Testing to Ensure Your Security Posture Never Slouches

Take, for example, the May 7th DarkSide ransomware attack that shut down Colonial Pipeline’s distribution network. That well-publicized attack spurred considerable interest in cybersecurity assessments. Ransomware doesn’t just cost money—or embarrassment—it can derail careers. As news spread, we fielded numerous calls from executives wondering: Are my systems protected against DarkSide?

How well can you predict, prevent and respond to ever-changing cyberthreats? How do you know that your security efforts measure up? The stakes are high if this is difficult to answer and track.  Imagine if you had one place where you found a comprehensive real time security posture that tells you exactly where the looming current cyber risks are and the impact?  Let’s consider a recent and relevant cyber threat.

To empower you to ask and confidently answer the “am I protected” questions, we developed MVISION Insights Unified Posture Scoring to provide real-time assessments of your environment from device to cloud and threat campaigns targeting your industry.

Until recently, discovering the answer to such questions has required exercises such as white hat penetration testing or the completion of lengthy or sometimes generic security posture questionnaires. And we know how that goes — your results may vary from the “norm,” sometimes quite a bit.

Risk and Posture

Assessing risk is about determining the likelihood of an event. A risk score considers where you’re vulnerable and based on those weaknesses how likely is it that a bad actor will exploit it? That scoring approach helps security teams determine whether to apply a specific tool or countermeasures.

With the score, you’ll know at a glance: Have you done enough to stave off the most likely risks? In general, the better controls you set for your endpoints, networks and clouds, the lower your risk of breaches and data loss—and the better your security posture score. A CISO from a large enterprise recently stated that the “most significant thing for a CISO to solve is to become confident in the security score.”

Security posture scoring may answer other critical questions such as:

However, a posture score goes a step further when it considers your current environment’s risk but also whether you’ve been able to withstand attacks. Where have you applied protections to suppress an attack? It enables you to ask: what’s the state of your defensive posture?

Some organizations use security posture scoring to help prepare for security audits. But it can also be used in lieu of third-party assessments—applying recommended assessments instead of expensive penetration testing.

  • What are the assets and what is their criticality (discover and classify)?
  • What are the threats (events perpetrated by threat actors in the context of the critical assets and vulnerabilities)?
  • What is the likelihood of breach (target by industry, region, other historical perspective)?
  • How vulnerable is my environment (weaknesses in the infrastructure)?
  • Can my controls counter & protect my cyber assets (mitigating controls against the vulnerabilities)?
  • What is the impact of a breach (business assessment based on CIA: confidentiality, integrity & availability)?

Knowing these answers also makes security posture scoring useful for compliance risk assessment, producing a benchmark that enables your organization to compare its industry performance and also choose which concerns to prioritize. The score can also serve as an indicator of whether your organization would be approved for cyber insurance or even how much it may have to pay.

About one year ago we released the initial version of MVISION Insights posture scoring —focused on endpoint assessments. A security score was assigned based on your preparedness to thwart looming threats and the configuration of your McAfee endpoint security products. It enabled predictive assessments based on security posture aligned to campaign-specific threat intelligence.

Scoring Points at Work

No doubt, the pandemic and working from home have exacerbated security posture challenges. According to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a “growing attack surface” from cloud computing and new digital devices are complicating security posture management. So is managing “inexperienced remote workers,” who may be preyed upon by various forms of malware. This can lead not only to management headaches, says ESG, but also to “vulnerabilities and potential system compromises.”

Customers are tired of piecing together siloed security and demand a unified security approach reflected in our MVISION XDR powered by MVISION Insights. We expanded the scoring capability to also assess cloud defenses, including your countermeasures and controls. Derived from MVISION Cloud Security Advisor, the cloud security posture is weighted average of visibility and control for IaaS, SaaS,and shadow IT. There is an option to easily pivot to MVISION Cloud Security Advisor.  The Unified Security posture score is weighted average of the endpoint and cloud security posture score delivering a more robust and comprehensive assessment with the ability to drill down on specifics to enhance your security from device to cloud. Many endpoint wanna-be XDR vendors cannot provide this critical aggregated security assessment across vectors.

Click here to learn more about Security Posture Scoring from a few practitioners in our LinkedIn Live session.

Becoming more robust is what all of us must do. When organizations face the jeopardy of “Ransomware-as-a-Service” payments that may scale up to $2 million, understanding how best to manage your security posture is no longer simply a nice to have, it’s become an operational imperative.

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This post was first first published on Enterprise – McAfee Blogs’s website by Prabhat Singh. You can view it by clicking here