An Introduction to Security Posture Management

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Too often, organizations find themselves stuck in a cycle of reacting to threats; figuring out how to stop a business email compromise attack or trying to find a threat actor who’s activated malware in the system. This leaves often short-staffed and overworked IT teams without the bandwidth to focus on the proactive side of cybersecurity.  

But it’s the proactive side that can not only mitigate and reduce the impact of breaches but help an organization improve their security posture, building strength over time to combat future threats —essentially furthering them on their security journey.

And, while vulnerability management is certainly an important part of this strategy, patching shouldn’t be the only priority. Security posture management, which starts with security posture assessments, needs to be an ongoing part of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. 

What Is a Security Posture Assessment? 

A security posture assessment is a snapshot of an organization’s security at a given time. This assessment can be focused on one aspect of cybersecurity (like vulnerabilities, identity management, or user awareness), or it can look at the architecture broadly to understand big picture gaps and strengths. This assessment answers the question “how well can our business protect against and respond to cyber threats?” 

The important piece to remember about security posture assessments, and in turn, future security posture management, is that it’s dependent on an organization’s specific business and security needs.

For a large enterprise, it might make sense to do this assessment by running a tabletop exercise and a pen test. For an SMB, it might be a more high-level discussion addressing questions such as, “do we have multi-factor authentication?” Progress is different for every business, and it’s not always a “check the boxes and move forward” kind of process, either. 

The Value of Security Posture Assessments in the Security Journey 

Every organization’s security journey is different. This means that the kinds of security posture assessments needed, and subsequent actions taken, will depend on an organization’s business and security needs – and are subject to change. For most organizations, going at this alone just isn’t possible. That’s why a partnership is so valuable, and why Arctic Wolf works with every customer on a tailored, proactive security journey. 

Arctic Wolf Partnership for Security Posture Assessments 

Unfortunately, robust security posture management is neither a simple nor a fast process for an organization. It can be time consuming, budget draining, and a strain on resources that may not even be there. In fact, 68% of organizations in Arctic Wolf’s 2023 Trends Report identified staffing related issues as the number one threat to achieving their objectives. 

That’s a lot of barriers, but proactive security is paramount, so turning to a partner may be the best solution for organizations of all industries and sizes. 

Organizations that partner with Arctic Wolf will work with their named Concierge Security® Team who will guide them through our Security Posture Assessments. Our team works with them to identify gaps (including ongoing vulnerability management) and implements steps toward closing those gaps.  

Each Security Posture Assessment is designed to provide a strategic analysis of a specific aspect of the environment, so that we can uncover security insights that are not discovered by the triage and alerting process. There are many different functions that our Security Posture Assessment covers, such as streamlining the initial onboarding and configuration steps, conducting proactive security reviews and assessments, analyzing data that happens outside of triage and alerting, as well as undertaking investigations based on specific inquiries. 

How Security Posture Assessments Lead to Better Security Posture Management 

Just as a test tells a student what to study, a security posture assessment helps organizations see where they need to focus when it comes to improving their security posture.  

While there is no one way for an organization to manage their security posture, the 2023 Arctic Wolf Labs Threat Report noted some trends that threat actors follow. If an organization isn’t working with Arctic Wolf yet, there are a few places they can start to further their own security journey. 

  1. Vulnerability management. 72% of all attacks begin with external exposure. If your organization isn’t patching, it’s on the back foot when it comes to defending against this root point of compromise.
  2. Credential and access management. 7% of attacks investigated by Arctic Wolf in 2022 began with credential theft, and recent data from Verizon shows that number may continue to rise — with the use of credentials accounting for over 40% of attacks
  3. Multi-factor authentication. It may be considered a fundamental essential by many in the industry, but 58% of BEC cases investigated by Arctic Wolf still lacked multi-factor authentication. This simple implementation can drastically reduce your organization’s risk
  4. User security training. Users are often overlooked when it comes to proactive security, but phishing is a real issue, and just one click can undo months of preventative work. 

If you’re looking for further guidance, our Arctic Wolf Concierge Security Engineers will be happy to provide best practices and guidance to help you on your security journey. 

Learn more about how a security operations partnership can improve your security posture and prevent future breaches.  

Better understand the Arctic Wolf security journey and the Concierge Security® Team. 

Mike McCleary

Mike McCleary

Mike McCleary is a cybersecurity product marketing professional with a background in digital forensics marketing and technology partnerships. More specifically, he has expertise in MDR and security operations, DFIR solutions for law enforcement, and establishing research partnerships between private sector organizations and university researchers in the areas of cryptography, cybersecurity, data privacy, and artificial intelligence, among others.
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