Protecting your data is paramount, and there are seven critical steps to take when implementing Continuous Security Validation. How did we get here? It goes something like this – in the digital world, data is gold.
Organizations striving to attain a global reach inevitably grew dependent on the internet for data storage, transfer, and processing. With zettabytes of data now housed in the cloud, the need for aggressive, proactive cybersecurity methods is more significant than ever.
Customer information, medical records, private messages — nuggets of invaluable and sensitive data are up for grabs in a hacker’s world.
Despite dozens of initiatives to combat cybercrime, billions are still being dispensed each year to repair the damages – this is precisely what Continuous Security Validation is designed to change.
What is Continuous Security Validation (CSV)?
Continuous Security Validation — CSV for short — is unlike manual security validation exercises like red teaming and penetration testing. It is more cost-efficient, effective, and a lot more frequent.
Continuous security validation aggressively tests an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure while generating actionable reports. This enables companies to map the attack surface and address potential attack vectors before they cause any real damage.
How CSV Works
Continuous security validation systems run security tests following real-life attacker behavior in a simulated environment. Put simply, they put an organization’s cyber defense to the test by running mock cyber-attacks.
In turn, the organization’s already-deployed cybersecurity and response measures can be analyzed and investigated for inadequacies. This allows businesses to create baselines and determine how to fortify their security systems.
Validations pull threat models from frameworks, such as the MITRE ATT&CK framework.
MITRE ATT&CK is an open knowledge source built to help cybersecurity companies, governments, and private entities understand hacker behavior. It also enables CSV platforms to produce accurate security assessments and help organizations spot weaknesses in their systems.
What are the Benefits of CSV?
There are several benefits of using continuous security validation as a preventative measure against cyber-attacks.
Protect against zero-day vulnerabilities
Persistent testing allows organizations to evaluate and continuously improve their cyber resilience. This will enable them to preemptively prepare and stand up to the latest known cybersecurity threats, including zero-day attacks.
Accurately predict attack surface.
CSV emulates hacker activity using the techniques, tools, and behavior observed in the real world. As a result, it is more effective than traditional security validation techniques in detecting actual vulnerabilities.
Perfect for rapidly-changing data infrastructures
The shorter validation cycle enables CSV platforms to keep up with the fast-changing nature of business systems. Remember, reports generated through periodic validation methods are bound to be outdated before the next assessment comes.
Traditional testing methods usually require additional manpower. Since validations are automated with CSV, companies can save tens of thousands of dollars while achieving more reliable results.
More effective overall
CSV can save your brand’s reputation by providing holistic protection over customer data, internal communications, financial records, and so on. Of course, it can protect your company from losing millions due to having a reactive stance on cybersecurity.
Critical Steps to Implement CSV
You should now understand how CSV works and why it’s essential. Here are the critical steps towards successful implementation.
1. Go for a comprehensive platform
It’s technically possible for companies to use makeshift CSV systems by sourcing individual tools designed to test specific vulnerabilities. However, such an approach is seldom efficient.
If you want to implement CSV, go for a robust, comprehensive platform that can streamline evaluations across your entire infrastructure.
2. Look for transparent security validation platforms
Whether you like it or not, it’s easy for cybersecurity vendors to rig validations involving their own products.
Look for “agnostic” platforms for reliable and unbiased reports of your cyberdefense’s performance. Also, avoid “black box” technologies and look for transparent, “white box” solutions.
Trustworthy CSV providers can offer application program interfaces and/or a means for customers to closely examine and cross-check validation results. They should also tailor their CSV solution to your needs and existing cybersecurity products in your ecosystem.
3. Threat models should be from authoritative frameworks
CSV vendors should use threat models from trusted sources, like MITRE ATT&CK and NIST CSF.
Frameworks should be globally-accessible and based on real-world data. MITRE ATT&CK, for example, is constantly reinforced with contributions from cybersecurity companies, specialists, threat intelligence firms, and individual enthusiasts.
4. Understand your deployability needs
CSV providers can deploy their platform on the cloud or on-premise.
When picking a CSV solution, look for flexible deployment options unless you’re absolutely sure you can stick to one long-term.
5. Validate current security controls
Validating your company’s security controls before deployment is essential for measuring CSV performance. This will make it easier to identify issues that must be addressed quickly.
More importantly, it will help you confirm the ROI of your security investments.
6. Understand unique controls
Make sure your CSV provider fully understands the unique security controls present in companies within your industry. Organizations in the health sector, for example, run networks connected to a lot of devices, including medical equipment.
Attackers targeting these organizations are capable of causing significant financial losses and even death.
With so much at stake, healthcare organizations use network segmentation to add a layer of security against potential breaches. This could significantly increase the number of security controls in these organizations’ systems.
7. Don’t forget the basics
CSV is a sophisticated solution to a dire problem. You can easily purchase a working CSV product from a third party if you have the budget. It’s a turnkey solution to help you make data-driven decisions towards effective cyber defense.
But when it comes to a matter as serious as cybersecurity, you can’t afford to forget the basics.
Maximize the effectiveness of your security investments by adopting small but impactful habits, like:
- Practicing password hygiene across the organization
- Investing in employee training on critical issues (VPNs, phishing emails, etc.)
- Using automated, offsite backups
Continuous security validation solutions help organizations be a step ahead of malicious actors.
Remember the steps above to successfully implement continuous security validation for your business.
Sure, not everyone is ready to adopt CSV, especially considering the costs. But in a world where businesses live and die by data, having a proactive approach to cybersecurity is always worth it.