Five Ways to Enhance Your Security Stack Right Now

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As we look at how the threat landscape might evolve, one thing is certain: Bad actors are increasingly adding more attack tactics and vectors to their playbooks. Case in point: In the first half of 2022, the number of new ransomware variants identified increased by nearly 100% compared to the previous six-month period, largely thanks to the rise in popularity of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). Combine this proliferation of new threats with expanding attack surfaces, resulting in elevated risk levels impacting every industry.

It’s tempting to hit the “panic” button as you learn about new threat vectors. Instead of hurriedly adding another point product to your analysts' toolbox, thinking more holistically about what can help you define a security strategy that's effective today will set your organization and team up for long-term resilience and automation.

From using the technology you already have more effectively to simplifying your infrastructure, here are five considerations to help you enhance your security strategy.

#1: Make Security Part of Your Business

A recent survey asked respondents how often their board members discussed cybersecurity. Only 68% of those surveyed said “regularly or constantly”—and 9% said it wasn't something their board discussed.

It’s time to start having conversations about cybersecurity with the executives throughout your organization, with the goal of integrating security into your enterprise’s broader operating plan. The first step in doing this is to understand what you’re protecting today and anticipating what will need protecting in the future. To kick off this alignment process, ask a simple question of each stakeholder: "What do we need to protect?" The responses to this question will give you a strong understanding of how to reshape your security strategy.

In addition to understanding internal stakeholders' needs, looking at your organization's security posture from an outsider's perspective can help expose unseen risks. There are many options for conducting an objective security assessment, and it's ideal to conduct these regularly, as well as evaluating your compliance stand.

Once security and business objectives align, your next step is checking to ensure that all technologies, people, and processes are reaching their potential.

#2: Use What You Already Have

First, take a closer look at your technologies and how the team uses them. Even though you’ve added a security solution into the mix, it still needs to be used to its full potential. One of your first steps is to always use the latest operating system (OS), as OS updates often include new features and capabilities to counter emerging threats or unique exposures. And set aside time regularly for calibrating and tuning your security technologies to improve their effectiveness.

People are another essential consideration. Human behavior continues to be a significant factor in most security incidents, especially as more companies implement Work from Anywhere (WFA) policies. In the past year, 82% of breaches that occurred involved the human element. That’s why offering ongoing cybersecurity awareness training for all employees—either by developing coursework yourself or partnering with a trusted vendor—is essential to mitigating organizational risk.

Lastly, take a closer look at your processes. Most organizations have processes to follow in case of a breach. A common problem, however, is that many organizations don't pressure test those procedures against a full-attack sequence. Set aside time to develop or re-examine your team’s playbooks, and then work with a trusted security partner to run red team exercises and assess your preparedness.

Once security is aligned with the business and your existing security infrastructure is fully utilized, it’s time to decide on new investments.

#3: Upgrade Your Ecosystem

When embarking on this next step, consider whether you're getting the best technology and if it will help simplify your current infrastructure. Technologies should be evaluated for efficacy, and part of doing that is ensuring they’ll work together within your existing ecosystem for both detection and automated response, and that they'll support additional integrations in the future. 

Beyond simplifying your operations, think about what will deliver the most benefit across your entire infrastructure. Take the opportunity to enhance your entire ecosystem instead of opting for a single-solution upgrade. Everything needs to work together to effectively scale as your organization does.

The goal of every cybersecurity leader should be to establish a simplified view of the entire organization, and apply coordinated and automated response across the full flow of an attack and their ecosystem.

#4: Simplify Your Infrastructure

Increasing infrastructure complexity can tax security team resources to their breaking points, and slow your response time significantly as they attempt to keep track of multiple systems. Process implementation should take the most straightforward path. People should know what they’re responsible for, what’s being enhanced, and what’s being changed.

Another essential component of simplification is deciding what should be outsourced to experts. For example, many enterprises use a third-party SOC-as-a-Service to help with threat analysis. Organizations can also outsource incident response if a breach occurs. Another common area for outsourcing is cybersecurity training for security teams and employees, as well as cybersecurity assessments.

Once everything in your infrastructure works together as an ecosystem, think about automating security infrastructure.

#5: Embrace Automation

If you’re just getting started with automation, consider a phased approach. Automation is easy to do in pockets, and should always we planned holistically —such as with security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) solutions that can automate your playbooks. You can also implement automated detection, prevention, or threat hunting.

However, applying end-to-end automation should be your goal. To achieve this, you need a unified dataset. When evaluating new technologies, make sure the products you have (or want to add) deliver the right data in a unified fashion, and you have a safe place to store it.

A Holistic Security Strategy Benefits Everyone

As attack surfaces expand and the threat landscape continues to grow, it’s crucial to prepare for the changes inevitably coming your way. A successful cybersecurity strategy starts with aligning objectives throughout the organization, using what you have to its full capacity, upgrading and simplifying your technology and operations, and keep adding and focusing on automation. This strategic approach to security will not only benefit your own analysts but the entire organization, close security gaps, and enable rapid adoption of new technologies and innovation.

Learn more about how Fortinet’s team of cybersecurity experts can help you enhance, automate, and outsource critical security functions to keep your organization secure.  

 

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