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Cyber Resilience Strategy to Mature Your Cybersecurity Posture

February 15, 2021

Best practices for developing Cyber resilience strategy

Today’s IT stack is increasingly complex. Companies now have on-premise, public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid infrastructures. The need to create an agile and secure environment is the only way to stay competitive. At the same time, malicious actors keep pounding corporate IT with credential theft, ransomware, and advanced persistent threats. With all the sensitive data you collect, transmit, process, and store, you need to consider a cyber resilience strategy as a way to mature your cybersecurity posture.

What is cybersecurity resilience?

Used interchangeably, the terms cybersecurity resilience and cyber resiliency are an organization’s preparedness level to predict, detect, respond to, recover from, and remediate data security threats. To be cyber resilient, companies need the incident response cyber essentials – policies, procedures, and processes – that prevent and mitigate data breaches to maintain data protection and business continuity.

Complex cloud IT environments increase the need for companies to create information security programs that enable cyber resilience. As you adopt more cloud resources, you expand your attack surface from a network security, application security, and access management point of view.

If you’re an organization that works within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), you need a cyber resilience strategy more than ever. With Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) soon to become a mission-critical industry standard, your preparations need to take place sooner rather than later.

What is a cyber resilience framework?

A cyber resilience framework, more often called a cybersecurity framework, sets out best risk management and incident response practices for:

  • Identifying: critical assets, systems, and data
  • Analyzing risk: understanding a data breach’s impact and likelihood
  • Determining risk tolerance: knowing what risks to accept, refuse, transfer, or mitigate
  • Setting security controls: mitigating risk by protections in place
  • Identifying threats: detecting and identifying new threats within the environment
  • Responding to incidents: locating malicious activity in real-time
  • Recovering from incidents: removing threats and getting systems back to the normal state
  • Proving governance: ensuring appropriate oversight and management
  • Documenting for assurance: documenting all security activities for internal and external auditors

Many well-known cybersecurity standards and regulations provide cyber resilience frameworks. A few examples include:

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)
  • International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 27000-series
  • ISO 22301 series
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)
  • Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls Matrix

PCI DSS is exceptionally prescriptive, detailing the precise controls necessary to be resilient and compliant. Meanwhile, the GDPR gives high-best practices, such as using technology to ensure compliance, with little specifics.

How a cyber resilience framework matures a cybersecurity program

Cyber resiliency is mostly about showing that you can protect data or respond quickly when something goes wrong.

Almost every cybersecurity professional knows that a data breach is now a matter of “when.” Nothing can be fully secured, and the more complex your stack is, the more likely it is that malicious actors will find a way in. You need to focus on having repeatable, proven processes in place that show you know how to respond when something goes wrong, which it most likely will at some point.

As you start addressing the looming CMMC requirements, you might notice many similarities between the new requirements and the definition of a resilience framework. Unlike many other regulations, CMMC is a maturity model, which gives you a way to step up your cybersecurity processes in a way that aligns with your business goals.

Although many companies will find themselves struggling to get compliant, the silver lining of the CMMC cloud is that they’ll reduce a lot of their current cybersecurity risks. With better practices in place, companies will meet compliance requirements and have enhanced security postures.

For example, one area that organizations in the DIB find overwhelming is hardening their systems. Many small and mid-sized businesses store, process, transmit, or collect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). This means that a lot of them will need to meet Level 3 CMMC compliance. CMMC Level 3 focuses on NIST 800-171. Like other government documents, NIST 800-171 references 800-53 and 800-128. NIST 800-53 also references 800-128. NIST 800-128 relies on NIST 800-70. Following that path, NIST 800-70 gives best practices for using security configuration checklists like Security Technical Implementation Guidelines (STIGs) or Center for Internet Security (CIS) controls.

These checklists contain instructions or procedures for configuring IT products so companies can reduce IT products’ vulnerability exposure to secure systems better. The good news is that using these checklists can help you get compliant faster. Checklists don’t respond to every CMMC compliance requirements, but they do provide technical controls that mitigate security risks, including ones for:

  • Application security
  • Cloud security
  • Group policy objects
  • Host-based security systems
  • Network/perimeter/wireless
  • Operating Systems

Although implementing these controls doesn’t automatically make you CMMC compliant, they give you the foundation for enhancing your IT stack security.

SteelCloud: Automating STIG and CIS Controls compliance for enhanced cyber resiliency

SteelCloud’s STIG and CIS Controls automation takes the pain out of maintaining secure technical controls that enhance your cyber resiliency. Often, companies that want to use STIGs or CIS Controls find the implementation and continued maintenance time consuming and costly. The initial implementation often leads to downtime when controls conflict with one another. Meanwhile, maintenance causes the same problems when the controls get updated. As soon as an organization updates all its technical controls, they need to respond to another set of updates.

SteelCloud automates this process so that your organization can enhance its resiliency. Our software automatically scans your infrastructure for compliance with either STIGs or CIS Controls, completing the process within a few hours. We also promise a 72-hour turnaround time for updating our software so that you can scan your infrastructure and make needed updates as soon as possible.

As you build out your cyber resilience strategy, you can leverage SteelCloud’s automation as part of your continued controls’ monitoring.

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