In an ideal world, security teams have all they need to fight and protect against cybersecurity threats. The reality, however, is that most teams and security operation centres struggling to keep up. No matter where you place the blame, breaches are consistently falling through the cracks.
Improving your Security Posture
A reactive state isn’t sustainable for an individual, let alone a whole team. You will burn out, leaving the situation to worsen. Being ahead of the game is essential. Addressing and installing proactive measures into several key areas can massively improve your security posture.
Have the right Strategy for Common Organisation Threats
It is likely that your organisation has already been compromised in the past. Instead of focusing the energy of your security team on passive detection and prevention-only methods, it is wise to find a balance between prevention and active searches. Think about these questions to help determine these threats:
- What do you want to protect?
- What are the most common attacks?
- What previous attacks have occurred?
- What were the previous vulnerabilities in your systems?
These can pinpoint potential targets, giving you an idea of where coverage is needed. Your required coverage may include people with specific skills, distinct processes, and tools that are optimised for certain threats.
Be Wise about Security Products
With the range of security products out there, it seems easy to pick a product that checks a box for a specific challenge or compliance need. However, that doesn’t mean this tool is the right one for the job, let alone your specific work environment. Choosing poorly can mean a wasted investment. It could even mean more hard work for the team by having to include it in their workflows. Think about these questions when making the right decision:
- Do you have the right people to use the tool?
- Is the tool being added with strategic context?
- Does it fit your goals?
- Does it work well with your existing tools and systems?
- Is it cost effective?
It’s also important to conduct a proof of concept (POC) for any candidate product to see how well it performs in your work environment. You may find after a POC that a tool isn’t as good as expected.
Ensure your Team are Fully Trained
Security is not just the responsibility of the security team. Creating a security culture is essential if you want everyone to take responsibility for their use of cybersecurity in the workplace. You should provide consistent training for ALL the people in your organisation to ensure that they are doing their bit to keep the workplace as safe as possible.
As well as training all the people in your organisation on security awareness, policies, and procedures to keep information within the company, you should properly onboard security staff. This included well documented and easy-to-access security processes as well as other internal knowledge of teams, tools and system architecture. It would also be beneficial to assign mentors to new security team members. This would ensure they learn the ins and outs, as well as succeed in the organisation and their career growth.
What would an Attacker do?
Proactive security measures require a specific mindset. Thinking like an attacker means you can look at the process with a fresh set of eyes. Instead of thinking about how your defences are intended to work, you think about how they actually will work at this moment. Determining the strengths and weaknesses and be ready for how attackers will expose your systems and plan around that.
Invest in Vulnerability Assessments, Pen Testing and Risk Analysis
It’s important to understand the weaknesses and likelihood of an attack in your systems. Vulnerability assessments can help patch things up and can be easy to automate. Penetration systems can build upon this but be sure to have an experienced practitioner to perform this as it can be complex. Risk analysis can also help evaluate the vulnerabilities and threats to your organisation. This can determine the costs and benefit analysis of fixing them.
Frequently Test your Incident Response Processes
Whether you hire an outside agency to conduct tests, or you internally simulate a targeted attack on your systems, testing incident detection and response processes will help to find gaps in coverage as well as areas of slowness. This can help prepare your security team for real-world incidents and provides experience to speed up processes. It’s a good idea to test and re-evaluate processes when new personnel or technologies are introduced to the team.
For remediation purposes, restoring backups may be needed more frequently than expected. Having information backed up and in a safe place means your team can act fast without losing data.
Connect your Tools and Systems and Automate Frequently
A common issue in many organisations is unconnected tools and systems, which forces security practitioners to jump from system to system. This can slow incident response times, reduce efficiency and can lead to higher margins of error. If a process is repetitive, it can and should be automated. Doing so can free up time for doing more proactive security defences.
Threat hunting is popular with security professionals. It is a truly proactive process of seeking dormant threats within your systems. The begin applying these concepts, however, you must be truly proactive in your security efforts. The goal is to allow the teams to have a consistent process involving specific methodologies, people, and tools to find hidden advanced threats.
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