Cybersecurity’s Biggest Operational Challenges: Insights from Security Leaders

Cybersecurity is tough. Security operations teams are overwhelmed in the day-to-day, and security leaders don’t have enough insight into how well their people, processes, and technology are performing at addressing the constant influx of threats.

It’s a story we all know far too well, and we recently had the opportunity to discuss these critical cybersecurity challenges with industry practitioners.

Watch the video below to hear from Josh Copeland, Cybersecurity Director at AT&T, about the biggest challenges in cybersecurity for today’s security operations center (SOC) teams. Then, check out the rest of this blog, where we will unpack the reality of several of cybersecurity’s biggest operational challenges, why they are so difficult to overcome, and the solutions available for today’s businesses.

What Are the Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges in Understanding the Effectiveness of your Security Operations (SecOps)?

Quantifying risk

Understanding risk and quantifying it with hard data is the biggest challenge of all. Typically, security leaders rely on cyber assessments and checklists, but both fail at giving real insights into risk based on how SOC operations are actually performing against real-world threats.

Security teams have no time to breathe between incidents, and understanding what your risk truly is requires taking a step back from the day-to-day and the ability to stop guessing and start defending.

Understanding what you have in your environment

Asset inventory and management is a theme we see come up a lot. Especially in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments, where the endpoints connecting to your network are constantly changing. Keeping a pulse on what is happening in your environment in real time is a huge challenge. Organizations need to be able to map their attack surface and test their defenses to ensure they are effective in protecting the network and preventing unauthorized access against their key terrain.

Leveraging appropriate resources

Security teams are often overwhelmed and overworked, and organizations are deploying dozens of tools to keep up with changing threats. However, just adding more resources to solve a problem may not be your best bet. Instead, organizations need to be able to evaluate how their people, processes, and technology are performing against the threats they face to make informed decisions about when they need to add new resources or deprecate tools and processes that are no longer working for them. Without visibility into actual performance, security leaders are missing a way to make smarter decisions.

Why Is Understanding Risk So Challenging?

Part of why understanding risk is so challenging is because security leaders simply don’t have the empirical performance data they need to truly know their security posture and have little to no insight into whether or not their tools are working and where their risk actually lies.

Christian Sorenson, CEO of SightGain notes, “Leaders are spending a lot of their resources on tools that should keep you protected, but aren’t. Leaders should know if their security systems will work against the latest techniques.”

Cybersecurity risks can also vary greatly in terms of their potential impact, making it hard to prioritize which risks should be addressed first. What one organization finds incredibly challenging as far as risk is concerned, another may consider a non-issue.

What Happens If Security Leaders Miss the Mark?

Leaving these cybersecurity operational challenges unanswered is not an option. As part of our discussion, Josh Copeland of AT&T used the Log4Shell (log4j) vulnerability as an example.

Log4Shell is a type of remote code execution vulnerability in log4j which can allow an attacker to drop malware or ransomware on your system.

This in turn may lead not only to the compromise of networks but also sensitive information theft as well, increasing the risk of sabotage. Log4j is so deeply integrated into so many systems, it was virtually impossible to know what was impacted and what was not.

In this case, organizations needed a way to quickly identify this new risk among the many others bombarding them every day, understand what systems and products are affected, and then trace its effects through the entire business supply chain. It requires insight into your SOC operations so you have an understanding of your environment, what your risk is, and how you are going to appropriately apply personnel and tools to mitigate risk, Josh explained.

We all invest a significant amount of our resources in the people, processes, and technology that form the backbone of our cybersecurity function, and yet, security leaders can’t be sure that even the basic functions of protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the organization’s data are occurring without insight into how to leverage these resources appropriately.

Thankfully, there is a solution that directly addresses and empowers security leaders with the insights necessary to effectively mitigate these risks.

What Solutions Address This Operational Challenge?

Josh Copeland notes, “Empowering your organization to continuously validate and improve your security posture against the latest attacks is what will take your security program into the new era of cybersecurity management.”

SightGain exists to make this possible. We created the world’s first automated Threat Exposure Management platform to continuously test and improve your security posture across your technology, processes, analytics, and personnel against the threats you’re facing.

SightGain proves what’s working and what’s not, makes recommendations for tuning, and shows the efficacy of new investments before procurement.

SightGain empowers your organization to continuously prove and improve your security posture against the latest attacks — using results from your SIEM, XDR, BAS, SOAR, and ticketing system.

The question that we answer: How do you know your security investments are effective?

SightGain has compiled the definitive guide to assessing your cybersecurity readiness, which you can access and download here. If you’re ready to assess and improve your cybersecurity performance, request a demo today.