What Is a Cyber Security Posture and How Do You Evaluate It?

Cyber Posture - Blog

A business’ cyber security posture refers to the status of security for all digital assets in the business. Some of these digital assets may include but are not limited to software, systems and networks.

Your cyber security posture contains different areas including, network security, information security, penetration testing, data breach prevention, and other different security controls.

Cyber security strategies are designed to protect your business against threats and different types of cyber crime which may be targeting your intellectual property.

A cyber security posture is important in measuring;

  1. The ability of your company to detect and contain cyber attacks.
  2. Automation level in your local cyber security program.
  3. The ability of your business to react and recover from security events.
  4. Processes and controls you have set in place to protect your enterprise from cyber security incidents.
  5. Visibility level you have into your attack surface and asset inventory.

Why Your Cyber Security Posture Is Important

As the cyber security posture increases, the cyber security risks your business faces reduce. This is the major reason why your cyber security posture is important.

A cyber security risk is a probability of loss or data exposure that results from a cyber attack, cybersecurity threats, or a data breach. A cyber security risk may result in loss or harm to IT infrastructure. The harm caused may be a loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability, thus affecting the CIA triad.

Increasing the cyber security posture through reducing cyber security risks ensures that data privacy protection laws like CCPA, GDPR are well followed. These laws and regulations indicate what data must be protected and the category of each data.

The regulations also give security controls your business can follow. Such controls include encryption or implementing the principle of least privilege.

Any business needs to have a habit of maintaining and monitoring its cybersecurity posture. This is because cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways of exploiting vulnerabilities in your system.

Although the traditional method of conducting information security risk assessment is great in finding security risks across the IT processes, infrastructure and people, it is always advised to ensure continuous monitoring since your security system may have gaps.

Determining Your Cyber Security Posture

Information security risk assessments allows the security team in your company to understand the data your company deals with, what data is important and sensitive and what assets and infrastructure to protect. In all these assessments, you should give a quantitative pricing figure.

Some of the common questions to ask during the security assessments to ensure a high cybersecurity posture include;

  1. How and where the collected data is being stored.
  2. What data is collected?
  3. How long the collected data is kept for.
  4. Whether the place data is being stored is properly secured.
  5. How the data collected is protected and documented.

This process is often time-consuming. However, chief information security officers can define general parameters for the assessment through asking details such;

  1. Scope of the assessment.
  2. Purpose of the assessment.
  3. Priorities or constraints should be noted since they could affect the assessment.
  4. The risk methodology used for risk analysis.
  5. Who gives access to the information required.

Evaluating Your Cyber Security Posture

For you to properly evaluate your cyber security posture, you have to identify the objectives of your business and its needs. This will help also help you in analysing the maturity of your cybersecurity posture.

You should always keep such objectives in mind when building your cyber security framework. This will enable you to put the right systems in place for your business needs.

A good example of this is updating your cyber security posture assessment to incorporate security policies targeting remote network access and mobile devices.

You should always prioritise protecting your company from cyber threats. Some companies erroneously prioritise staying aligned with other company’s objectives while sacrificing the cyber security posture.

Using a risk management program is another great approach to evaluate your cyber security posture. The risk management program will help you prioritise the assets in your company according to their level of vulnerability, from the least.

This will advise your decision on what changes to make in your cybersecurity assessment to improve your posture rating. This program is crucial since it will indicate the areas where you should put maximum effort on which will ensure you stay ahead.

After you have carefully identified the points of vulnerability and all the assets facing a potential cyber risk, you will easily develop a layout for your cybersecurity framework. You will also be able to implement the appropriate processes and systems that will address security risks that might be experienced in the future.

The cybersecurity efforts you implement should extend to other departments other than the IT department. Some activities you can do to ensure this is doing security awareness training. You should have a budget for educating your employees on the best security practices to follow.

The work culture in your company should encourage employees to always take the right precautions when dealing with sensitive information. For this approach, you should also include vendor risk management.

Third party vendors can be a potential area of weakness, therefore when evaluating cybersecurity posture, you should assess the susceptibility of vendors. When you find high-risk vendors, you should always require them to allow frequent audits.

Such vendors may also be held accountable when data breaches occur. This is why it is a good idea to perform frequent audits on any third-party vendor in your business.

You can rely on 4 indicators that will help you evaluate your vendor’s cybersecurity posture;

  1. User behavior. These are the employees that exhibit behavior that may expose sensitive data making it susceptible to breaches. Some of this behavior may include sharing sensitive files with unauthorised parties.
  2. Security breaches. You should always evaluate the company’s data breach history. Data breach history is a key indicator of the cybersecurity posture and also the likelihood of experiencing a future cyber breach.
  3. Diligence. Does your vendor take the necessary steps to prevent a cyber attack? This aids in giving details of whether your vendor has secure risk management practices put in place.
  4. Compromised systems. When a company has compromised systems, whether it is exploited devices or malware servers, it shows that the company will be susceptible to future security breaches.

Vulnerability management along with other security controls helps improve your security posture through collective security status analysis.

Cybersecurity posture is your company’s overall cybersecurity resilience and strength when facing potential cyber threats. Cyber attacks are evolving and this makes improving your security strategies challenging.

Companies are now migrating to automated architectures for managing their security posture. This allows vast protection against the fast-changing security threat landscape.

As your company continues to trust other companies and vendors with its information, a strong cybersecurity posture is a necessity. Always keep these key tips and considerations in mind as you build your company’s cybersecurity plan.

How cyber-secure is your business? Find out with our free cybersecurity health check.

It’s a 30-minute Zoom call that walks through a checklist to assess your current cybersecurity levels and provide a short report with some advice and recommendations.

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