hacking security posture management cybersecurity

How Can Businesses Predict Hacking Activity and Be Prepared?

Is your organization faster than a hacker?

Businesses in our digital age must take their cybersecurity seriously — especially if they recently upgraded their infrastructure with cloud computing technology.

This means a layered defense strategy is ready to detect and block threats that are attempting to infiltrate and infect the system. Additionally, larger companies have hard-working teams that keep the security up-to-date.

However, there is no way of knowing how protective solutions and teams would hold their own in the face of real hacking activity.

The state of security within architecture can shift in minutes, leaving the company exposed and vulnerable to hacking.

How to test that beforehand and improve security before threat actors exploit its weakest parts?

The secret is in proper management of the tools that a business already has and continual monitoring and testing of the software that guards the assets of a company.

How would that work, exactly?

It’s best to explain through the capabilities of the tool known as Security Posture Management.

Monitoring Activity to Detect Hacking

The first step of security posture management is to monitor the activity that is occurring within the architecture of a business.

It’s based on the assets that the organization has — including those within the company (all devices used on the premises and cloud software) and external attack surfaces (such as leaked passwords available on the internet), and the monitoring is adjusted accordingly.

Every business has a unique infrastructure — meaning what will get managed, and the exact settings differ as well.

For example, within the cloud, the monitoring might be focused on identifying potential misconfigurations that frequently put companies at risk.

After monitoring (scanning), the testing of the security follows.

Testing Security Tools

One of the most important components of Security Posture Management is performing simulated attacks in a safe environment to assess protective software, protocol, and people working in the company.

To put security to the test, Security Posture Management utilizes the capabilities of tools such as Breach and Attack Simulation and Automated Red Teaming.

Breach and Attack Simulation tests the security to weed out vulnerabilities. If the attack has been successful, it indicates that the hacker could use the discovered flaw to compromise the organization.

Automated Red teaming is primarily used for testing people. It can answer whether security teams would be ready and know how to use the tools they have at their disposal in the case of a real attack.

Just like Security Posture Management, the tools rely on artificial intelligence to scan and evaluate security 24/7. Breach and Attack Simulation can be configured to test the security with a certain attack at all times, such as malware or phishing schemes.

All of these tools are automated and updated with the findings from the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, and can run in the background at all times, which allows them to catch malicious activity early.

Identifying High-Risk Threats

Bombarded with incessant alerts, IT teams are likely to overlook a damaging incident that is taking place within the organization.

The number of notifications that security analysts receive will depend on the size of the company.

On average, security teams receive between 500-1000 alerts every day. Not all alerts require their attention or indicate high-risk activities or weaknesses.

Paired with the lack of cybersecurity experts that the field is currently facing, it’s often the case that the security division within IT departments are understaffed and overworked.

They don’t have the time to address every alert and already know that many of the notifications that they usually get are false positives and aren’t likely to cause a major cyber incident such as a data breach.

Security posture management scores the risks detected within the system and lets the teams know which weaknesses need their response first.

Patching up Flaws and Mitigating Threats

After the Security Posture Management runs its cycle, it generates a new report on the dashboard for teams.

Critical risks are highlighted and followed up with the suggestion of how to fix the vulnerabilities or handle a possible malicious activity that already took place within the system.

The data that is automatically generated helps security teams to make rapid and informed decisions on how to improve security or respond to a potential incident.

While some threat mitigation is automatic (if we’re talking about the well-known threats that tools such as antivirus can remove from the system before it causes damage), every business is also at risk of new hacking methods and advanced threats.

Sophisticated (advanced) hacking involves a cybercriminal who could be monitoring the company for months at a time and trying to find the flaw that would grant them access to the system.

Automated tools can identify strange activity, but IT teams have to be involved in mitigating advanced threats.

Following the patching and mitigation, the cycle is repeated — the tool continues monitoring and reporting on the critical issues that need to be addressed since they put the company at hacking risk.

In Conclusion: Proper Management Is the Key

Attack surfaces of businesses (any part of the architecture that hackers can target) are changing every day. It’s increasing with any new software, added team members, or new hacking threats.

For instance, new components within the cloud environment can be misconfigured, novel remote additions to your teams might connect to the system from an unprotected device, and a business can be victimized by hacking methods they won’t even recognize.

How to keep up with the changes?

Tools such as Security Posture Management have been designed to use artificial intelligence and continually monitor, test, and assess whether the company is at hacking risk.

It attacks the architecture of the company as a hacker would — by finding the vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

And finally, when the weak spots are detected, the security teams or automated tools remove and patch up vulnerabilities before hackers can use them to breach an organization.

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