Enhance Your Cybersecurity: Think Like a Hacker with Extended Security Posture Management

With cybersecurity, a major concern for businesses like yours is that many don’t really know if all the defensive software they have can actually shield them in a breaching attempt. The only way to truly find that out is if you become the target of hacking — which is quite bad timing to discover whether your organization has vulnerabilities. The alternative is regular management and evaluation of the security posture you have. This includes all employees, policies, corporate intelligence, and tools you have at hand. This is where extended security posture management comes into play.

It all starts with testing the security you have in a safe environment using similar methods a hacker would rely on to attack your network.

What Is Extended Security Posture Management?

Extended Security Posture Management (XSPM) is a platform for testing security against likely hacking threats and scanning the systems for vulnerabilities.

Similar to traditional penetration testing (pen testing), it simulates attacks on parts of the system or seeks which assets hackers potentially exploit.

The key differences are that XSPM is a more extensive, cost-effective, and constant evaluation of security.

Pen testing requires hiring cybersecurity professionals. They choose parts of the systems to evaluate, concluding whether they can handle specific hacking techniques. Companies can afford this type of evaluation once or twice per year.

XSPM involves several tools that evaluate different parts of your network and security. Most of them are automated tools that can run 24/7 — which means that your systems that can change in minutes won’t be exposed in the meantime.

The platform is financially more available compared to getting cybersecurity experts to do the job.

Which Tools Does Extended Security Posture Management Include?

When discussing XSPM, we’re talking about the umbrella term for these tools:

  • Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS)
  • Attack Surface Management
  • Continuous Automated Red Teaming
  • Purple teaming

BAS is the tool that simulates an attack on the network. For example, it can imitate email phishing attempts or adware that your employees might accidentally download by clicking an ad.

Attack Surface Management is the tool that uncovers leaked corporate intelligence. Information that could lead to hacking might be readily available with a simple Google search. So, this tool scours the web to find leaked passwords and emails of your employees.

Red teaming helps your IT team to get into the head of hackers by separating them into two groups — red adversarial and blue defense. One team attacks the network and the other has to defend it.

Purple teaming tests the readiness of your cybersecurity teams similar to red teaming. The key difference is that both teams know about the exercise, and they have to work together.

A more collaborative approach allows them to learn from each other and removes competitiveness from the equation.

What Is Tested Exactly?

In short — everything. A weak spot of your security could be in emails that allow phishing messages straight to the inbox, firewalls that fell in the middle of the might, or devices that teams use to work from home.

To be on the safe side, it’s necessary to test every vulnerable part of your network and security. This includes evaluating tools that you have and already patched up vulnerabilities. Additionally, this includes people who use the company’s system and manage security.

For a comprehensive security assessment, your security posture needs testing against all well-known cyber threats as well as new hacking methods.

Known and common hacking threats include malware, DDoS, and phishing attacks. For these incidents, you probably already have readily available tools that can detect and remove them from the system 

Companies are likely to be exposed to new types of hacking methods dubbed zero threats. Zero indicates how much time you have to fix the system before the threat turns into an incident, such as a cyber breach. 

The tools that the XSPM uses are linked to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework. The framework is an ever-growing library that lists and describes all the latest hacking techniques.

Since the platform links to MITRE resources, it updates all the time and tests your network against all the new threats in the database. 

Even though there might not yet be exact software, your IT teams can install to protect your company, MITRE lists solutions. Using this, teams can defend your network against new attacks.

What Should You Do After the Assessment? 

While testing is an integral part of security management, you need to follow it by the analysis of data and the patching up of flaws.

Automated tools generate the report. It highlights high-risk flaws that have to be remedied as soon as possible. Especially since the flaws are likely to turn into incidents.

When patching up the security, IT teams start with the high-risk issues and work their way towards less concerning flaws.

Strengthening your cybersecurity will depend on the context — you might need more tools, fix the ones you have, or introduce additional employee training 

Find Flaws Before Hackers Get to Them

Extended Security Posture Management covers all the major blind spots in cybersecurity of different companies.

To test security, XSPM combines the tools developed to assess the network from a cybercrime possibly found in leaked data, IT teams that don’t know how to use the security tools, and any protocols that you have.

Cybersecurity is never static. Removal of your firewall, appearances of new hacking methods, and gaps in updates caused by security are possible at any minute.

To be on top of things, think like a hacker. That way, you’ll find the weaknesses before they get the chance to exploit them. The threat actor is going to search the web for leaked data. Plus, try any tools they have at hand to find the weak spot in your defense.

Once you uncover the weak spots, patch the vulnerability, and repeat the same process.

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