Following the rise of breaches after the pandemic shift to remote work, businesses of all sizes upgraded their cybersecurity systems and increased their cybersecurity budgets.
Currently, most companies have at least 35 security points – tools, systems, and protocols to protect their organization against cyber threats. They include anti-virus, firewall, employee training, and more.
Setting up security systems is only the tip of the iceberg. Tools and systems must be continually monitored and tested to ensure that they work.
So, how can companies put their cybersecurity to the test?
Traditionally, cybersecurity is tested once a year with penetration testing. Yes, just once a year.
However, vulnerabilities within your IT infrastructure can appear within minutes. Testing the systems once or twice a year can result in major flaws in the system that aren’t mitigated in months.
Another option is frequent testing with continuous security validation. How does it work, and how often does it test your security points? Read on to find out.
Evaluating Security 24/7 with Continuous Security Validation
Continuous Security Validation scans for vulnerabilities within infrastructures and uses various tools to test if your organization can defend itself from dangerous – and costly – cyberattacks.
It confirms that the cybersecurity tools are used only by the right people and that the system you have in place works as it should.
The security assessment is automated and evaluates systems continuously, testing it 24/7 to notify your cybersecurity team of any existing vulnerabilities in your network.
What kind of threats is it tested against exactly?
The system has to be continually tested against common types of cyberattacks and new techniques hackers use to breach organizations.
MITRE ATTACK Framework is a key resource used for automatic validation. The Framework describes the latest techniques cyber criminals have used to breach networks and steal sensitive data.
Hackers find new ways to breach systems every day, and MITRE ATTACK Framework gives us an insight into how hackers think. It also shows us how they find vulnerabilities to exploit and perform cyberattacks.
The Framework is updated all the time, allowing cybersecurity teams to learn from attacks and techniques and what caused them.
How is the system validated?
Multiple tools are used to validate systems. The main one is Breach and Attack Simulation – a tool that mimics cyberattacks that are most likely to happen.
While testing, it performs attacks in a safe environment and in real-time.
What happens if the simulated attack is successful?
Your security team determines if you need to patch up security or add a new tool that can mitigate malicious threats.
A successful simulated attack shows what would happen if hackers did attack your network and found vulnerabilities.
Simulation provides you with data on any flaws that cybercriminals can use to gain access to your network. This information is further analyzed to conclude which are the high-level threats that have to be mitigated and what is causing them.
Essentially, it’s time to optimize the system and deal with the root of the issue.
This process of scanning, testing, and optimization is a cycle that is repeated all the time to ensure all the tools are working as they should and not hiding major vulnerabilities.
Continuous Security Validation vs. Penetration Testing
Compared to Continuous Security Testing, penetration testing (also known as pen testing)
- More expensive – because you have to hire cybersecurity experts to simulate attacks on the network
- Time-consuming – as the system is tested manually
- Annual or bi-annual – due to the cost and time it takes to assess security, companies can’t afford pen testing more than once or twice a year
Similar to Continuous Security Validation, penetration testing relies on simulated attacks on your network to find flaws that could lead to cyberattacks. While it’s just as rigorous and thorough, it can only check the vulnerabilities that exist at that point in time.
This becomes an issue within the infrastructure through which data is exchanged every day. New vulnerabilities can appear in minutes and with pen testing, they can be discovered when it’s too late.
Working Smart Instead of Hard on Cybersecurity
Strengthening cybersecurity is more than adding new tools and new software to protect your business. It’s much more beneficial to check if the existing tools you have are working correctly.
Even the best and latest technology that protects your business from cyberattacks can be flawed if it’s not used properly, misconfigured, or not suitable for your company. A costly mistake.
Continual assessment ensures that the systems you have are assets instead of possible vulnerabilities.
With cyberattacks on the rise, continual testing of cybersecurity is a necessity because it scans for and finds cyber threats before hackers do.