Security posture management is one of the terms organizations are expected to become thoroughly acquainted with as they fully embrace digital technology. Digitalization comes with a crucial consequence: the unending exposure to cyberattacks. It is not enough to know a little about establishing security posture; it is a must to master it to be prepared for the staggering aggressiveness and sophistication of attacks.

Misconceptions and incorrect information are not uncommon in security posture management. They are among the challenges organizations need to overcome to achieve better cyber defenses. Addressing them significantly helps organizations get started, especially if they are also figuring out their ways around fully digitalizing.

Below is a rundown of common but critical misconceptions and misunderstandings in the field of security posture management. Find out if these are the information you already know or if you are only learning about them.

Using advanced and expensive cybersecurity tools does not guarantee solid protection

This is not to discredit leading cybersecurity solution providers that offer reliable advanced security products like extended security posture management. There are sophisticated solutions that empower cybersecurity teams and genuinely address the kind of sophisticated threats organizations face at present. However, it is important to emphasize that it is not enough to merely have these advanced cybersecurity platforms or tools.

Aside from having the right tools, which can be quite expensive, organizations also need to pay attention to the appropriate configuration as well as continuous monitoring, maintenance, and the integration of various security tools to unify security operations and make it easy to detect and respond to threats.

Also, no cybersecurity tool can ever be flawless, foolproof, and absolutely effective. There will be failures of detection as well as false positives. It is advisable to choose tools that are not only about prevention but also provide effective mitigation and remediation mechanisms. Cybersecurity is not only about detection and prevention. It also has to take into account the possibilities of penetration and be capable of mitigating the impact and conducting successful remediation.

Compliance is not enough

Many cybersecurity pundits would say that compliance with cybersecurity regulations should not be equated to adequate or dependable security. If there is undeniable protection compliance provides, it is protection from legal liabilities or regulatory actions, not actual cyber threats. This idea does make sense. However, there is more to it than the downplaying of the importance of compliance.

Compliance does not always translate to security adequacy, but this does not mean that it is useless. The problem with compliance right now is the kind of mindset organizations have over it. There is a tendency to comply just for the sake of complying and not following through with the purpose or intention of the regulations. 

Regarding the criticism that some regulations are not updated as frequently as they should be, it is worth noting that cases like this are not that rampant. If organizations fully understand why they are following certain regulations, they would not be entirely reliant on the texts of regulatory policies. Instead,  they would have other ways of ensuring cyber safety. They can keep track of the cybersecurity releases of other government agencies such as the FBI, for example, to keep abreast with the latest threats and adjust their security posture in response to expert recommendations.

Compliance is a way to achieve security, not a guarantee. It is similar to operationalizing the MITRE ATT&CK framework. Organizations can follow the framework, it is up to them how they can take advantage of the updated information and insights they gain from the framework.

Not suffering a cyberattack does not always indicate a strong security posture

Just because an organization never encountered a security breach does not mean that it has the best security posture. Attacks may have happened, but the detection and prevention tools failed. Also, the organization may have been lucky enough not to be exposed to complex attacks that test the limits of an organization’s security posture.

The real test of security posture efficacy is when an attack happens, and it is clearly observed that there was successful detection and prevention, or mitigation and remediation if the attack managed to make it past the security controls. Armors are futile if they do not make it to the battlefield and demonstrate their real utility.

Again, no security solution is perfect. The goal of putting up security controls is not to completely block all adversarial techniques and tactics but to survive attacks, unscathed if possible. What is important is that an organization’s cyber defense is proactive, not reactive. It should be able to change in response to the changes in the threat landscape.

Third parties pose risks but are not inherently unwanted

The use of various third-party assets and solutions significantly widens the attack surfaces of organizations. Third-party cloud storage, web applications, and other IT resources add complexity to enterprise security. However, it would be unwise to completely avoid them. What organizations need to do is carefully weigh the pros and cons and ascertain that they have the appropriate security controls in place.

The security tools that can enhance the guard railing over third-party resources may even be from a third-party provider. Many security firms provide tools or holistic platforms that help attain comprehensive security visibility, especially for organizations that continuously grow their attack surfaces with the use of more cloud storage, web services, and other online solutions that form part of the core business operations.

Cybercriminals do target small organizations 

Some organizations refuse to build stronger cyber defenses because they believe their small size makes them unappealing as attack targets. However, one study shows that small businesses tend to be more frequent targets of cyber attacks. Small and midsize businesses are at least three times more likely to become the target of attacks compared to larger enterprises.

This may go against conventional wisdom, but it is understandable for the numbers to go this way because smaller organizations usually do not spend that much on cybersecurity. As such, their default cyber protections are easier to defeat. They also rarely invest in employee cybersecurity training, which means that many of the people behind web-connected devices end up succumbing to social engineering attacks.

Moreover, even if the attacks are indiscriminate, smaller organizations overwhelmingly outnumber their larger counterparts, which means more of them are bound to become the target of attacks. Around 9 in every 10 organizations around the world are classified as small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs according to the World Economic Forum.

A clearer view 

Proficient security posture management is a must for all organizations that are fully going digital. To maximize its impact on an organization’s cybersecurity, it is vital to have a clear grasp of what it does and how it should be done. Misconceptions and misinterpretations have no place here. Likewise, there is no room for inaccurately presumed facts and scenarios.