From the COVID 19 pandemic to the Russian attack on Ukraine, there seems to be no letup when it comes to crises affecting the world. Businesses have taken a serious hit by the unexpected turn of events. According to Yelp data, around 60 percent of (initially) temporary business closures during the pandemic have already become permanent. The effects of the Ukraine crisis have yet to be measured, but the observable situation is uninspiring.
Over the past couple of years, the problem of cyberattacks has hounded organizations of all types and sizes. Cybercriminals took advantage of the pandemic-induced digital transformation acceleration to victimize more organizations, as most of them lacked cybersecurity proficiency. Then the Ukraine-Russia conflict brought about the threat of escalated cyber warfare.
While the logical response to all the growing risks of becoming the target of a cyberattack is to install security controls, these are not enough. In addition to perimeter and in-app cyber defenses, it is also crucial to undertake security testing as part of an organization’s security posture and overall business resilience strategy.
Effective and efficient cyber defense means better attack prevention and response.
A Ponemon study shows that more than half of IT security leaders are unsure if their cybersecurity tools effectively serve their purpose. This is despite the significant amounts they allocate to cybersecurity, which is around $18.4 million per year on average. Many do not perform security validation routines, and many of those that do tend to have ineffective methods or solutions.
New security testing solutions such as breach and attack simulation (BAS), which identifies vulnerabilities by mimicking the attack vectors or methods used by threat actors, have been introduced to achieve better security validation outcomes. Many organizations are also turning to continuous red teaming and purple teaming to test their systems more systematically and ceaselessly in response to the increasing aggressiveness and sophistication of attacks. All of which ensure that the cyber protections an organization has are adequate or dependable.
Organized security tests attuned to the current state of the threat landscape contribute to better organizational resilience by boosting the ability of organizations to detect and repel attacks. Enterprises that are more prepared to handle cyber assaults undoubtedly fare better compared to others that easily fall prey to ransomware, social engineering, and other cyberattacks.
Resilience, however, is not only about resisting attacks. It also entails the ability to anticipate possible disruptions and recover as soon as possible. When organizations have a sensible security validation system, they become more acquainted with their weaknesses. Even if they are not able to immediately plug the security loopholes, the knowledge of what the weaknesses are allows them to respond better to mitigate the problem, avoid complications, and restore normal operations faster.
Security testing provides a compelling argument to embrace more advanced solutions.
A survey on penetration testing conducted by a cybersecurity firm reveals an encouraging realization among organizations. A big majority, at 60 percent, admit they are worried that (traditional) penetration testing has limited coverage and leaves several blind spots.
Traditional penetration testing refers to mostly manual methods that only involve periodic tests on known attack surfaces. They may cover all security controls, but they do not dig deeper into more complex scenarios. They do not undertake tests based on the most recent cyber threat intelligence.
These tests rely on the decisions of the human cybersecurity experts conducting the security validation effort. The competence of the team doing the test may not be questionable, but they certainly have limitations on how much work they can do and how precise and extensive they can be with the testing.
The same survey mentioned above also shows that 47 percent understand that conventional penetration testing only detects known assets and not new ones. Additionally, it reveals that some 45 percent conduct the tests only once or twice annually, and only 27 percent do it on a quarterly basis. Meanwhile, an overwhelming 79 percent say that pen tests are costly, and 78 percent are willing to use more expansive testing if the costs of doing so could be cheaper.
All of these show the need for a much better system for security validation, something that is not resource-exhausting, time-consuming, and financially burdensome. It is good to know that considerably better systems already exist. As mentioned, automated breach and attack simulation and purple teaming solutions are already available. They can be integrated into multifunction cybersecurity validation platforms that continuously evaluate all the security controls of an organization and generate timely reports and insights.
Moreover, to take advantage of up-to-date threat intelligence, cybersecurity platforms incorporate cybersecurity frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK, a globally accessible resource for the latest adversarial tactics and techniques. The use of established frameworks systematizes the identification and handling of threats, which results in more effective and efficient defenses.
Advanced security testing solutions like BAS, continuous red teaming, and purple teaming, together with established cybersecurity frameworks, offer more cost-efficient and more effective ways to go about security testing. It shows organizations how things can be significantly better with new technologies and methods.
Modern security validation helps establish a culture of continuity, constant watchfulness, and collaboration.
With organizations convinced to switch from conventional to advanced security testing, it becomes easy for them to keep up with trends that radically improve cyber protection. At the same time, they get to realize that it is not impossible to be constantly alert to cyber threats and be able to conduct continuous security testing (from the rare and periodic frequency they have been accustomed to). By using the right tools and technologies, security testing becomes more effective, efficient, and suitable for the needs of the times.
How do these impact enterprise resilience? They up the ante in being a going concern business. Instead of only addressing financial and other business-related challenges, organizations learn to live with the dangers of cyber threats. As demonstrated by the increased cybercriminal activity during the pandemic and the rise of cyber warfare with Russia’s aggression, almost everyone is affected by cyber threats. It only makes sense to be prepared for the consequences.
Also, the collaboration exemplified by the creation of global cybersecurity frameworks and sharing of cyber threat intelligence serves as cyberspace’s reflection of the kind of collaboration businesses can forge to help each other during times of crisis. Instead of trying to survive individually, businesses can work together and also coordinate with government agencies to adapt to economic turmoil better.
Aided introspection towards greater resilience
Security validation or testing with the help of advanced tools provides an effective way for organizations to self-examine and determine their weaknesses and implement improvements. It makes businesses more resilient by being aware of their deficiencies as the business landscape changes over time. These changes will not wait for organizations to be ready. Organizations need to be the ones adjusting and adapting to new threats while finding ways to mitigate problems and survive.
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