When it comes to enhancing cyber defenses, understanding the efficacy of your company’s security stack is important. This is best accomplished by verifying security measures by simulating real-world assaults rather than simulations, based on intelligence indicating which risks are most relevant to your company. To obtain a comprehensive picture of security efficacy, validation efforts must focus on three areas: technology, people, and process.
I’ve already written on technology performance validation. I’ve also written on how, when applied to recruiting and training, validation of individuals may assist bridge the cyber security skills gap by providing a deeper understanding of an individual’s relevant experience and abilities beyond just their years of experience and list of accomplishments.
It is also important to test the process’s efficacy. Processes are the backbone of every business security program, connecting how technology and people work together. Testing how processes perform in the face of technical changes, such as migrating from on-premises to the cloud, application upgrades, and environmental drift, is essential to maintaining the organization’s cyber preparedness.
Internal procedures were traditionally developed by gathering once or twice a year and playing war games on a whiteboard. This is like attempting to explain the entire plot after just viewing one scene of a movie. When automated and done continually to defend against changes in the environment, modern security validation technology gives a complete picture of how procedures maintain the security program functioning as it should.
Process validation may show that new procedures are required to solve certain gaps. For example, you may need to develop a strategy for adopting short-term, quick reaction modifications like modifying system configurations or adding processes to account for missed security incidents or warnings that can have a significant impact on the company. In other situations, you may need to develop a longer-term, strategic approach for making essential changes, such as deciding if new technology investments are required, how they should be financed, or whether your incident response team needs additional training or resources.
In any scenario, when you evaluate the new procedures that must be developed, consider the following:
Once your new procedures are in place, you should validate them to determine if they are successful — and then decide if more modifications are required.
The four areas where verifying processes is beneficial are listed below:
You must test your incident response team’s performance following an occurrence such as data exfiltration as part of security validation. Your internal process relies on technology such as a next-generation firewall to prevent this sort of assault; if it fails, an IDS (intrusion detection system) will notify your staff. The validation procedure will assess whether or not this method performs as intended by looking at:
When fundamental infrastructure changes, it is probable that security controls configuration, as well as processes, will have to be modified. Validation of both the tech and the procedure will disclose the following:
New processes are frequently required to respond to more sophisticated attack strategies or as part of a major corporate shift such as a merger or acquisition. Validation assists you in testing the efficacy of new procedures and answering critical issues such as:
Security validation should provide you with more context for how processes perform against frameworks such as MITRE, NIST, and others, and that should allow you to identify how processes may have to be adjusted by answering these questions:
When you verify technology, people, and processes, you guarantee that all of your security program’s components are aligned, well-integrated, and functioning as intended. People cannot be automated, nor can they function at machine speed. However, with the correct protocols and training, they will be able to choose the best course of action based on thorough testing and validation. You may then develop new procedures and improve current ones to guarantee that the basis of your security program is robust.