What is your business’s standard protocol when a security breach occurs? When a threat is detected, what happens next? How does your organization practice security testing?
If you can’t answer these questions easily, your security posture could probably use some improvements.
What is your security posture and why does it matter?
Simply put, your security posture is a barometer for how cybersecurity is practiced throughout your organization, and how prepared your organization is for an attack.
A strong security posture means you have the necessary processes in place to protect your applications and your business from vulnerabilities and threats. In a world where sensitive data is constantly at risk of being compromised by malicious actors, strengthening security posture needs to be top-of-mind for IT teams and practitioners.
How to assess your security posture
The strength of your security posture is directly proportional to the amount of risk your organization faces. When you improve your security posture to ensure it’s at its strongest, the amount of risk you face is reduced. When you take steps to assess the state of your business’s security posture, you’re already starting to reduce risk simply by addressing the issue. Assessing your security posture begins with knowing what’s wrong, so you can take actions to fix it.
Many security tools offer surveys and evaluations to help businesses assess their security posture. These evaluations help to determine the level of vulnerability your assets face, identifying risks and weaknesses so you can prioritize changes according to severity. Certain changes and adjustments to security practices will have a larger effect on your security posture, so it’s important to tackle those first.
Steps to improve your security posture
Perform a security assessment
Assessing risk should always be the first step to improving security posture, it helps you get a big-picture view of the security situation at your business. Completing a cybersecurity risk assessment will help to identify all possible vulnerabilities across all assets. A risk assessment tells you the most important IT assets at your company, the likelihood of an exploit, the potential impact of a data breach, and more. Going through this exercise is necessary to know the information value in the event of a breach. There are security tools that can run through this kind of assessment for you, but it can also be done by an in-house security team.
Have an incident management plan
An incident management plan is a key part of being proactive in your organization’s security. Without an incident management plan, IT teams will be lost and won’t know where to start when a security breach occurs. Figuring out a set of steps to take after a breach is detected will help reduce the time it takes to remediate in the future. Knowing which teams will take on certain responsibilities in this event will create better communication, and better collaboration. Carrying out a test breach to check the effectiveness of your incident management plan will help to refine and strengthen it over time.
Prioritize by business impact
After determining what risks and vulnerabilities your business is facing, patching and remediating is the next step. You can save time and cost by prioritizing the risks that will have the largest impact on your business first. Determining the effect of these risks and vulnerabilities on business-critical apps will help in the effort to prioritize. Once you have this process down, you can start taking action to fix, managing time and efforts more efficiently.
Implement a DevSecOps practice
Waiting to do security audits at the end of the quarter allows ample time for attacks and breaches to happen in the time between. Implementing a security testing method will help you integrate security into daily application monitoring:
- Static Application Security Testing – helps identify vulnerabilities by examining your code.
- Dynamic Application Security Testing – puts administrators in the perspective of an attacker to help identify gaps and vulnerabilities.
- Interactive Application Security Testing – combines both SAST and DAST to use software instrumentation (active or passive) to monitor application performance.
- Runtime Application Self- Protection – uses real-time app data to detect and remediate attacks as they occur.
Break down silos
Organizations with IT teams that operate within silos are always more at risk because they don’t communicate effectively during the event of a threat. Fostering a collaborative culture among all teams will help them understand how they’re connected, and how each team is affected in the event of a breach. Instead of pointing fingers after data is compromised, teams need to talk among themselves so they can understand how working together can help to solve security issues quickly and efficiently. Shifting to a DevSecOps policy where security is involved from the beginning of app development helps to ensure good communication across teams and reinforce a culture of collaboration.
Automate threat detection and remediation
With all the data that’s housed within modern applications, it’s nearly impossible for admins to stay on top of all possible threats. Relying solely on the admin leaves lots of room for human error, and plenty of gaps within security. Incorporating technology that helps automate the threat detection process is critical to keeping app security proactive instead of reactive. RASP helps to automate the threat detection process by building security into your application so that the app can recognize and remediate threats without human intervention.
Make regular updates as needed
In order to maintain a strong security posture, you can’t allow your security tools and practices to stagnate. They have to be regularly modernized and improved for optimal results. Security teams should be prepared to make regular changes and adjustments to stay apprised of new advancements in security technology, and modern threats. IT and security teams should build these updates and reassessments into their calendar to ensure that malicious actors can’t take advantage of outdated technologies.
Using these steps to strengthen your organization’s security posture will ensure that security won’t be cast aside as an afterthought. Keeping cybersecurity top of mind when implementing new innovations to your applications will create an added layer of defense against threats and breaches, whether the associated risk is large or small.