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Security Posture: A Leader’s Guide to Evaluating and Improving It

Cybersecurity remains a top concern for companies everywhere, with attacks continuing to accelerate across all verticals. Globally, 64% of companies have experienced at least one form of cyberattack. Making matters worse, cybercriminals attack roughly 30,000 websites each day.  

To fight back against cybercrime, companies need to focus on building a strong and responsive cybersecurity posture, or strategy. Having a strong cybersecurity posture makes all the difference in the world when it comes to preventing threat actors from launching successful campaigns and stealing sensitive data. 

Read on to discover what a security posture is, how to evaluate and improve yours, and tips for strengthening your posture to prevent attacks from causing significant damage.

What Is a Security Posture?

Security posture describes the overall strength and effectiveness of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. 

A company with a strong security posture is generally able to predict, respond to, and mitigate cyberthreats. On the other hand, when a company has a weak security posture, the organization has numerous vulnerabilities that make it susceptible to cyberattacks.  

Companies need to focus on building a strong security posture because the cyberthreat landscape is becoming increasingly dangerous. Threat actors are constantly adjusting their tactics and procedures to bypass defense mechanisms. At the same time, companies are expanding their use of digital technologies, cloud services, and data—all of which increases the threat surface. 

While it’s impossible to prevent most types of cyberattacks from occurring, companies can keep up with cybercriminals by maintaining a strong security posture.

The Key Aspects of Security Posture

Security posture is an umbrella term that houses many different components. With that in mind, here’s a general breakdown of the different elements that come together to make up a security posture. 

Network Security Posture

Network security posture refers to the computers, systems, and devices that interconnect and enable users to communicate, share data, and access digital services. Many businesses are now switching from traditional legacy networks to software-defined networks that enable greater security, responsiveness, and flexibility.  

Data Security Posture

Data security posture refers to an organization’s ability to protect its digital information. This may include customer data, application data, and financial information, to name a few examples. An organization’s data security posture is increasingly important due to the vast amount of data that companies are now collecting. 

Cloud Security Posture 

Cloud security posture involves inspecting cloud policies in order to detect and prevent configuration drift, misconfigurations, and rogue identities that have too many permissions. As companies continue to migrate to the cloud, having a strong cloud security posture is critical for success. 

Application Security Posture

Application security posture focuses on inspecting applications to assess the security and stability of the underlying code. This is especially important for organizations relying on third-party code from repositories. 

Vendor Risk Management

Vendor risk management involves assessing the overall security of partnering organizations. In certain cases, companies can be responsible for security and privacy violations that take place through vendor resources. 

Security Awareness Training 

Security awareness training is another critical component of security posture. This is because workers play an important role in keeping an organization safe from cybercrime. By training employees and educating them about the latest cyberthreats, it’s possible to reduce the threat of social engineering and malware attacks.

How Do You Evaluate Security Posture?

Because security posture touches on so many different areas of an organization, conducting a thorough analysis typically requires consulting with multiple departments, like network, data, and engineering teams. In other words, you want to go to the people who are closest to specific workflows and procedures to get an accurate assessment. Companies generally take the following steps to evaluate security posture.  

1. Inspect Each Environment 

The first step to evaluating your security posture is to audit how each individual security strategy is working. This may involve inspecting email filters to determine how effective they are at preventing malware from reaching end users, for example.  At the same time, it’s also helpful to analyze security events and try to get a sense of how frequently threat actors are targeting each area of the business. This can help you prioritize different security initiatives and determine how to best allocate your resources.  

2. Identify and Eliminate Security Gaps 

After conducting a complete inspection, the next step is to identify and assess any possible gaps in your security posture. For example, the audit may reveal that the employees lack proper security awareness and training, or that the organization has several cloud security misconfigurations.  Once you’ve outlined security gaps, it’s necessary to notify relevant team members and agree on specific resolution steps.  

3. Continue Monitoring Security 

Companies are highly dynamic, with environments that can change by the hour. As a result, a company’s security posture is never set in stone.  For this reason, security teams need to have continuous monitoring and reporting mechanisms in place to identify and remediate threats.

How Can I Improve My Security Posture?

It’s important to remember that security posture is ultimately the sum of many individual parts. So, if you want to enhance your overall security posture, you need to focus your attention on specific areas of the organization.  With this in mind, here are some actionable tips you can use to enhance your organization’s security posture

Make Security a Core Part of the Development Process

The traditional approach to development involves conducting security testing at the end of the process, right before the software goes into production. This makes it harder—and more expensive—to eliminate bugs and vulnerabilities. And as a result, digital products often move into production with underlying security issues.  Instead of waiting until the end to test, you can “shift left” and integrate security testing throughout the development process to save time, reduce security issues, and lower costs. 

Embrace Automation

It’s impossible to manually track and inspect every security event. Most companies today are automating threat detection and using tools with artificial intelligence to detect suspicious activity and eliminate threats. Automation leads to a more responsive security environment and frees security teams to spend more time investigating and removing threats instead of combing through backend databases and applications.  

Increase Security Awareness Training 

All end users are targets for cybercrime. As a result, security training needs to become a routine process. Security teams should increase communication and collaboration to help spread awareness about evolving threats and to fortify security across all touchpoints.  

Close Systems and Accounts That Aren’t in Use 

When assessing your company’s overall security posture, it’s important to keep your eye out for old systems and accounts that are no longer in use. Some common examples include idle servers and cloud instances. Deactivating unnecessary systems is a great way to reduce your threat surface and save money at the same time. 

Fortify Your APIs 

Most software-driven companies now use APIs to make their applications and services more flexible and accessible to partners and customers. However, companies often have surprisingly poor visibility into their APIs, which makes them sitting ducks for data breaches. In light of this, one of the best things you can do to strengthen your security posture is to increase visibility into the APIs that your organization is using. 

 


 

About Traceable

Traceable is the industry’s leading API security platform that identifies APIs, evaluates API risk posture, stops API attacks, and provides deep analytics for threat hunting and forensic research. With visual depictions of API paths at the core of its technology, its platform applies the power of distributed tracing and machine learning models for API security across the entire software development lifecycle. Book a demo today.

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