2021 has been a challenging year for companies worldwide thanks to the pandemic’s persistence, the ensuing shift to remote work, and the uneven economic recovery. All three have forced organizations to reinvent strategies and processes with the help of technology.
These technological changes, however, also bring an exponential increase in cyber risks and vulnerabilities around production processes. That has resulted in a sharp rise in cyberattacks, as seen in recent months with various ransomware attacks and data breaches.
Hence a company must continuously manage its cybersecurity posture, to minimize the damage of cyber threats and to protect the company’s stakeholders.
What Is Cybersecurity Posture?
Cybersecurity posture refers to the overall state of an organization’s cybersecurity strategies. It describes the general ability to respond to cyber threats and cybersecurity risks. Conceptually, cybersecurity posture measures the enterprise’s:
- Security controls and security measures
- Ability to identify and contain threats
- Incident response to cyber events
- Level of automation in cyber security processes
- General awareness of attack vectors and vulnerabilities
Within the organization’s cybersecurity posture are elements of information security, network and data protection, penetration testing tools, data breach prevention, vendor management, and vulnerability management.
Cybersecurity posture is a crucial indicator for the adequate protection of the company, as it allows the cybersecurity department to understand its effectiveness at minimizing security risks and providing overall protection against cybersecurity threats.
What Is a Good Security Posture?
A company’s security posture is inversely related to the security risks it confronts: the better the security posture, the lower the risks for the organization.
A good security posture is the result of an active cybersecurity program. It consists of third-party vendor risk monitoring systems, the implementation of industry standards in IT security, and the development of incident response plans.
These activities are reinforced by applying security frameworks developed by specialized organizations such as NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and by real-time monitoring of metrics for potential risks.
An effective cybersecurity posture must accurately capture the company’s current threat landscape, the effectiveness of its cybersecurity controls, and its overall security status. Even a poor cybersecurity posture can be helpful if it is detailed and reflects the company’s current state.
What Are the Benefits of a Solid Security Posture?
Cybersecurity posture is much more than a simple measure. Organizations can leverage it in various ways to provide greater security to their IT infrastructure and data security systems.
Highlights Cybersecurity Gaps
Through a cybersecurity posture assessment, it’s possible to identify weak spots and vulnerabilities within the organization. Whether due to the lack of identified risk mitigation strategies, the use of legacy software, or other aspects that reduce the overall security posture, the detection of these weaknesses makes it easier to fix or mitigate them.
This benefit is mainly present in organizations that perform periodic cybersecurity posture assessments, allowing them to keep track of progress (and deficiencies) in their security policies on a constant basis.
Enables Integration of Cybersecurity Processes and Tools
A periodically assessed cybersecurity posture also helps to identify the tools and processes that protect the organization, independently and collectively. It’s beneficial to evaluate the interactions among different tools and strategies to improve response to new threats. The development of security programs can leverage resources and procedures already in place.
Reduces Your Overall Cybersecurity Risk Landscape
Risks have two main elements: the probability of the risk coming to fruition, and the impact of the threat when it does arrive.
A good cybersecurity posture substantially reduces the chance of a risk happening, and strives to reduce the damage done if the risk does happen. Consequently, there is an inverse relationship between cybersecurity posture and cybersecurity risks.
What Is a Security Posture Assessment?
A cybersecurity posture assessment is the process of identifying the overall state of the organization in the face of cyber risks and threats. This process considers all elements of a cybersecurity infrastructure to determine the overall security posture.
Within a security posture assessment, it is necessary to seek answers to specific questions such as:
- How effective are the physical security measures?
- How good are the security controls?
- How vulnerable are we to cyberattacks?
- Can we measure the cyber-resilience of the systems?
- How effective are the vulnerability management processes?
- What data is being collected?
- Who has access to sensitive information?
- How do you protect important data?
- Are the employees well trained against phishing attacks?
- How are IoT devices handled and secured?
- Are intrusion detection systems in place?
When conducting a cybersecurity posture assessment, consider the measures and strategies in place to mitigate third-party risks. Third-party risks cast an increasingly large shadow across a company’s overall risk landscape.
How Can I Improve my Cybersecurity Posture?
A good cybersecurity posture needs constant updating, to adapt to emerging threats and new attempts by cybercriminals to overcome existing security measures.
To maintain a robust cybersecurity posture, you can focus on the following elements:
Prepare for Cyberattacks
No business is entirely safe from cyberattacks, regardless of the controls or measures to prevent them. The most robust cybersecurity programs take this into account and develop mitigation strategies to lessen the harm of these threats to an organization’s operations, reputation, and finances.
Promote a Cybersecurity Culture
By promoting a cybersecurity culture, the risks of phishing attacks and vulnerabilities resulting from human error can be minimized. A proper cybersecurity culture should create awareness within the organization and its employees, promote means to share first-hand knowledge of cyber threats, and periodically train employees to recognize and avoid these threats.
Create a Cybersecurity Task Force
Create a team focused on monitoring your organization’s cybersecurity posture, increasing your company’s threat-prevention capabilities. A cybersecurity task force will keep your security policies and strategies up to date with today’s threats.
Take Advantage of Technological Tools
Many of the tasks that can prevent or mitigate risk and improve the organization’s security posture may be too complicated for people to manage with a collection of spreadsheets. Risk management tools and software can facilitate cybersecurity tasks.
Manage Your Cybersecurity Posture with ZenGRC
ZenGRC streamlines cybersecurity risk management and compliance by providing complete views of control environments. It offers quick access to information required for risk evaluation and management, allowing your business to achieve its cybersecurity needs across a wide range of frameworks.
Zen’s user-friendly dashboard delivers a consolidated picture of your compliance status across several frameworks, such as HIPAA, NIST, SOX, and GDPR. It facilitates control mapping and shows you where you have deficiencies in your documentation and processes.
When audit time comes, ZenGRC’s audit-trail document repository is a “single source of truth” that allows you to collect easily the evidence you need to prove data confidentiality, integrity, and availability as required by law.
Request a demo today to learn how ZenGRC can help you manage and improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture.