Cyber security

What is Security Posture and how you can assess it?

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security posture

An organization’s security posture refers to the overall state of its cybersecurity readiness.

With tens of thousands of assets in your organization, each vulnerable to a variety of attack vectors, there are virtually unlimited permutations and combinations in which your organization can be attacked. With the attack surface expanding dramatically, cybersecurity teams must address many complexities: vulnerability management, security controls, intrusion detection, incident response, recovery, compliance, reporting, and more. 

How can Information Security teams overcome these challenges and protect their organizations?

The first line of defense against the opponent is a good security posture. This Security Posture Guide covers:

How to Improve Your Security Status

  • The visibility you have into your asset inventory and the attack surface is a measure of your security posture.
  • The controls and processes you have in place to protect your organization from cyberattacks
  • Your ability to detect and mitigate attacks
  • Your ability to respond to and recover from security events
  • The degree to which your security program is automated
  •  IT asset inventory

You can’t protect what you don’t know about. Central to your security posture is an accurate inventory of all your assets. This includes all on-prem, cloud, mobile, and 3rd assets. Attack vectors are the methods attackers use to break into or infiltrate your network. 

Attack vectors take many different forms,  from malware and ransomware to man-in-the-middle attacks, compromised credentials, and phishing. Some attack vectors target vulnerabilities in your security and general infrastructure, others target human users who have access to your network.

And remember, the risk extends beyond unpatched software vulnerabilities (CVEs). Problems, phishing, web, and ransomware, denial of service attacks, and many others form the backbone of your security posture.

Therefore, it is important to understand the full scope of your security posture and to properly prioritize relevant risk areas to protect your organization from security breaches.

Attack Surface

The combination of your asset inventory and attack vectors forms your attack surface. Your attack surface is represented by all the ways an attacker can attempt to gain unauthorized access to your assets using any attack method. 

Security posture automation

A critical aspect of your security posture is the level of automation. Attackers constantly test your defenses with automated techniques. Hundreds of new vulnerabilities are announced every month. 

It’s not enough to simply list your inventory, fix your vulnerabilities, and review your controls from time to time. You need to automate security posture management to stay one step ahead of the enemy.

Improving Your Security Posture

To understand and improve your security posture, you must:

  • analyze your current security posture 1087 identify potential gaps (security posture assessment)
  • take steps to close those gaps (security posture transformation (security)) know how Assess Security Status

Assessing your security status is the first step in understanding where you are on your cyber security journey and your risk of a cyber breach. You would like to be able to answer the following questions:

  • How secure is the organization?
  • Do we have the right cybersecurity strategy?
  • How good are our security controls?
  • Can we accurately measure injury risk and cyber resilience?
  • How vulnerable are we to possible injuries and attacks?
  • How effective is our vulnerability management program?
  • Also, how can we assess and compare different risk owners in the organization?
  • What is the best way to discuss the organization’s security posture with the board? 

3 keys steps in security posture assessment

  • Get an accurate IT asset Inventory
  • Map your attack surface
  • Understand your cyber risk

3 Key Steps to Assessing Security Status

Let’s examine how security status is assessed in 3 steps:

  • Get an Accurate IT Asset Inventory
  • Map Your Attack Surface
  • Understand Your Cyber ​​Risk
Step 1. Get an Accurate IT Asset Inventory

The first step in assessing your security posture is to take a complete inventory of all your assets.

An asset is any device, application, service, or cloud instance that has access to your organization’s network or data.

You need an accurate and up-to-date count of all hardware, software, and network elements in your company. However, being aware of an asset is not enough. You also need to know detailed information about each asset that can help you. understand the risk associated with the asset. This implies:

  1. Categorizing assets by asset type, sub-type, role, internet access or not, and location. Detailed information such as software and hardware details,  open port status, user accounts, roles, and services associated with that asset,
  2. Determining the business criticality of each asset. Ensuring  all assets are running smoothly and with  up-to-date software while adhering to overall security policy,
  3. Continuous monitoring to get a real-time picture of their risk profile.  Creating actions to be triggered when an asset deviates from corporate security policy,
  4. Deciding which assets to retire when they are obsolete or no longer in use. Obtaining accurate information and compiling an inventory is critical to your security posture.

