When your organization deals with data, you need to be ready to protect it from cyberattacks. As technology continues to change, hackers and cybercriminals are continually coming up with new ways to compromise your organization’s network, often with the goal of crippling it or stealing valuable information from your servers.
To prevent these outcomes, your organization should always have a strong security posture.
“Security posture” refers to your organization’s ability to predict, prevent, and respond to the constantly evolving world of cyber threats. Having a strong security posture means that you have a cybersecurity system with controls and procedures in place to detect and contain a variety of cyber attacks automatically — and that all of your organization’s assets are covered by these processes, with no blind spots or weaknesses that can be easily exploited.
It also means that your organization’s employees are trained to safeguard the networks and systems they use every day.
Why Is Security Posture Important?
No matter your industry or the size of your organization, it is essential to have a good security posture in order to protect your data and systems. Without a good security posture, your organization is vulnerable to malicious attacks, data breaches, and other cyber threats.
In the world of cybersecurity, a good defense truly is the best offense. A strong security posture acts as a deterrent for most cybercrime since most cybercriminals are looking for easy targets with inadequate security. Therefore, a good security posture can stop cyber attacks before they even begin — significantly reducing your level of cybersecurity risk.
Reducing your risk is important if you want to build trust with your customers, clients, and other stakeholders. No one wants to hand over their credit card information or other sensitive data to an entity that can’t guarantee they can protect it. If your organization is vulnerable to data breaches and other cyber attacks, an incident will more than likely occur and your credibility will plummet.
Not only will this scenario affect your bottom line, but you may also be fined for negligence or otherwise penalized for not complying with data protection laws. For instance, a proactive security posture is important for meeting compliance standards set by regulatory bodies like the GDPR and HIPAA. By having a well-documented and robust security posture, you can ensure that your organization is following all necessary protocols and protecting your customers and data.
Why Should You Improve Security Posture?
As previously mentioned, cyber threats are constantly evolving to exploit new technologies. What may have worked to keep your organization’s systems safe in the past may not continue to work today — which is why it is important to continuously monitor and improve your security posture.
Even the most sophisticated IT security systems can become vulnerable over time. Without continuous monitoring for weaknesses, your organization’s IT infrastructure is at risk of having its confidentiality, integrity, or availability compromised by threats you have not prepared for.
For example, in 2017, the ransomware worm WannaCry was able to infect more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries due to a weakness in older Windows operating systems. This weakness was recognized and quickly patched with updates before the ransomware attacks, but many organizations failed to update their systems to address the vulnerabilities. As a result, many organizations were infected with WannaCry and lost millions or billions of dollars.
To avoid such scenarios, ensure that you speedily detect and address weaknesses in your organization’s cybersecurity as part of your regular security posture maintenance.
How Do You Assess Your Security Posture?
To assess your security posture and catch any kind of vulnerabilities, you will need to maintain a complete understanding of what you want to protect, what threatens these things, and how much a successful attack will cost your organization.
To understand what you want to protect, you’ll need to have a list of your IT assets. These assets may include:
- Hardware; like computers, servers, printers, and fax machines
- Software; like programs and apps
- Software licenses
- Smart devices; like cell phones, smart TVs, and voice assistants
- Digital data
When you understand the extent of your vulnerable assets, you can determine what might threaten them. Threats may include:
- Malware: malicious software that can be accidentally downloaded or spread from one system to another. Includes viruses, worms, spyware, and ransomware.
- Denial of service attacks: a cyberattack that overloads a computer system or network so that it cannot respond to commands or requests. Often used as a cover for other cyberattacks.
- Phishing: a cyberattack that uses fake communication over email or social media to trick the recipient into downloading malicious software or providing the attacker with sensitive information.
- Password attacks: cyberattacks that seek to access or steal system passwords.
- Hacking: illicit access of systems by third parties who can then interrupt traffic, steal data, or install malware.
Once you’ve cataloged your assets and the threats that might plague them, you can determine your level of risk by predicting the costs of different security breaches. This will help you prioritize the most dangerous threats as you move forward.
After you’ve assessed your most dangerous security risks, ascertain the likelihood of such risks and how well your current system is prepared to respond to them. You should use a variety of tools and techniques to assess your organization’s security posture. These include security audits, penetration tests, risk assessments, and vulnerability scans. These tools and techniques can help organizations identify any gaps in their security posture that need to be addressed.
Organizations should also use various metrics to measure their security posture. Some helpful metrics are provided by regulatory bodies like the GDPR and HIPAA. As previously mentioned, your organization may already need to adhere to these standards to stay on the right side of the law, but these metrics can also help organizations determine the effectiveness of their security strategies, policies, and solutions. You can also work with security professionals to identify metrics that you should strive to reach.
Whatever the standards you use, your organization should use these metrics to monitor your security posture over time and to identify any areas that need improvement.
How Do You Improve Your Security Posture?
Once you have assessed your organization’s security posture, you should take steps to improve it. Be sure to implement a variety of security measures to protect your data and systems from cyber threats. These measures may include developing better security policies, implementing stronger authentication methods, and deploying more secure networks.
There are a variety of technologies and solutions that can improve your security posture in these areas. These include firewalls, antivirus solutions, encryption technologies, and identity and access management solutions. These technologies and solutions can help your organization prevent unauthorized access and malicious attacks.
While improving your technology will help improve your security posture, you should also ensure that your employees are properly trained on security measures and best practices. Your employees should be aware of the various security measures that are in place and know how to use them properly.
Employees should also be aware of the importance of following best security practices and the risks associated with not doing so. For example, your organization should likely provide training on avoiding phishing attacks through email and the importance of not providing anyone outside the organization with system passwords or account information.
In conclusion, security posture is an important concept for organizations of all sizes and in all industries. Organizations should strive to improve their security posture in order to protect their data and systems from cyber threats. This can be done by assessing their security posture, taking steps to improve it, and using a variety of tools and technologies to ensure that their systems and data are secure.
Ready to upgrade your organization’s security posture? Contact the team at Ontinue today to learn how we can provide you with robust cybersecurity solutions and ensure that you’ll be safe from cyber threats both today and in the future. Request a demo today!