How to evaluate your company’s security posture?

A strong posture is like the wall that surrounds your castle or your organization in this context. It is the first place to be attacked by all kinds of risks, known and unknown. Evaluating your company’s security posture is imperative to determine whether it can hold onto the weight of risks and keep the castle secure. To know how to do that, you will primarily need to understand the tidbits of information that come under security posture.

Meaning of security posture

Security posture is known as the security status of any networks, information, or systems within an enterprise or organization based on their ability to defend and react to a breach. In simple terms, it is the term given to the overall security measure of an organization.

All the controls that your organization separately implements for security purposes come under the umbrella of security posture. It is inclusive of a long list of commands like,

  • Information security
  • Data security
  • Penetration testing
  • Vendor risk management
  • Network security
  • Vulnerability management
  • Security awareness training
  • Data breach prevention

An organization’s security posture includes its security systems, networks, and information, as well as its security resources such as software, people, policies, and hardware.

While security posture and security compliance are intertwined, compliance is primarily concerned with obeying laws linked to standards and regulations. In contrast, security posture involves an organization’s overall capacity to protect itself against outside threats.

Reasons your company needs a strong security posture

Having a stable security posture goes a long way in protecting your organization’s network, assets, and information. One of the primary reasons organizations are likely to invest in a strong security posture is because they want to evaluate the vulnerabilities that lie within and to understand the exposure to outside threats.

A corporation ignorant of its security posture is exposed to external and internal dangers. Poor security posture puts all data, including customers, in danger, and enterprises risk failing to comply with security frameworks such as SOC 2 or HIPAA.

According to research, over 70% of security professionals claim that having an air-tight security posture can be extremely challenging, especially over the past two years. Increasing threats of attack surface are one of the challenges that businesses confront today. An attack surface is the set of all potential entry points via which an unauthorized person may obtain access to a system. The attack surface is known to grow if the company has a large amount of sensitive data, utilizes more space on the public cloud, or uses new SaaS applications.

A clear image of your security posture is an important first step in becoming more proactive in your attack surface management and overall security strategy.

Evaluate your security posture in 4 stages

Simply putting up a security posture for your organization won’t be to keep the risks from entering the system. This is where evaluation comes in. Security posture assessment involves a thorough examination of the organization’s internal and external security controls within a single document. This evaluation takes place in four phases, and they are as follows.

  1. Planning
    In the first stage, a dedicated project manager will be assigned the task of scoping the security posture assessment, setting goals, and organizing a comprehensive procedure. This procedure will include a detailed guide on what controls to analyze, which method to use and how to assess the extracted information.
  2. Reviewing Documentation
    The second stage includes documentation of information. Within this stage, the project manager will gather information on internal and external security controls, compile it together and provide an overview of the current security processes that the organization has.
  3. Assess and Analyze
    The organization will then be subjected to evaluations to determine risk areas. Depending on your internal team’s capacity and experience, you may elect to work with a third-party contractor or collaborator to undertake penetration testing or gap analysis to ensure that all security areas have been evaluated.
  4. Reporting
    Last but not least is the reporting stage. Following the completion of assessments, the company will examine the results and assign a security posture level. Any vulnerabilities discovered will be a roadmap for prioritizing and strengthening overall security.

Effective strategies for improving security posture

Every organization deals with different data, meaning their security controls to protect the said information will also differ. However, there are a couple of strategies that can be effective in improving security posture in every organization.

Create an asset inventory

The most important step in protecting your organization’s information is to know where you’ve stored it. List all data assets associated with your organization’s security posture. Take into account both digital and physical data assets and those accessed by third parties. When compiling data assets into an inventory, keep track of which departments or persons have access to each asset and if that access is necessary. After you’ve cataloged all these items, you can start ranking them based on their criticality. It’s also useful to calculate an estimated value to evaluate the possible monetary effect of a violated data asset.

Mitigate risks according to priority

Mitigation of risks is beneficial in many ways, primarily in managing threats. There are several approaches for classifying risks. One of the most common is to use a risk matrix. A risk matrix is a useful tool for assigning levels to the dangers that your firm confronts. Risk matrices are created by weighing the chance of a prospective risk occurring against the impact that risk might have on your business. The question of how to handle risks post-reporting will come after you’ve mitigated them according to priority.

Educate and train your employees

The next strategy is to train your employees in accordance with how to manage the ranked risks. Training employees on security best practices is one technique to help prevent data breaches caused by human error. This should include onboarding training for all new workers as well as ongoing on-the-job training. Your company should also have a clear offboarding procedure in place. This involves collecting gadgets as well as terminating access to business email and servers.

Have a incident management plan ready

Once you’ve determined the greatest risks to your company, it might be good to develop a thorough plan for handling each risk. These methods can then be included in an incident management strategy, a document that assists a company in swiftly returning to normal after a risk occurrence.

The roles and duties of team members should be clearly outlined in your incident management strategy. Instructions on recording the occurrence and whom to tell, such as customers or the board of directors, should also be part of the plan.

Continuously assess your security controls

One of the most important strategies to improve your security posture is to continuously assess the controls for any gaps or loopholes. Regular internal and cybersecurity audits can help you assess the effectiveness of your security procedures and improve your security posture over time.

Final word

Security posture is not merely an advantage but a necessity, especially for SaaS companies. It is detrimental to your organization in terms of external and internal security controls and can be a vital tool in managing, assessing, and rectifying risks.

Scrut Automation is an innovative and radically simple governance, risk, and compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.

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