So, what is security posture, and why do you need it?
In recent years, companies around the world have seen a higher number of cyber incidents. With the increased prevalence of remote work and cloud computing systems, it is more important than ever to stay ahead of cyber threats. Cyber risks can take down your systems of operations if your cybersecurity posture is not strong enough.
So, what is security posture, and why do you need it? Cybersecurity posture ensures all things digital security in relation to your organization. If you want a security posture synonym, cybersecurity strength level is a good one.
Data that is stored digitally, networks, clouds, applications, devices, and software are all examples of what needs to be protected from malicious threat actors. Cybersecurity posture can mean allocating resources and budget to cybersecurity, getting cyber insurance, and mitigating risks through cybersecurity tools.
High security posture levels can save you substantial money and hassle in the long run. Data breaches can result in costly lawsuits from your customers, and ransomware can devastate your finances. Because there is an abundance of cyber threat types, there are also different types of cybersecurity posture, including:
Of these posture types, cloud security posture is critical for cloud computing infrastructures. Cloud security posture management (CSPM) can help reduce risks across cloud infrastructures, which are commonly used by companies in healthcare, education, financial services, production, and more.
One way to certify that your posture is robust enough is by performing a security posture assessment. This will evaluate your posture by rating its data security, asset confidentiality, cybersecurity risks, security controls, and more.
A strong security posture can be made possible through good security posture management. One way to improve your cybersecurity posture is by going through a cybersecurity posture assessment checklist that evaluates your company’s cybersecurity posture levels. After you complete the checklist, it will be able to provide you with a security posture rating that gives you a general idea of how strong your posture is.
It is important to strengthen your posture across the board. All digital operations should be made more resilient against potential cybersecurity threats. In addition, your organization needs to devise a plan ahead of time for what needs to be done in case your business operations have been compromised. How will you restore capabilities and services that have been impaired? Which authorities need to be contacted?
The financial and reputational loss can be great if your IT infrastructure or organization’s asset integrity has been compromised. If data has been breached and you have failed to ensure data privacy according to general data protection laws such as LGPD or industry-specific regulations like HIPAA, your entire organization may get in serious trouble.
The first step in strengthening your security posture is usually to identify your vulnerable assets. Personally identifiable information protected health information, and other kinds of sensitive data your company interacts with should ideally receive protective measures. Encryption and access control are just two ways information can be protected from unauthorized access. Training your employees in cybersecurity awareness can also greatly boost the cybersecurity posture across your organization.
Cyber threat actors are always looking for new ways to penetrate even the most sophisticated security measures. Large enterprises to small startups should all implement cybersecurity measures in order to reduce their cyber risks and recover more effectively in case of an attack.
One part of a cybersecurity posture assessment is the question of what is posture assessment in networking and how you can improve yours. Network posture assessment is essentially the strength of the security measures and plans of your organization’s systems of networks.
Define the scope and purpose of the assessment first so that there is more direction. You may need to be aware of any priorities or constraints that can affect your cybersecurity posture assessment.
Using security posture assessment tools, you can check how robust your organization’s security posture is. How many levels of trust can you put in a particular endpoint, for example? Who would be responsible for bringing the systems back online if there is a cyber attack? Is there a designated employee in charge of crisis communications?
It is also essential to remain compliant with any local security laws and regulations. For example, it may be necessary to notify any customers whose personal information has been compromised due to a data breach.
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The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is akin to a vulnerability assessment checklist that can help you improve security posture planning and protect your organization against cyber risks. Cyber risks include threats, vulnerabilities, as well as impacts that would be negative for your organization. The Framework has become incredibly popular – it is globally used by many large enterprises as well as smaller companies. More than 20 states use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as of March 2022.
NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is the main industry standard of cybersecurity frameworks, especially for large enterprises. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework integrates all of the best practices and industry standards. If you are going to use a cybersecurity framework to structure and evaluate your cybersecurity management, it is a good idea to refer to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is divided into five capabilities: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. An excellent cybersecurity posture would mean that your organization has detailed plans and competent cybersecurity measures put in place for each of these capabilities.
One of the main benefits of using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is that it creates a common language for employees across your organization. If there is a cyber risk or a malicious attack, staff at all levels of the company will be able to communicate with each other and clients about the issue.
The typical security posture assessment checklist will encourage you to improve your cyber risk and threat management. If you use the cybersecurity framework devised by the NIST, you will learn that there are three main components: Core, Implementation Tiers, and Profiles.
Many resources exist to help your organization better understand the important topic of how to improve security in an organization. If you take a look at a security posture example, you can learn how to strengthen security posture.
As for what tools can be used for assessing the security posture of an organization, you have a wide range of options. Tools can help you automate cybersecurity, analyze cyber risks, and easily monitor potential threats.
Examining the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can help you develop a resilient cybersecurity program.
The first capability – Identify – asks the main question of what assets need to be protected. This includes trade secrets, patents, sensitive customer information (like Social Security numbers), and more. In case of a data breach, it is likely that your vulnerable assets will be targeted by malware, hackers, or scammers. Typically, you would also look at your organization’s role in a supply chain (if applicable), identify your risk tolerance, and lay the groundwork for a supply chain risk management strategy.
The second capability – Protect – outlines the best safeguards for limiting a cyber attack's potential negative impact. One common, effective way to implement protective measures is by having Identity Management and Access Control within the organization when it comes to sensitive information. Remote maintenance activities may help with protecting your organization, and make sure that any devices, software, and technologies adhere to your organization’s security policies.
The third capability – Detect – helps your organization detect anomalies that may snowball into more dangerous malicious cyber attacks. Assess what the potential impact may be (e.g. your operations are disrupted for a week, expenses reach a million dollars) and ensure that this impact is understood by your organization. Helpful can assist you in continuously monitoring your organization’s cyber risk.
The fourth capability – Respond – focuses on planning your organization’s response to a cyber attack, and what needs to be done after the incident. Usually, this includes contacting internal and external stakeholders, performing recovery activities like forensic analysis, and learning from past cyber attacks.
The final capability – Recover – identifies how you can restore your organization to how it was before. Restoring networking and communications systems after a cybersecurity incident can be difficult. Sometimes, sensitive data may have been lost. A good cybersecurity posture plans out both risk mitigation and post-threat recovery.
At the end of the day, security assessments and cybersecurity planning can be expensive. Tools can help you expedite the process and strengthen your cybersecurity posture, but it still requires expertise and time. However, cyber crimes can be far more costly. Data breaches, fraud, and other cybercrime can be devastating.
Build up and reinforce your cybersecurity so that the worst-case scenarios are far less likely to occur. Remember: hackers prefer to hack systems with poor to no security measures!