Control and Compliance: How to Define Your Security Posture

Your organization’s security posture refers to the overall strength of your cybersecurity. Security posture involves many things, including your organization’s ability to protect data, apps, infrastructure, and more from breaches and cyber attacks. How should you define your organization’s security posture? Put simply: it’s a combination of control and compliance.

Why is Your Security Posture Important?

How vulnerable is your organization to outside threats? A strong security posture is necessary to detect and prevent intrusions, data breaches, and the theft of valuable intellectual property.

A weak security posture means that your organization is at undue risk of compromise. It’s important to note that a weak security posture puts all of your data at risk, including customer data. It also puts you at risk of being non-compliant with several important laws and regulations regarding data privacy. These regulations detail what data must be protected and, in some cases, how. You need a strong security posture to meet the requirements of these regulations.

Note, however, that your organization’s security posture is continuously changing as new threats emerge and the overall cyber environment evolves. To fully protect your company’s cyber assets, you need to monitor and improve your security posture regularly. You must stay at least one step ahead of cybercriminals who seek to exploit any weaknesses in your cybersecurity net.

Defining Your Organization’s Security Posture

It’s essential to take a disciplined approach when defining your organization’s security posture. Make sure that your cybersecurity program aligns with your organization’s overall goals; it’s vital to have the right security measures in place to protect your existing and planned systems and infrastructure.

Establish a Set of Security Controls

The first step in defining your organization’s security posture is establishing a clearly-defined set of security controls. These controls should align with your security goals and allow you to measure your progress on those goals.

Your security controls should be part of your overall security framework. You can use a common controls framework (CCF) that works with current compliance programs or the industry-standard NIST framework. Select those controls within the framework that most directly impact your organization’s security and exclude those that don’t directly contribute to your security posture. By eliminating unnecessary complexity, a focused set of security controls is easier to manage and easier to scale over time.

To measure the effectiveness of these security controls, establish an appropriate metric. This metric needs to measure and communicate the effectiveness of each control. You can establish this metric by identifying the key performance indicator (KPI) and service level objective (SLO) for each control.

You can then create a simple scale of 1 to 5 that scores all of your controls’ effectiveness. Your most effective controls would rate a 5 on this scale; the least effective would rate a 1.

To calculate your organization’s overall security posture, total the weighted ratings for each of the controls and express that as a percent of the total maximum score (the total number of controls times five). This calculation gives you a percentage-based security assessment, as follows:

  • 90% or higher = strong security posture
  • 80%-89% = could be strengthened
  • 70%-79% = needs work
  • Less than 70% = requires immediate attention

You can also use this method to evaluate the security posture for each family of controls so that you can focus your attention on specific areas of your cybersecurity. The goal is to determine the current strength of your organization’s cybersecurity.

Ensure Compliance

Merely measuring the state of your security posture is only half of the job. You also need to ensure that your organization’s security measures comply with the controls you’re measuring.

To do this, you need to perform an ongoing series of internal or third-party cybersecurity audits. You can then match the results of these audits with the controls you’ve previously identified. If current performance does not fully comply with your control goals, you know which areas need to be strengthened.

You also need to ensure that your security efforts comply with all necessary legal and industry regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPPA, and FFIEC. Unfortunately, many organizations are frequently non-compliant — in fact, 66% of organizations surveyed had experienced a compliance violation or lapse in the past three years. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines or even the shutdown of specific aspects of your business, so ensuring compliance is an essential component of your security posture.

Improve Your Security Posture with Wickr’s Secure Collaboration Platform

To strengthen your security posture, you need a secure communications platform for both on-premise and remote workers – such as that offered by Wickr.

Wickr’s collaboration platform offers one-on-one and group messaging, audio and video conferencing, file sharing, and more, all secured with industry-leading end-to-end encryption. Contact us to discover how Wickr can help strengthen your organization’s security posture.

Contact us today to learn more about Wickr’s secure collaboration platform!