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Tips for Implementing Continuous Security Validation

For many organizations, it can be challenging to know how to be proactive with their cybersecurity. The dramatic shift to cloud-based software and tools can leave organizations with newfound vulnerabilities. Implementing continuous security validation is a proactive cybersecurity measure where organizations and their security teams can better protect their data and the overall organization by testing the effectiveness of their defenses before a real breach occurs. As discussed in Top Reasons Why You Should Implement Continuous Security Validation, there can be several benefits provided such as:

  • Increased cyber resilience by frequent testing and validation 
  • Reduction in interrupts due to data breaches
  • Better defense against zero-day vulnerabilities

 In the fireside chat between rThreat’s Brad LaPorte and FireCompass Co-Founder Bikash Barai, they discuss what you need to know about Continuous Security and Practical Strategies.

Threats in cybersecurity 

As Brad discusses, over the last 10 years, there has been a significant shift to cloud-based software and tools. There has also been a lot of automation, such as AI and other tools that allow organizations to better defend themselves against various types of attacks. However, this type of technology is also available to hackers and cyber criminals.

 There are other issues that organizations can face in regards to cloud security. One of the most significant issues being misconfigured cloud services. Breaches caused by cloud misconfiguration totaled a global cost of 3.18 trillion dollars in 2019. Because of the benefits of cloud-based software, companies quickly shifted without taking the time to properly implement new security protocols.

 “It’s not a matter of whether or not it’s going to happen to you, it’s it’s a question of when and how bad.” – Brad LaPorte

In 2020, there were over 3,900 breaches across 16 industries and four world regions, according to the 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report. 45% of the breaches featured hacking, and 55% of the breaches were from criminal groups. 22% of the breaches used social tactics, mainly phishing. 

That is why adopting a proactive approach to security validation is essential. It allows you to find gaps and vulnerabilities in your current security processes to minimize your attack surface.

How organizations can implement continuous security validation

There are a few ways that organizations can begin implementing continuous security validation. After years of experience, Brad recommends taking the approach of “crawl, walk, run.” This is where you start small and identify what the state of your current security measures looks like in order to understand your baseline. Then you work step by step, identifying key areas for improvement and prioritizing effectively to increase security posture and reduce your attack surface.

For small and medium-sized businesses, crawling with open-source tools is a great way to start. However, you want to look at platforms that you can use when implementing continuous security validation. As your security program matures and teams become more confident, you’ll want the ability to evaluate a variety of different threats against your systems. This is when you can see a big difference in the value of platforms that offer emulation versus simulation.

Implementing these changes not only provides benefits to the organization but there are several benefits that security teams can get from this technology. Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduction of time spent on unplanned work caused by breaches
  • Increased confidence regarding their ability to handle threats
  • Bridging cybersecurity knowledge gaps

The main idea is to adopt a process that you can begin implementing at a more regular basis to test for vulnerabilities. Small steps can eventually lead to proficient processes and security measures, all it takes is turning it into a routine behavior.

Best practices for how to approach security validation

It is important when strategizing, to not go at a full sprint and take on too much. Start small at a crawl and find critical areas to you. Another best practice suggested by Brad was to focus on micro-actions, improving a little bit every day. Over a period of time, these micro-actions can begin moving up your teams’ security maturity level. Other small cybersecurity practices that can be adopted include:

  • Backing up data
  • Keeping passwords secure and changing passwords frequently
  • Creating a hierarchical security policy
  • Increase employee awareness on threats such as phishing

Take culture into account too. It is important to not only fully train your team but to make sure that the company culture is there to support these changes. Being proactive in your cybersecurity defenses is a mindset that, over time, you can build upon new habits and exercises to taking a more defense forward approach. Start with identifying a threat or weakness, creating a process around it, and building upon it. You can then begin working on emulated exercises that grow and become more routine to check on your security system. 

Running different forms of security assessments such as penetration testing, vulnerability testing, and so on is a great way to get a snapshot of your company’s security measures. However, being able to continuously perform these point-in-time assessments is difficult due to cost and time. Organizations can take a more proactive approach using tools such as breach attack and emulation, giving a more realistic assessment of real-world scenarios.

Adopting continuous security validation to regularly check your infrastructure for issues before a breach happens is a great step to take to reduce gaps and exposure.

Defending Forward with rThreat

With the increase of remote work in the last year, it is no surprise that we see an increase in cybersecurity threats. To better protect your organization and prepare your teams, reviewing your current security protocols and implementing continuous security validation can mean the difference between a breach and a neutralized threat. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your organization is to utilize emulation platforms to test against known, custom, and zero-day artifacts.

You don’t know what you don’t know. rThreat’s breach and attack emulation solution provides continuous assessments that companies need to better understand their security posture. With rThreat, you can validate security processes and tools while running drills with your security team, so they are trained to rapidly detect and handle an attack. To view a demo of rThreats breach and attack emulation software, you can do so here.

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