Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Keeping Your Cyber Security Posture in Check

As cybercrime becomes more and more sophisticated and wide spread with technology, demand for cyber security services are ever increasing. With this, thousands of cyber security companies have emerged offering all sorts of services using powerful words and brilliant marketing schemes. This can be really confusing to many businesses who want fortify their cyber infrastructure.

All you need to know and fix your cyber security posture in the most basic way are two critical assessments, namely vulnerability assessments and penetration tests.

Vulnerability Assessments


This is a technique of discovering IT security vulnerabilities that hackers use to harm your business.

The goal of a vulnerability assessment is to identify vulnerabilities, quantify their impacts should they be exploited by malicious hackers, chart a risk matrix with classifications based on impact and business value, and mitigating them to reduce the business risk exposure. 

Penetration tests


This is a simulation of an intrusion on your business IT network as a hacker would.

The goal of a penetration test is to identify how a hacker would hack into your business and what kind of harm the attacker can do, for example, reach into your customer database which can cause massive damage to your business and reputation. Not to mention compliance issues in your country. The second goal is to put your security systems through a test of their effectiveness and efficiency.

What should your business start with?


If your IT team has never put focus on security, it is crucial to take on a vulnerability assessment first. This will map out your business’s critical assets to a security risk matrix and determine the current status of your IT infrastructure.

Penetration tests are more effective after a vulnerability assessment. This is because you can not only test your infrastructure but also test all the security measures you have put into place to reduce your risk which you discovered from the vulnerability assessment findings.

Going the next step…


By now, with regular vulnerability assessments and periodic penetration tests, your defenses are quite strong. And you will have a cyber security team in place to maintain the security measures and overall security posture of your business network infrastructure.

Occasionally, it is very beneficial for both your cyber security team and the support staff of your network infrastructure to run a red team-blue team simulation.  A red team-blue team is an offensive-defensive simulation. The blue team comprises of your internal cyber security team, and the red team comprises of an external cyber security team.

The simulation can be run as a planned event or an unplanned event. The latter is always advised as it will test how effective your internal cyber security team are at identifying intrusions and mitigating them from doing more damage.

This will give the business the most practical view as to how much the it can withstand against a fully-fledged cyber-attack. 



-Jayesh Kerai (@secjay)