The ability to track and audit your inventory is a  requirement for most security standards, including  CIS Top 20, HIPAA, and PCI. An accurate and up-to-date asset inventory also ensures that your organization can track the type and age of the hardware in use. By tracking this information, you can more easily identify technology gaps and upgrade cycles.

 As systems age and are no longer supported by the vendor, they pose a security risk to your organization as a whole. Unsupported software that no longer receives updates from the vendor puts it at risk of not being monitored for new vulnerabilities and patch deployment to become.

Step 2. Map Your Attack Surface

The second step in assessing security posture is mapping your attack surface. Your attack surface consists of all points in your network where an attacker can try to break into your information systems.

Step 3: Understand Cyber ​​Risk

The final step in assessing your security posture is to understand your cyber risk. Cyber ​​risk is inversely related to your security posture. When your security posture is strengthened, your cyber risk decreases.

Mathematically, the risk is defined as the probability of a damaging event (probability) multiplied by the amount of damage that will result from that damaging event (impact). Cybernetic risk is the probability of exposure or potential loss resulting from cybernetic or data infringement. It is critical that you actively define and manage your risk accountability organizational chart. Most mitigation tasks must be performed or approved by people who are not part of the Infosec organization. It’s important to provide each risk owner with meaningful dashboards and reports that provide information about their security issues, the risk involved, and mitigating the risk.

Risk = Likelihood X Impact
Likelihood: F(vulnerabilities, exposure, threats, mitigating control)
Impact: g(business criticality)

For each point in the attack surface equation above, we need to consider the following:

  • The severity of a known vulnerability is relevant to the asset. For example, the CVSS score of an open CVE at Asset
  • Threat Level. Is the attack method currently being exploited by attackers in the wild?
  • Vulnerability Exposure/Use. Depending on where the asset is deployed and used, the vulnerabilities are either exploitable or not.
  • Risk denial effect of  security controls in place
  • Business criticality of the asset.

This calculation must be performed for all points on the attack surface. This results in an accurate picture of your cyber risk and helps you prioritize risk mitigation actions while avoiding labor-intensive work to fix low-risk issues.

5 Steps to Improve Your Security Posture

To improve your security posture, you must:

  • Automate real-time inventory for all assets in your organization
  • Define your risk-ownership hierarchy and assign owners.
  • Continuously monitor assets for vulnerabilities in a variety of attack vectors, such as e.g. unpatched software, phishing, misconfigurations, password issues, etc., assess these vulnerabilities based on risk and forward owners to monitor automatic mitigation.
  • Review weaknesses in your security control regularly and make necessary modifications. Define metrics and SLA targets for visibility, resolution of vulnerabilities and risk issues, and effectiveness of security controls; and continuously measure and track them. It is important that you define and actively manage your risk of risk. The complexity and variety of modern cyberattacks make them analyze and improve safety shelving.

Risk Ownership

Step 2 above is the key to improving your security posture. It is critical that you actively define and manage your risk accountability organizational chart. Most mitigation tasks must be performed or approved by people who are not part of the Infosec organization. It’s important to provide each risk owner with meaningful dashboards and reports that provide information about their security issues, the risk involved, and mitigation options. With a well-understood hierarchy of risk accountability, you can also benchmark, evaluate, and guide owners. Do your part to maintain a good security posture.

Continuous adjustments to improve security posture

Once your organization has gained visibility into security posture, the governance of your security program must set security posture goals and make regular adjustments. You need to continuously monitor your attack surface in the context of the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape and ensure you have (largely) automated processes in place to maintain a good cyber security posture.

Conclusion

Security posture is the overall cybersecurity strength and resilience of an organization to cyber threats. The complexity and variety of modern cyber-attacks make analyzing and improving your security situation a challenge. As organizations move away from next-generation security strategies and point solutions, they are shifting to an automated security posture management architecture that can protect against a rapidly changing threat landscape.

FAQ’s

Why is security posture important?

A strong security posture aims to protect businesses against cybersecurity threats by detecting and preventing malware intrusions, data breaches, and intellectual property theft

What is a good security posture?

Visibility into the security status of software and hardware assets, networks, services, and information is part of a security posture.

What is security risk posture?

The status of an organization's overall cybersecurity program implemented to protect itself from breaches and safeguard its data is referred to as risk posture.

 

 

 

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