathematically, risk is defined as the probability that an adverse event (probability) is multiplied by the amount of damage resulting from this adverse event (impact). Cyber risk is the exposure or potential loss resulting from a cyberattack or data breach.
- Severity of known vulnerabilities associated with the asset. Example: CVSS Score for Asset’s Open CVEs
- Threat level. Is the attack method currently being exploited by attackers?
- Vulnerability exposure/use. Depending on where the asset is deployed and used, the vulnerability may or may not be exploitable.
- Risk Mitigation Effectiveness of Existing Security Controls
- Business Importance of Assets.
This calculation should be performed for every point in the attack surface. This allows you to see exactly where your cyber risks lie, helping you prioritize risk mitigation while avoiding the rush of remediating low-risk issues.
Five Steps to improve your Security posture
To improve your security posture solution , you should:
- Automate real-time inventory of all company assets.
- Define risk ownership hierarchy and assign owners.
- Continuously monitor assets for vulnerabilities across a wide range of attack vectors, including unpatched software, phishing, misconfigurations, and password issues; score these vulnerabilities against risk; Send them to the owner for automatic mitigation.
- Continuously review security management gaps and make changes accordingly
- Define metrics and target SLAs for visibility, vulnerability and risk issue remediation, and security control effectiveness. Continuously measure and track
Step 2 above is the key to improving your security posture solution. It is important to define and actively manage an organizational chart of risk responsibilities. Most mitigation tasks must be performed or approved by someone who is not part of the Infosec organization. It is important to provide each risk owner with actionable dashboards and reports that provide information on the security issues they own, the risks associated with them, and mitigation options.
Risk owner hierarchies are well understood, so you can benchmark and even have owners play a role in maintaining an adequate security posture.
Continuous fine-tuning to improve security posture
Once an organization has visibility into its security posture, security program governance should set security posture goals and adjust them regularly. As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, there is a need to continuously monitor the attack surface and ensure that (mostly) automated processes are in place to maintain an adequate cybersecurity posture. I have.
Balbix BreachControl (now known as Balbix Security Cloud) helps you automate and improve your network security. Balbix continuously monitors the attack surface across all asset classes and attack vectors, analyzing this information to predict possible attack scenarios and prioritizing risk-based security issues, business, and troubleshooting. Recommend appropriate mitigation measures to
Establish risk criteria
The first step in protecting your business is deciding what level of risk you are willing to accept. Every company is different. You should assess your data and workflows to identify key risks that could harm your business and develop a plan to address them based on the threat they pose. It is unlikely that all areas will be covered. To get the most value out of your resources, see where your baseline is and apply a triage approach.
Get a complete picture of your network
From printers to security cameras to smartphones, the number of usable terminals on systems continues to grow. It’s important to have a complete inventory of devices that fall into the Internet of Things category, such as small devices and sensors. Securing your network depends on having a clear picture of your network.
Create a user awareness program
It’s easy to focus on technologies and tools that promise to improve your security efforts, but the simple truth is that people are often the weakest link in your defense. People click on the link.
They shouldn’t respond to increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks and unintentionally introduce malware into their networks. It is important to train your employees to recognize security risks and how to respond appropriately. Establish a good security awareness training program and test your employees regularly to make sure it’s working.
Security status is an organization’s overall cybersecurity strength and resilience to cyber threats. Due to the complexity and variety of modern cyberattacks, analyzing and improving the security situation has become a major challenge. Organizations are moving away from previous generations of security strategies and fragmented solutions to automated security posture management architectures that can protect against the rapidly changing threat landscape.