When it comes to cybersecurity, you can never be too safe.
Billions of dollars are being spent by businesses and governments each year to remediate damages from cyber-attacks. And, despite having years to learn, prepare, and bolster cyberdefense resilience, some businesses still lack a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
This has to stop.
Today, we’ll talk about Extended Security Posture Management—XSPM for short—and why businesses should care.
But first, we need a good look at the state of cybersecurity.
The Age of the Ransomware
We live in a world where companies of all sizes rely on the internet for almost every aspect of their business.
The rise of the hybrid workplace is a good example.
Due to COVID-19, more professionals are working from home than ever—sometimes relying on public networks for their day-to-day tasks. This has directly contributed to the 148% increase in ransomware attacks in recent years.
Think that’s bad?
For governments across the globe, the proliferation of such attacks is much worse.
In 2021, the recorded surge of ransomware attacks against governments is a whopping 1,885%.
A ransomware attack encrypts critical system data, rendering software applications and files unusable. Cybercriminals behind these attacks will then demand payment to reverse the effects—thus, the name
Targets of such attacks could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to decrypt their data. But by then, the attack may have already incurred irreparable damages, like stolen intellectual property or a stained reputation.
The good news is, businesses and cybersecurity firms are catching up.
Instead of having a “reactive” stance towards digital threats, organizations take up arms and switch to a “proactive” strategy.
This is where XSPM steps in.
What is Extended Security Posture Management?
Indeed, the past few years can be referred to as the age of the ransomware.
But if there’s one thing organizations have learned, it’s “prevention is better than cure.”
Extended Security Posture Management is a multi-faceted strategy that combines offensive testing technologies.
An effective implementation of Extended Security Posture Management includes four pillars:
Attack Surface Management
In simple terms, Attack Surface Management or ASM aims to map possible intrusion points. It analyzes digital assets like email gateways, domains, IoT devices, and other potential vulnerabilities in an IT infrastructure.
ASM may resemble asset discovery and management. But, unlike them, ASM views how digital assets can be utilized from an attacker’s perspective.
Continuous Automated Red Teaming
These teams are tasked to stage a mock attack using known adversarial strategies to unravel weaknesses in an organization’s cybersecurity.
Red teams can be sourced from a third party or formed internally within companies. Continuous Automated Red Teaming or CART, however, elevates this by adding automation to the mix.
CART technologies automatically map the attack surface with minimal input. After executing safe attacks, every discovered attack path will be highlighted and prioritized according to risk level.
Breach and Attack Simulation
Breach and Attack Simulation or BAS is an emerging technology that automatically launches safe attacks against your security stack.
It specifically targets security controls like email spam filters, firewalls, and antivirus software—utilizing strategies that real-world hackers use.
BAS is designed to run in the background with minimal impact on business operations. Once vulnerabilities are detected, an automated report with remediation information will be sent to the cybersecurity team.
Advanced Purple Teaming Framework
Advanced Purple Teaming builds on BAS to create custom attack and response scenarios.
These will follow thread models from real-world data, which are compiled in open-source knowledge bases like MITRE ATT&CK.
Developed frameworks will be used to optimize and streamline response procedures. In some cases, they will also be integrated into the organization’s predictive threat hunting and automated health check initiatives.
For most businesses, deploying cyber defense using all four components can be overwhelming. But when successful, it is a surefire way to counter and stop malicious actors dead in their tracks.
Of course, they can also rely on an XSPM solution that combines these cybersecurity practices into one service.
Benefits of XSPM
In addition to automating management for ASM, CART, BAS, and Advanced Purple Teaming, XSPM has the following benefits:
- Collect readable insights in consolidated reports: No need to rely on individual reports from different products. XSPM seamlessly merges insights from ASM, CART, BAS, and Advanced Purple Teaming Frameworks—making it a single source of truth.
- End-to-end prescriptive guidance: Compiled insights about your company’s risk profile come with clear remediation procedures. All your cybersecurity team has to do is go through each item, set their priorities,
- Analytics: Monitor the performance of your security stack to scale your strategy and measure ROI. Help business decision-makers identify redundancies while providing IT professionals with remediation instructions.
- Simple and fast deployment: No need to mix and match cybersecurity partners to build an impenetrable cyber defense wall. XSPM from SaaS providers will handle all deployment tasks swiftly and reliably.
Finally, XSPM allows organizations to switch from periodic to regular security validation testing.
This has the added benefit of keeping your cybersecurity policies and tool stack up-to-date.
It’s true that periodic testing is effective for a while. However, the rapidly-changing landscape of cybersecurity can render validation results inaccurate without warning.
Thousands of new digital threats are being created each day.
Unless you automate your validation efforts, you’re giving cybercriminals a window to get ahead.
XSPM fixes this by making sure your organization is always equipped with the knowledge and preparedness on the latest threats. All you have to do is search for a security partner that can provide you with a turnkey XSPM solution.
Getting started with XSPM
If you value your business, now’s not the time to stay reactive and wait for breaches to occur.
Granted, your organization may not be ready for XSPM. At the very least, it’s nigh time you adopt more proactive cybersecurity strategies like Breach and Attack Simulation and Continuous Security Validation.