Security posture is an important aspect for all organizations regardless of their size and industry. It describes how well a company can predict, prevent, and handle cybersecurity threats.
Since cybersecurity issues are costing American businesses hundreds of billions of dollars annually, security posture is quickly becoming the top issue on each company’s agenda. By taking the right approach to data security, it’s possible to prevent breaches, stay compliant, and maintain a stellar reputation.
Let’s take a closer look at what security posture is and how you can improve it.
Why Is Your Security Posture Important?
Security posture refers to the company’s cybersecurity strength. Your cybersecurity strength is highly important to the success of your organization.
The ever-changing cyber security threats make it impossible to run a business without taking care of cyber security. Every year, cybercriminals and hackers come up with new ways to steal data. This keeps IT departments on their toes and demands serious attention to cyber security measures.
A company’s security posture covers all types of security, including:
- Data security
- Internet security
- Software security
- Network security
- Data breach prevention
- Employee cyber security awareness training
- And more
Your organization’s security posture may be excellent today but become worse tomorrow. The changing security requirements make it impossible to stay in one place. To be in top shape, your security posture needs to change continuously.
As new data breaches, vulnerabilities, and loopholes appear, your IT team needs to come up with ways to prevent or deal with them. Otherwise, the company’s security posture can go down.
A strong security posture is integral to your company’s continuous operations and compliance. Without it, you are leaving your data vulnerable to criminals. Many companies never recover from a security breach or a cyber attack.
A well-maintained security posture allows your cybersecurity team to understand how ready it is for possible breaches. Many companies have around a hundred security controls that help protect information against cyber threats. However, these security controls need management.
Some of them are outdated while others develop loopholes that may cause the company to become vulnerable. Paying sufficient attention to the cybersecurity posture stimulates cybersecurity management and security control review that help your company stay on top of data safety.
Businesses spend years building their reputations. All this effort can disappear in a second if a security breach occurs. Stolen data and lengthy downtime could cause your clients to file lawsuits and look over to the competition.
Resurrecting your reputation after a security breach can be nearly impossible. It’s especially tough when you have to deal with the breach’s financial consequences. A strong cybersecurity posture can prevent data-related reputation problems from becoming an issue.
While a strong cybersecurity posture protects your company’s intellectual property, it also makes sure you keep client and customer data safe. Companies that work with sensitive information need to ensure its safety. In some industries, they have to comply with such regulations as HIPAA, FISMA, NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation, and more.
Failing to maintain a strong posture could cause you to face penalties and lose clients. Even if the security breach doesn’t happen, the mere fact of failing to comply could be highly detrimental to your business.
Data protection measures are becoming compulsory for many businesses. Even if you are a small e-store that sells school supplies, you handle credit card information. A breach could cause this information to fall into the wrong hands. This, in turn, could result in a lawsuit.
Cyberthreats are one of the top problems companies with networks of all sizes face. Some business owners mistakenly believe that they don’t need security teams. They delegate cybersecurity to existing employees and eventually face data loss, cyberattacks, and breaches.
A strong cybersecurity posture is vital to the smooth operations of your company. Businesses of all sizes can become victims of cyber-attacks. From such giants as Colonial Pipeline to small local flower shops, every company is a potential target. Cybercriminals rarely discriminate.
The right approach to the cybersecurity posture prevents unnecessary expenses, reputation problems, downtime, and non-compliance penalties.
How to Assess Your Security Posture
Security posture assessment is the first step toward keeping it in top shape. Before designing measures for improving the security posture, security teams need to evaluate the existing security status.
Besides finding vulnerabilities, professional cybersecurity risk assessment allows your IT team to evaluate the type of data you work with, how secure your network is, and the extent of your assets’ value.
These assessments usually evaluate the following aspects:
- The type of data collected by the company.
- How the company stores data.
- Where the company stores data.
- How long the company stores data.
- Who has access privileges to what data.
- How well data storage is secured.
When assessing your organization’s security posture, it’s imperative to nominate an IT expert who will be in charge of the process. They will know about the purpose of the security posture assessment and cybersecurity risks to watch out for.
How to Improve Your Security Posture
When it comes to the organization’s security posture, there is always room for improvement. Even if the assessment doesn’t reveal any serious loopholes, it’s still important to work on the security posture to prevent the possibility of future attacks.
Here are a few ways how you can improve your security posture:
1. Schedule Risk Assessment
Cybersecurity risk assessment is related to the security posture assessment. However, it’s not the same thing. This process identifies new vulnerabilities in your company’s assets. Even if you don’t find any immediate threats, you can evaluate risk factors and review your preventive security measures.
Cyber security risk assessment is an integral part of the organization’s overall risk management process for your entire organization. It must be performed by security professionals on a regular basis.
2. Prioritize Risks in Cybersecurity Landscape
Once you perform the risk assessment, you need to understand which problems require your attention in the first place. Some of them can be solved quickly while others require complex measures.
Since cyber threats are an ongoing issue, you may learn that you need to strengthen the existing controls before proceeding to solve more complicated issues.
To build a plan for improving the security posture, you need to understand where to start. This prioritization can also help you determine how many people you need on your IT team.
When you prioritize security risks, you could learn that the organization’s ability to handle the entire process internal is lacking. In this case, you would have to consider outsourcing cybersecurity issues to a third party.
3. Arrange Security Training
No matter how experienced and educated hackers are, they need a way to enter your network. In most cases, they do it through one of the organization’s employees. Weak passwords, downloaded attachments, and clicked links are among the top reasons behind cyber breaches.
It’s imperative to educate your employees about cyber hygiene. Your team needs to learn how not to create loopholes for the hackers to take advantage of. They need to know how to avoid bait and when to report a problem to the management.
4. Implement In-Depth Root Cause Analytics
If a cyber attack occurs, you need to learn from it. It’s imperative to assess the reasons behind the attack to make sure it never occurs again.
Since cyber risks are always a top priority for your IT team, an in-depth analysis can help IT experts work on better preventive measures and improve security posture.
To make sure your entire team knows what to do when the breach happens, you need to implement a response plan. Sometimes, employees may ignore the signs of a cyber attack, or worse, try to hide the consequences.
Each team member needs to know exactly what to do and whom to notify in case an attack or an attempt of an attack takes place.
5. Leverage Security Software
Today, the majority of your cybersecurity measures can be automated. This is especially useful when you have to monitor your systems in real-time. Many organizations don’t take full advantage of the available security tools.
Before rushing to buy new apps, evaluate your existing tech stack. Most likely, you aren’t taking advantage of its full capacity. In many cases, you can improve your security posture without significant expenses. This can reduce costs for your IT department.
6. Implement Regular Plan Maintenance
Since the cybersecurity environment is constantly changing, your security posture needs regular maintenance. After assessing current cyber risks and implementing preventive measures, consider implementing a regular security plan maintenance.
Your security team should be following the latest cybersecurity developments and trends to make sure it doesn’t miss any important changes. It should also continuously monitor security metrics.
Impending cyber risk is a serious problem for many organizations. That’s why maintaining a good security posture is becoming more and more important. It’s up to business owners to implement high-quality cybersecurity measures, train their teams, and stay on top of the latest developments.
By focusing on a robust security posture, you are improving your company’s operations and preventing unnecessary expenses.