Glossary Glossary

Security Posture Assessment

A security posture assessment is a continuous exercise to determine an organization’s capacity and readiness to prevent and respond to cyber threats. It involves a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s security controls, procedures, and practices.

A thorough security posture assessment can help identify weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement in an organization’s cybersecurity posture.

Table of Contents

Security Posture Assessment: A Deep Dive

What Is Security Posture?

Before going deeper into security posture assessment, let’s define security posture first.

Security posture refers to an organization’s overall cybersecurity strength. It measures how well it is prepared to defend its assets, services, and data against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

Organization’s security posture includes:

  • Network security
  • information security
  • Data security
  • Penetration testing
  • Vulnerability management
  • Data breach prevention
  • Security awareness training

Amid today’s evolving threat landscape, entities across all industries must maintain a strong security posture. The common factors that affect your security posture include the following:

  • Security policies and procedures
  • Security controls for all assets
  • Employee awareness and training
  • Your capability to detect and respond to cyber incidents

How Do You Conduct a Security Posture Assessment?

A security posture assessment requires complete visibility over an organization’s infrastructure. Below are the steps involved in it.

 Security Posture Assessment
  1. Define the assessment’s scope: Identify the assets, systems, and networks you will evaluate to clearly understand what’s involved and avoid surprises. IT asset management software is good for identifying and cataloging internal assets such as endpoints, network devices, etc. External attack surface management (EASM) tools are what you’re looking for to cover external assets such as websites, open ports, cloud services, etc. An attack surface management (ASM) platform can cover both internal and external ones – to some degree.
  2. Create an asset inventory: Catalog all the assets that affect your security posture (within the scope defined earlier), noting the departments and people with access and control over each asset. While at it, you can also determine if their access is necessary and justifiable. The tools mentioned in the first step can do it for you automatically.
  3. Identify and prioritize risks: Analyze the cyber risks associated with the assets and rank them based on their likelihood of getting exploited and its impact – that’s called cyber risk prioritization. For example, you can use an ASM platform to help determine if your corporate website is vulnerable to a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. If it is, how will such an incident affect your clients, business operations, income generation, and reputation?
  4. Create and implement a mitigation plan: Recommend specific actions to address the risks you identified. These mitigations may include decommissioning unused assets, implementing new security controls, updating existing security policies, or regularly training employees about security best practices. Mitigation plans can also include incident response plans.
  5. Monitor results: Track mitigation progress using dashboards that an ASM platform offers, and compile the results in reports to share with the management team.

      How Often Should You Do a Security Posture Assessment?

      Most organizations perform a security posture assessment at least once a year. However, entities undergoing significant infrastructure changes, handling sensitive data, or operating in critical infrastructure sectors may need to do so more frequently since they generally face higher risk levels.

      The frequency of conducting a security posture assessment depends on several factors, including:

      • An organization’s size and complexity – the bigger the organization, the harder it is to run security assessments, but the more they are needed. However, the security team is likely bigger in a bigger organization, which makes it easier for it to conduct the assessment.
      • The level of risk an organization faces – the higher the risk, the better it is to conduct a security assessment.
      • The results of previous assessments – if a lot of new security controls and policies have been implemented since the last assessment, it makes sense to run another one sooner rather than later to evaluate current security posture and see if the changes have resulted in improvements.
      • The scope of assessments – the bigger the scope, the harder it is to conduct the assessment.
      • Regulatory requirements – organizations operating in different regions should consider local requirements regarding the frequency of cybersecurity posture assessments. It also depends on the industry in which the organization is operating.

      Why Is Performing a Security Posture Assessment Important?

      With a clearer understanding of what a security posture assessment is and what it entails, we can conclude that it is a crucial process. Its benefits include:

      • Identifying security risks that organizations may not otherwise know about
      • Prioritizing security risks for remediation
      • Measuring the effectiveness of security controls
      • Complying with regulatory requirements
      • Improving an organization’s overall security posture

      Regularly conducting a security posture assessment enables organizations to identify and address security weaknesses before threat actors can exploit them. The exercise helps protect them from threats and minimize the impact any cyber attack can bring.

      Key Takeaways

      • A security posture assessment is a continuous exercise to determine an organization’s capacity and readiness to prevent and respond to cyber threats.
      • When done thoroughly, it can help identify weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement to enhance an organization’s cybersecurity posture.
      • A security posture assessment requires complete visibility of an organization’s infrastructure.
      • The process starts by determining the scope of the assessment and creating a complete asset inventory.
      • The ideal frequency for conducting a security posture assessment depends on several factors but should generally be at least once a year.

      Strengthen your security posture by identifying vulnerabilities. Contact us today to learn how Attaxion lets you conduct a thorough security posture assessment.

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