Maintaining robust cybersecurity is critical in today’s landscape of sophisticated threat actors. An essential component of effective cybersecurity is the management of an organization’s security posture. A poorly managed security posture can result in numerous vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
What is an Organization’s Security Posture?
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines security posture as the security status of an enterprise's networks, information, and systems based on the information security resources and capabilities in place to manage the defense of the enterprise and to react as the situation changes. The resources this definition references include the people, hardware, software, and policies associated with providing security for the IT environment.
Security posture management is important for organizations of all sizes. The digital transformation many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are going through exposes their valuable assets to threat actors that may have been ignored in the past. SMBs need to take a proactive approach to SPM to protect their digital resources.
A security posture is comprised of the following elements.
- Asset identification and management provide visibility into the environment as a first step toward protecting it.
- Risk management identifies vulnerabilities in the environment and develops strategies to mitigate risk.
- Access management ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive or valuable data resources and systems.
- Threat management evaluates threats to the environment and develops defensive strategies.
- Security controls such as firewalls and intrusion detection solutions protect the environment from malicious entities.
- Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are necessary to ensure the business can continue operations in the event of a disaster.
- Incident management defines the methods an organization uses to address cybersecurity issues and minimize damage to the environment.
- Security education, training, and awareness are necessary for everyone in the organization so they understand their role in protecting data resources.
What is Security Posture Management?
Security posture management (SPM) is the process of assessing an organization's security posture to identify potential vulnerabilities and implement measures to address them. In today’s data-driven business world, IT environments are extremely important to a company’s ability to serve its customers. The security posture used to protect them must be able to meet business requirements while also offering the necessary cyber defenses.
Business objectives need to always be the underlying impetus for SPM. Companies have to make sure they are not obstructing their business by ineffectively managing their security posture. The goal is to improve security to better serve the interests of the business, not to hinder its operation.
Another factor that influences SPM is the type of risk an organization faces. The degree of SPM required will vary greatly depending on the company in question. There are vast differences in the type of protection necessary for businesses that process millions of credit card transactions versus a company that uses its web presence strictly as a marketing platform. Organizations need to approach SPM rationally and balance the initiatives with the resources that are being protected.
Security posture management is necessary for the following reasons.
- SPM addresses changes in the environment that may require modified security initiatives. The addition of new systems or components, migrating to the cloud, and promoting a mobile workforce all demand a focus on security posture management.
- SPM helps organizations counter emerging threats that are not currently addressed effectively. Lessons learned from previous incidents should be implemented to strengthen cybersecurity defenses.
- A culture of security posture management enables companies to incorporate new technology that enhances their cybersecurity. Advanced solutions such as extended detection and response platforms can provide automated defenses that help organizations protect themselves from sophisticated threat actors.
The Challenges of Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
Cloud security posture management (CSPM) is concerned with maintaining robust security across an organization’s cloud instances. While it has similar goals to SPM, there are aspects of protecting a cloud environment that pose challenges to effective CPSM.
CSPM has become increasingly important due to the number of organizations that have migrated to the cloud. According to Gartner, the public cloud market is expected to continue to grow at an impressive rate of over 21% between 2022 and 2023. There are a lot of companies that are just getting used to having a cloud presence.
The growth of the cloud computing market has led to many organizations employing an ineffective cloud security posture. This fact combined with the increased value of resources involved in digital transformation has made CSPM critically important. A company’s success or failure can be determined by its ability to effectively manage its cloud security posture.
CSPM is necessary for the same reasons as traditional security posture management. In addition, the following factors make CSPM a top priority for many organizations.
- The most common issue addressed by CSPM is the misconfiguration of cloud security resources. Even when effective security solutions are available, misconfiguration only provides a false sense of security until the inevitable incident or data breach occurs. This problem is caused by the combination of complex cloud architectures and a shortage of cloud security skills.
- Complex cloud architectures increase the difficulty in providing robust cybersecurity. Many companies are opting for multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architectures to take advantage of the offerings of multiple providers. Subtle differences in how vendors approach cloud security can make it very challenging for organizations to consistently implement effective defenses.
- Many of the organizations that have recently migrated resources to the cloud do not have cloud-specific security skills. Insufficient knowledge regarding cloud security and a lack of configuration guardrails result in misconfigured systems that present threat actors with exploitable vulnerabilities.
- CSPM is necessary to ensure that companies remain compliant with regulatory standards as they migrate to the cloud. As on-premises storage and other infrastructure components are replaced by cloud resources, their security needs to be managed to ensure continued compliance.
How XDR Enhances a Company’s Security Posture
Extended detection and response (XDR) offers companies an advanced method of addressing sophisticated threat actors. XDR provides multiple enhancements to an organization’s security posture that include:
- Consolidating telemetry in a single pane of glass to streamline threat monitoring;
- Identifying sophisticated threats that escape detection by legacy tools;
- Identifying weak signals that may indicate an intrusion or the presence of advanced persistent threats;
- Detecting abnormal and subtle lateral movement through the environment that may be the result of an intrusion;
- Prioritizing and alerting security personnel of suspicious behavior so it can be effectively addressed.
Samurai XDR is a cloud-based, SaaS XDR solution that enables businesses of any size to improve their security posture. The tool complements an organization’s existing security measures to provide the enhanced threat detection required in the current threat landscape.
Contact Samurai and learn how XDR can improve your organization’s security posture.
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