What is a Security Control Validation?

GLOSSARY

Most of today’s enterprises layer dozens of security tools together to maintain a robust security posture. Yet “more is better” doesn’t always apply in this situation, as organizations often have poor visibility into how each product performs or the problems that sometimes arise due to their interaction. To accurately assess how security controls are performing individually and collectively, it’s essential to perform high-level security control validation.

Security Control Validation:

Most of today’s enterprises layer dozens of security tools together to maintain a robust security posture. Yet “more is better” doesn’t always apply in this situation, as organizations often have poor visibility into how each product performs or the problems that sometimes arise due to their interaction. To accurately assess how security controls are performing individually and collectively, it’s essential to perform high-level security control validation.

Today’s organizations have a plethora of options in terms of security products. Statistics show that the average enterprise has nearly 80 different security tools. Yet simply layering product upon product doesn’t guarantee effective organizational security. Despite a long list of controls at their disposal, roughly half of today’s defenders say they lack confidence in their existing security posture.

Additionally, using dozens of different security controls can greatly increase complexity within a system. It’s often difficult to predict how products will interact with each other, and vulnerabilities may arise if different tools do not work together harmoniously.

To truly determine whether an environment is secure, it’s imperative to accurately validate the security controls being deployed. An advanced security control validation solution allows organizations to do precisely this. Controls can be tested in an automated fashion in a manner that does not impact normal operations.

Key Benefits of Security Control Validation

Breaches are often caused by misconfigurations or improper deployments. Security control validation solutions can identify these problems and allow for remediation before an attacker has time to exploit them.

Security control validation provides a definitive assessment of the overall strength of organizational security. Not only does this minimize the financial and reputational risks associated with a breach, it can also save money by allowing organizations to determine which products are working as intended and which are not. Simulations can be run in specific organizational environments, then tailored feedback can be provided to offer a window into how various controls perform in a variety of scenarios. A breach and attack simulation solution — which offers an automated form of red team security testing — is one such example.

Armed with this information, organizations can eliminate underperforming controls and dedicate greater resources to products and strategies that deliver strong security and better ROI.

Choosing a Cyber Security Validation Solution That Offers Continuous Risk Assessment

While there are many approaches to security control validation, in today’s deeply challenging cybersecurity landscape it’s vitally important to choose a strategy that allows for continuous and automated security testing. Because systems are always changing and threats evolving, traditional point in time validation can only provide a limited window into the state of organizational security. What may work one day may prove inadequate to the task the next, should conditions change.

Because attackers are continually probing for weaknesses (misconfigurations, permissioned-based vulnerabilities, etc.) many organizations are also seeking security control validation solutions that allow one to assume the perspective of a cyber attacker. This approach takes the traditional elements of control validation and enhances it by allowing defenders to mimic the likely techniques and attack paths used in a breach attempt.

Given their power to provide up-to-date assessments of risk, solutions that emphasize automation in security control validation and continuous testing (along with the ability to allow defenders to adopt the mindset of attacker) have become the gold standard within the information security industry.

In Conclusion

Now, more than ever, organizations are relying on a patchwork of security products to provide protection for their most critical assets. However, adding additional layers of security controls can ultimately prove counterproductive. Organizations may lack the ability to discern which products are performing and which are delivering the best ROI. In the worst-case scenario, controls may be in conflict with each other, creating new vulnerabilities as systems change.

To avoid such scenarios, it’s critical to find a security validation solution that can assess the viability of controls, individually and collectively, and provide continuous security validation.

Additional Resources

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