June 30, 2023 - Shania Nadine K.
What is Security Posture?
Security posture refers to a company’s readiness for cyber security challenges. Evaluating a company’s security posture means checking the company’s policies, software, hardware, and networks.
A strong security posture is less vulnerable to cyber threats or cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and a company with a weak security posture is justifiably more vulnerable. A company’s security posture is also not static. Cyber threats are constantly emerging and evolving. New types of threats keep appearing every day, so companies need to be constantly on the alert and evaluate their security posture and prepare themselves on how to respond to the ever-changing security threats.
Security posturing is different from security compliance in the sense that security posturing is more focused on how a company can protect itself against cyber threats, while security compliance is focused more on how a company can follow the existing rules, standards, and regulations related to cybersecurity (for example HIPAA and ISO 27001).
Why is it important?
1. To know which areas need improvement or investment
Understanding your security posture means recognizing which specific areas in your business are more susceptible to outside threats. Knowing this will allow you to know which areas need more security improvement or investment.
2. Poor security posture puts company and customers’ data at risk
By knowing and improving your security posture, you are protecting not only your company’s sensitive information but also your customers. Having a poor security posture means you are vulnerable to cyber threats, which include ransomware and data breaches, that can impact not just you but also your customers.
3. Poor security posture can make your company fail at complying with security standards
To comply with or pass audits of security standards such as HIPAA and SOC, you need to maintain a strong security posture and review it regularly. Complying with these security standards increases your company’s reliability and thus, creates trust with your current or future customers.
4. To know what to do when an attack comes or how to prevent attacks
Cyber threats can cost you a lot, but you can prevent this from happening if you (and your employees) know what to do when it happens and how to prevent them from happening in the first place. By understanding your security posture, you can prepare your employees better for what they should do when an attack does happen and how to prevent them from happening.
How to measure?
A security posture review is usually conducted in four stages:
1. Planning Stage
In this stage, a team leader or project manager from the company will plan out the whole process of assessing the company’s security posture and also assign tasks to the members accordingly.
2. Documentation Stage
After planning out the process, the team leader will document the current security practices of the company.
3. Evaluation Stage
Next, the company’s security posture will be evaluated based on the available security posture assessment resources. We recommend you collaborate or consult with an external security service provider in doing this to make sure that you get the best evaluation. They can also help in providing cybersecurity metrics resources.
4. Reporting Stage
Finally, the company will review the security posture level based on the evaluation, highlight the areas that need improvement or needs to be prioritized, and conduct further planning on how to improve the areas that are vulnerable to cyber threats.
How to improve?
1. Automate Threat Detection and Response
Requiring the IT team to monitor your company’s security systems and networks 24/7 could be risky as there is always room for human error. A recommendation you could use is to utilize automated threat detection and automated endpoint protection software. It’s more reliable and saves your employees’ time. SentinelOne automatically stops malware in its tracks without requiring the system administrator to take care of it, thus helping its users to save time while still protecting their endpoints.
2. Provide Security Training
As mentioned in our previous blog post , a survey in 2021 held by Kenna Security found that 31% of companies do not provide cybersecurity training to their employees or multi-factor authentication for their systems. Because of this, threat actors are able to take advantage of companies. The best defense for these security gaps is to provide corporate security training. While it can be pricey it is worth the investment as everyone gets on the same page. Additionally, it prepares your employees to take action when a cyberattack happens.
It is important to note that companies should provide training for off-boarding to help ensure that resigned employees no longer have access to the company’s networks or data.
3. Update Software Regularly
Regular software updates are a must. Remember that every outdated software and patch you have running makes your devices and data more vulnerable and easily exploited. Updating the software regularly is very important as it gives you the best security patch available, keeping you secure and safe.
4. Security Assessment
Risk assessments should always take priority when improving and optimizing security posture. It allows you to get a holistic environment of the current security situation of your business. Completing a cybersecurity risk assessment will allow you to identify all possible vulnerabilities and weaknesses that are exploitable across all assets. A risk assessment identifies the most important IT assets at your company, the likelihood of an exploit, the potential impact of a data breach, and more. Going through these exercises is necessary to know the information in the event of a breach. There are security tools that can run through this kind of assessment for you, but it can also be done by an in-house security team.
5. Incident Management Plan
The incident management plan is a plan that lists the contingency plan when a cyberattack happens – typically, one would be created for every individual cyber vulnerability or risk. An incident management plan highlights the necessary steps to take so that when that type of cyberattack occurs, the business can mitigate the damage and recover quickly, making policies to protect the business in the future. The plan should also highlight what each employee or team member should do and who to notify when a cyberattack occurs.
6. Access Control
Controlling access to networking, hardware, and operating system settings is crucial in security. Allowing only vetted required personnel to have access; not everyone in the company should be given access to modify system settings, mitigating the dangers of unauthorized personnel accessing crucial security tools.
7. Prioritize Risk
Cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities look differently based on industries and individual companies. These vary from low to high-level impact exploits and occurrences. Prioritization is necessary to create plans to eliminate risks that are more likely to happen and have the greatest impact on your business before you go on the risks that are less likely to happen or have a smaller impact.
Ultimately, Evaluating and continuous optimization of your organization’s security posture is essential to safeguarding and securing your valuable data. Implementing any of these tips will improve your cybersecurity presence and lessen vulnerabilities being exploited in your systems. Remember, it is not if an attack happens, it is when an attack happens and the best way to mitigate attacks is with a knowledgeable staff.