Strengthen Your Organization’s Security Posture

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by Gregg Ostrowski

A strong security posture means having the necessary processes and technology in place to protect applications and businesses from vulnerabilities and threats. In a world where sensitive data is constantly at risk of being compromised by malicious actors, this helps predict, prevent and respond to threats.

Since many organizations are rapidly transforming through interconnected environments, combining cloud and distributed services with legacy technology, it can be challenging for technologists to see all security and performance issues at once. A resilient security posture is one where teams have a single view of the entire IT estate, leveraging real-time data to react to, and fix, critical issues as quickly as possible.

With that in mind, here are five steps to improve your organization’s security posture:

1. Assess the vulnerability of your IT estate

To establish a baseline, the first step is to perform a security assessment. Otherwise, you won’t be able to determine what security controls need to be put in place. The assessment will identify the levels of vulnerability across all your business’ IT assets, the likelihood of an exploit, and the potential impact. As part of this process, you should align your company’s security requirements with the goals of the business, so you can be clear on the impact a breach would have on real-world business outcomes.

2. Plan to manage incidents

Now you’re in a position to create a security roadmap to define what action needs to be taken. It’s wise to run business-wide exercises that simulate cyberattacks, so every department can practice a coordinated response. It’s important to remember that security breaches involve real-world business risks, so the whole organization needs to be involved. By completing these exercises, the approach you should take for your incident management plan will start to take shape. In the end, your business will be ready to prioritize remediation to ensure the biggest threats are handled first.

3. Use DevSecOps to break down silos

This is the modern approach to software development that makes security a part of the software lifecycle from the beginning. Security teams work directly with the development and operations teams, which makes application security a critical part of the architecture.

Traditionally, IT teams operate within silos that don’t necessarily communicate effectively with each other during a threat. Bottlenecks can occur as accountability is passed from security to development and back again. This limits your ability to respond to threats in a timely manner. When everyone’s on the same team, and security is built into the core of an application, your organization can take a more agile approach to managing security breaches.

To take full advantage of DevSecOps, your systems should make use of full-stack observability, the ability to monitor the entire IT stack from customer-facing applications down to core network and infrastructure.

4. Automate threat detection

To reduce incident response times, use automated security tools. Systems are generally too complex and distributed for IT teams to monitor them constantly, and traditional monitoring solutions may not be able to identify threats until it’s too late. Incorporating technology that helps automate the threat detection process is critical for keeping security proactive rather than reactive. Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) builds security into an application so it can recognize and remediate threats without the need for human intervention.

5. Update your security posture regularly

A typical risk assessment will give you an overview of your security risks at a particular point in time, but as the security landscape continues to change, your security posture should too. Using the right security tools will allow your team to manage the changes and adjustments required to keep responding to new threats. Reassess your security posture often to be certain you are leveraging current tools and ensure bad actors can’t exploit vulnerabilities in outdated technologies.

Using these steps, you can ensure security is an important part of your business’ infrastructure, and a top priority for leaders across your organization. The stronger your security posture, the less vulnerable your business will be now and in the future.

Gregg Ostrowski is Executive CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation.

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