Cyberattacks are increasing, and businesses of all sizes are now targets. Attacks are typically aimed at those with the least protection. Failing to put up an adequate defense can therefore make a business attractive.
The ability of a business to repel cyberattacks is often referred to as its security posture. It’s an important metric because a weak security posture is what hackers look for. It may also allow them to infiltrate a network for the purpose of installing ransomware or stealing customer information.
Here, we’ll dive into security posture and discuss how you can assess and improve it for your business.
What Is Security Posture?
The security posture of a business refers to its overall ability to recognize and react to cyberattacks. It involves looking at all aspects of a business’s network and identifying potential weaknesses.
This includes all the network components, users, and any stored information that could potentially be stolen. It also involves looking at current security procedures and software and determining their ability to repel attacks.
Why Is Security Posture Important?
Security posture provides an overall picture of a business’s readiness. This information can be used to determine whether or not a business is protected and what changes should be made.
This allows a business to reduce the likelihood of a successful cyberattack and limit the amount of damage if one occurs. It also highlights what areas of a business are weakest. This can be used to demonstrate a need for investment in those areas.
How to Assess the Security Posture of Your Business
Before improving your security posture, you need to conduct a risk assessment. Once you understand the risks that your business faces, you can optimize your security posture to protect against them. The idea is that as your security posture improves, your security risk is reduced.
Document All IT Assets
You should document all assets of your business. This includes any piece of hardware connected to your network, any software that your business uses, and your company’s private data. It is basically a list of anything which hackers could attempt to access.
List All Threats Against Them
Businesses face various threats, and it isn’t possible to identify all of them. However, you should have a rough understanding of both the methods that could be used against you and the actors likely to try them.
Assess for Vulnerabilities
Penetration testing may be performed to analyze the effectiveness of known threats against all IT assets. This is often outside the budget of small businesses but can provide a much-improved understanding of how vulnerable a company actually is.
Determine the Cost of a Successful Attack
A risk assessment should include a report on the potential damage that may arise from a successful cyberattack. You might try to predict the cost of a successful data breach or ransomware attack. This information can then be used to decide which threats to prioritize.
How to Improve Your Company’s Security Posture
Once you perform a risk assessment, you can improve your business’s security posture to protect it against the risks. Different businesses face different risks but improving a security posture often includes the following steps:
Prioritize Risks Identified
Most businesses don’t have unlimited security budgets. It’s therefore important to protect against the most serious threats first. As protection is implemented, you can then work your way down the list.
All employees should only have the network privileges necessary to do their job. Admin privileges allow users to make changes to a network and can be used to launch cyberattacks. They provide the employee with not only this ability but also anyone who manages to steal their credentials. They should therefore be granted to as few people as possible.
Use Risk Ownership
A specific person should be responsible for protecting against individual risks. This is known as risk ownership. It is designed to prevent a situation where a cyberattack occurs, and nobody is responsible. Depending on the size of a business, ownership is typically assigned to the head of individual departments.
Develop an Incident Response Plan
Your business needs to have a plan in place to defend against cyberattacks before they happen. This is the role of incident response planning. It provides a set of procedures that you can carry out once an attack is detected. In doing so, the damage caused by a network intrusion can be reduced.
Automate Threat Detection
Both small and large businesses can benefit from automated threat detection, and there are various software packages available to facilitate this. Small businesses often don’t want to invest in security software. But if you don’t have dedicated cybersecurity staff, automated threat detection is arguably more important.
Provide Security Training
Cyberattacks often begin with social engineering being carried out against employees. Ongoing cyberattacks are also often visible to employees if they know what to look for. Therefore, employee awareness training is an integral part of any business’s security posture. And all employees should be made aware of the threat posed by phishing and the importance of strong, unique passwords.
Keep Software Updated
Keeping software updated is arguably the most straightforward security policy to carry out, but it’s something that many businesses fail at. Software updates include critical security patches responsible for fixing known vulnerabilities that hackers are looking for.
If your business is using outdated software, you may be providing a door for hackers to exploit. It’s important to put policies in place to ensure that all software updates are installed as they are released.
Implement Continuous Improvements
The security posture of a business is not something that’s improved once and then left in place. It’s an ongoing effort that involves regular adjustments as new information is discovered. Policies should be put in place so that security procedures are constantly being evaluated and adjusted as necessary.
All Businesses Need a Strong Security Posture
As we mentioned earlier, the security posture of a business refers to its overall ability to repel cyberattacks. To understand the security posture of a company, you first need to assess the risks against it and then determine its ability to withstand them.
You can then improve the security posture by implementing steps to make a business more difficult to attack. This can involve improvements to the network, increased employee awareness, and having plans in place should a successful cyberattack occur.