Essential steps in improving the security posture of your business

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In an increasingly connected business environment, enterprises of all sizes are always at risk of being victims of security or cyber-attacks.

The barrier to entry for hackers has been significantly reduced. Malware is now easily accessible, and there are even malware-as-a-service providers–which has led to an increase in cybercrime. Organizations must have strong cybersecurity positions to be able to detect and manage intruders across their networks.

You can use several best practices to improve your organization’s security posture. The first step is to identify security gaps, which lets you quantify your risk. Once you have determined your risks, you will be able to improve your organization’s capability to protect valuable assets and ensure the continuous monitoring and improvement of your cybersecurity posture.

Start with a cybersecurity risk assessment

Assessing the effectiveness of your current security controls is the first step to improving your security. After all, what you can quantify, you can easily measure. Conducting a cybersecurity assessment will enable you to identify the vulnerability of various assets in your organization. It will also let you know the security measures you have in place and help you determine any gaps in your security posture management and what actions you need to take to improve.

It is important to assess your third-party vendors when conducting risk assessments. This allows you to identify and fix any potential vulnerabilities resulting from using their systems. Exposure to these vulnerabilities will not only be a risk to your assets, but supply chain vulnerabilities can also have an impact on your revenues. One way to ensure the integrity of your cybersecurity posture is to regularly audit vendors and suppliers, especially those who may be considered high-risk.

Establish priorities and use standard ratings

Once you have quantified and identified vulnerabilities, you will need to rank these according to their risk and potential impact on your company. This allows you to determine which assets are most significant for improving your security posture. It also helps you to establish risk benchmarks that you can use in future assessments.

Security ratings will enable you to prioritize risks and have a clearer understanding of the areas that need to be addressed in your security architecture. These ratings can also be used to support third-party risk management efforts. Moreover, standard frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK will provide cross-referenced, updated, and authoritative information about adversarial tactics and techniques, which your security team can utilize in determining your potential risks and how to address them.

Keep track of your security metrics

Security metrics will enable you to measure how effective and efficient your organization’s security measures are. This way, you can identify ways to reduce risk. It will also enable you to prioritize how to address such risks. Remember that this will only be as effective as the metrics that you choose to measure. Thus, it is important that you track metrics that impact your company both from an operational and strategic perspective.

These metrics should be aligned with your security goals. They will be more valuable if they are not too complex. Keep in mind that since they track, identify, and report on key performance indicators (KPIs), the data should be reliable and easy to understand. Such actionable insights can then be used to inform you of future security decisions.

A metric’s effectiveness will also depend on how mature your security programs are. Set achievable goals for each metric you track, so they can continue assessing your security position as it evolves.

Ransomware security small business
Ransomware security small business

Automate certain processes and solutions

Automating your network environment is essential for security and risk mitigation, and this includes your cybersecurity solutions. This will enable your IT staff more time to concentrate on higher-risk threats.

This can also help reduce incident response times and prevent attacks from further spreading across networks. Automated resources can be used to evaluate security metrics if they are properly set up.

Have an inclusive approach to cybersecurity

The lack of security training can make any organization vulnerable to various cyber threats. It’s not only the IT staff who needs to be aware of cybersecurity platforms and protocols. You need to prioritize employee training to better protect your entire organization against external threats. Each and every employee should receive security training during their onboarding process–this can be adjusted and tailor-fit based on their job function or seniority.

You will also need to regularly test their cybersecurity literacy to determine the education programs’ effectiveness. Remember, humans, are the weakest link in cybersecurity. A recent study by EY has determined that 39 percent of organizations consider careless or unaware employees as their top vulnerability to cyberattacks.

Establish an incident response plan

You should have a plan for responding to a breach, which will help minimize potential damage and ensure that normal operations can resume quickly in the event of an attack. The above-mentioned study by EY advises that businesses need to be proactive and not reactive to the risk of attacks: “By implementing evolving and thorough cybersecurity and privacy plans early on, companies can significantly reduce the risk of data being exposed.”

Thus, It will be necessary to establish response teams that will guide your organization’s actions in the event of an attack. To ensure the timeliness of response, you should also make a list of priority actions during an attack.

Your teams will also need to regularly conduct regular simulations to ensure responsiveness and adjust accordingly if there is any need for improvement and updates. Conducting simulations or mock attacks will ensure that everyone understands their roles and can effectively execute them. You should update your response plans at least once a year or whenever you implement new technology in your company.

The takeaway

Cyber threats are rapidly evolving, which makes it challenging for organizations to assess the strength and capability of their security posture. As new technologies are adopted, security teams must also identify network vulnerabilities to address them adequately. With these steps outlined above, your organization will have an initial framework for ensuring a positive cybersecurity posture, allowing you to make a plan and address risks in real time. Meanwhile, establishing security scores for your vendors will enable you to evaluate third-party risk and monitor your business ecosystem’s performance continuously.

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