Many companies have checked all the boxes on their compliance checklists and passed their audits, but still, fail to stop real-world cyber threats. Though regulatory concerns and client or partner questions mean you need to be compliant, compliance is a beginning, not the end, of your cybersecurity program. Current approaches to compliance do not bridge the gap between compliance and actually preventing attacks and breaches. You will be in a better position to meet both your compliance goals and security goals if you move from checklists to a more comprehensive plan that embraces cybersecurity automation tailored to the real threats to your business.
Why Does the Current Approach to Cybersecurity Compliance Fail?
The intent of compliance frameworks is to make sure you are doing what it takes to accomplish the mission of your security program: securing your systems and data. However, traditional compliance frameworks only focus on verifying that controls are in place. They miss the practical aspect of verifying whether compliance controls actually work.
Being able to show that a control is in place is not the same as knowing the control works. For example, if you have a firewall in place, but you haven’t tested whether it is properly configured to block traffic associated with critical threats, then you do not know if it is doing its job. You may be able to check a box on a compliance audit, but without being able to prove that the control is actually working, you don’t know your security posture.
Mature security programs should not focus on the mere presence of controls, but on whether they work. You will make meaningful security progress by automatically testing the effectiveness of your security controls against the actual threats to your business and continuously monitoring the performance over time. This approach lets you make educated decisions about what controls are working and what controls are not, and helps you prioritize improvements to have the greatest impact.
The Importance of Continuous Monitoring
Security is not a static endeavor. You cannot implement one set of defenses and configurations and assume they will keep you secure forever, or even for a year. The threat landscape is always changing. Attackers are always evolving, and your business needs to be able to prevent, detect, and respond to those attacks now and in the future. It requires a process of continuous readiness. You need to perform testing that mirrors current attacks against businesses like yours, make adjustments to strengthen your defenses, and then test again to see how those changes are working.
Changes can relate to more than the threat landscape, as well. Actions that your infrastructure or security teams make can also lead to faults in your security posture. Configuration changes can have unforeseen consequences. Perhaps they are typos. Perhaps there are changes made to address one security concern that leaves your organization vulnerable to other cyber threats. Either way, the only way to make sure these issues are caught and addressed is to perform ongoing live-fire testing and then continuously monitoring the results. This approach to security lets you confirm whether your security controls are working, track how changes are improving your security and compliance posture over time, and make security decisions that make the most efficient usage of your limited time, personnel, and budget.
Strengthen Security by Automating Compliance
Compliance is typically labor-intensive, and identifying points of compliance takes a lot of manual work and time. With limited personnel devoted to security initiatives and compliance tracking, a tool that automates compliance tasks can help you make the most of their time. Dependable cybersecurity automation tools help you save time and reduce costs. That helps you reach your security goals sooner, and allocate more money toward other business goals.
Manually tracking vulnerabilities and patches are tedious and impractical nowadays, due to the personnel limits you face. Your business will be in a better place to strengthen both its security and compliance posture by adopting a platform that assists with automating compliance tasks and tracking. Automated collection of testing data identifies hot spots, tracks your performance for each technical control over time, and gives you the empirical results you need to make better decisions about tooling, processes, and training, all while making more efficient use of your security budget and personnel.
In order to make the most of automation, choose a platform that works with the frameworks that matter to you, your partners, and your clients. By adopting a program of automated live-fire testing and result dashboards aligned with the MITRE ATT&CK framework, you can proceed to align your findings and plans with other compliance controls that matter to you, your clients, and your customers. That includes frameworks such as NIST 800-53, CMMC, ISO 27001, and for financial institutions, the FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool. Choosing a tool with built-in capabilities to map results to these compliance frameworks makes achieving your goals as accessible as ever. Security managers and decision-makers can review the data and results, use it for risk management and decision making, and track both the security and compliance effects of their decisions over time.
Moving from Checklists to the Benefits of Cybersecurity Automation
Compliance matters to every organization, but you need to think about it the right way. It should be more than a list of controls. It should be a continuous process of validating those controls, reviewing your security posture, and making well-informed plans to improve your readiness to defend your systems and data.
Learn more about the SightGain Readiness Platform and see for yourself how it can help you move from manual compliance checklists to automated compliance focused on building your readiness to resist threats.