What Is Cyber Posture?
How does your business keep its systems safe? It’s not as straightforward a question as might seem. Security systems today consist of a complex network of hardware, programs, and policies that, taken together, are referred to as a company’s cyber posture.
But even with all the right tools in hand, companies have to stay alert. Cyberattacks are constantly evolving, so your operation will need to keep on top of the latest developments to keep your systems safe.
Cyber Posture Basics
To be a comprehensive system, cyber posture includes various elements. At its core, however, the main features will include:
- Hardware: At the core of your cyber posture is your company’s hardware. This includes everything from servers to IoT devices to phones and laptops used by remote workers. By itself, hardware is mostly neutral. It’s the connections between systems, incoming traffic and layers of software and user interactions that may compromise what’s held on the hardware.
- Software: Your company’s software choices offer one of the main risk points. They require significant attention if you expect to protect your systems. From a software perspective, a strong security posture will include both paying attention to issues like known vulnerabilities and patches, and implementation of security software such as VPN for remote workers as well as a strong firewall.
- Policy: Policy is at the heart of your firm’s security posture because it lays out for staff how they’re expected to use computer systems in such a way that ensures they don’t make your organization more vulnerable. It used to be common for people to use personal devices at work, for example, but businesses eventually realized this invited security problems, so many developed policies against the practice.
What Does a Strong Cyber Posture Protect Against?
We don’t develop a strong cyber posture just for the sake of having security we can boast about. You need a strong cyber posture because countless threats target our digital systems these days.
They include ransomware, spam and malware attacks, and DoS and DDoS attacks. There’s also the risk of insider theft.
Each of these incursions represents a different type of risk, but they can all cause financial and reputational damage to your company, as has happened with many high-profile attacks in recent years. Attackers know that data is valuable. Your business needs to treat it as such, and ought to recognize that cybersecurity must constantly evolve as hackers attempt to subvert existing protections.
Know What You Own
As you start developing your business’s cyber posture, it’s important to inventory all your business’s digital assets. Most companies significantly underestimate their total holdings, and that can result in security gaps.
During the inventory, you might also discover that your systems house many programs and files you don’t need. Make the effort to get rid of them. Every extra program or file represents a breach opportunity.
Know Your Vulnerabilities
Now it’s time to look more closely at the areas where your business is vulnerable. As noted above, these may include previously identified application vulnerabilities that need to be patched, and threats introduced through suppliers and other partners, as well as risks introduced by user behavior.
Depending on what you uncover, you can then take steps to minimize risks, strengthen policies and repair applications.
With regard to hardware, it’s worthwhile to note how many different endpoints feed into your system, as well as how they’re configured. IoT devices, as well as anything with peer-to-peer connectivity, tend to be among the most vulnerable areas in any system.
Choosing more secure devices to begin with can help, but it’s also wise to check all the initial configurations and turn off any unnecessary features and close unneeded ports.
Part of the process of developing a strong cyber posture involves not just knowing where threats stem from, but also how much risk you’re willing to accept. This is known as risk tolerance; knowing your risk tolerance is a critical element of managing your cyber posture as you move forward.
It’s not possible to eliminate all risk, but when selecting new programs and setting policy, you can use your risk tolerance threshold to decide which systems would be the best fit for your business.
Prioritize Professional Skills
Any IT professional will tell you that security is largely a human problem. You can install all the security software you can afford, and even set clear expectations around system use, but if your business doesn’t have a strong security culture backed up by appropriate training, it could be all for naught.
In other words, it’s critical for your business to provide appropriate training and upskilling for staff. This not only empowers them to understand the systems at play better, but it also equips them to play an active role in your cyber posture.
The flipside of training and upskilling is restriction. Although it’s useful to give team members the tools they need to do the job, they shouldn’t enjoy excessive access.
Sensitive areas of your system should be restricted to the smallest possible number of team members. Managers can provide time-restricted access to lower-level staff as needed. More than firewalls and other safeguards, this is the best way to prevent data leakage and secure targeted system areas.
You Need a Plan
At Panorays, we provide advanced third-party security management, including vendor assessment, continuous monitoring, and GDPR, CCPA and NYDFS compliance. In particular, our Cyber Posture Rating reflects a transparent overview of a third party’s attack surface using data from more than 1,000 known sources as well as from Panorays’ own proprietary research.
Contact us today to learn about how our services can strengthen your third parties’ cyber posture, as well as your organization’s.