Having a clear vision of your organization’s cybersecurity posture is more important than ever as cyber threats continue to propagate across the nation. Given the rising attacks, there is far more pressure on businesses by the government to protect their sensitive data. However, traditional solutions of online security are no longer sufficient.
Hackers are becoming more intelligent over time. As companies move to cloud-based applications, their systems become more susceptible to cyberattacks. Organizations are encouraged to take a holistic approach to their cybersecurity posture.
What is a Cybersecurity Posture?
Your software and hardware have individual policies, procedures, and controls. When you dive individually into these, a vital part of it talks about cybersecurity to understand the likelihood of a breach.
Cybersecurity posture refers to an organization’s collective effort against cyberattacks. Your cybersecurity posture expands from your IT security status to your vulnerability to external threats. A term popularly used to describe the overall defense mechanisms, strategies, and barriers preventing cybercrime. It relates to any security measures, policies, and programs.
Why is Cybersecurity Posture Important?
Gaining knowledge about your company’s cybersecurity posture is essential to recognize where you stand about online security threats—data breaches and intrusions. Understanding where your organization stands, you establish a plan for creating a more secure environment for your organization.
Regularly monitoring and maintaining your cybersecurity posture is critical because cybercriminals constantly find new sophisticated strategies to exploit loopholes in a company’s security infrastructure.
Adopting a holistic approach that takes existing security risk policies, programs, culture, and education into consideration helps identify all vulnerability entry points that will help you be proactive rather than reactive to threats. Choosing not to do so may lead to a drastic breach that usually comes with a loss in data, revenue, and reputation that is impossible to regain.
Understanding Cybersecurity Risk vs. Cybersecurity Posture
Cybersecurity risk and cybersecurity posture are often used interchangeably. Understanding the effectiveness of your organization’s cybersecurity posture relies on the results of your cybersecurity risk assessment. Cybersecurity assessment identifies the extent of your security loopholes within the organization.
By identifying your potential risks and weaknesses, your team prioritizes the actions to take. In simple terms, your cybersecurity risk and cybersecurity posture depend on each other. Your cybersecurity posture improves as your cybersecurity risk decreases.
Three-Step Guide to Evaluate Your Cybersecurity Posture
Understanding your cybersecurity posture plays a vital role in defending your systems against cyberattacks. By determining where your organization is most vulnerable, you can establish a solid plan for developing a more secure IT environment. Here’s a three-step guide in exploring your cybersecurity posture:
Step 1: Identify your needs and objectives
Before identifying the software you need to install, you must first identify your business needs and objectives. Each organization is unique. Taking this approach will create a foundation for your cybersecurity framework. For example, if you’re planning for a hybrid environment, security policies geared toward BYOD devices and remote network access should be prioritized.
Step 2: Understand your cybersecurity risks
As mentioned previously, cybersecurity risk and cybersecurity posture have an inverse relationship. Developing a risk management program with a comprehensive inventory of all your assets is the first step to having robust cybersecurity in place. It will help if you had an accurate and updated count of all your software, hardware, programs, and devices. However, a list of assets isn’t enough. It helps to categorize them based on the following:
- Type of asset
- Internet-facing or not
- In-depth information like software and hardware details
- Status of open ports
- Services linked
- Asset criticality
- License information
- Risk profile
Doing this will land you on an accurate asset inventory. Your ability to track and audit your asset inventory is a baseline requirement for most security standards and ensures your organization can keep track of all hardware and software in use.
Step 3: Map out your attack surface
Your attack surface is all the points on your network where an adversary can attempt to enter your information systems. Strengthening your cybersecurity posture extends beyond the IT department. Educating employees on cybersecurity best practices protects sensitive information. Third-party cybersecurity assessments are also critical at this stage to locate vulnerabilities and the possible damages they could cause.
How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture
There are multiple ways to identify gaps in your cybersecurity framework. Here’s a few of them:
- Improve real-time inventory with automation.
- Create a structured risk ownership hierarchy.
- Monitor assets for vulnerabilities—unpatched software, misconfigurations, social engineering threats, password, and more.
- Review gaps in your security control regularly and make address changes appropriately.
- Define metrics based on visibility, risk, and security control effectiveness
Following the best practices in cybersecurity will strengthen your organization’s ability to protect vital assets and ensure that your cybersecurity posture is unshakeable moving forward.
Cybersecurity is complex but can be simplified when choosing the right strategies that protect your data, maximize your cybersecurity spend, and demonstrate a return on investment. Knowing your cybersecurity posture is vital in helping you strengthen your defense barriers over time.
Do you know where your company stands in terms of your cybersecurity posture? If you are not sure, talk to one of our cybersecurity experts today. Our experts will give you an in-depth view of where you are in terms of your cybersecurity posture.