Cyber Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) offers an advanced security risk management approach that emphasizes attack surface visibility. This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to adopt a CTEM mindset using ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management and significantly reduce your data breach risks.
Understanding Threat Exposure Management (TEM)
Defining Threat Exposure Management
Threat Exposure Management is a process that ensures security programs can identify, prioritize, and manage unexpected security risks and exposures. It’s a necessary cybersecurity innovation in response to the attack surface challenges posed by digital transformation.
Security teams often struggle to scale their risk management efforts in line with the rate of their expanding attack surfaces. Consequently, security controls fail to adapt to the evolving threat landscape, limiting the potential for security posture improvement and increasing data breach risks.
The Importance of Visibility in TEM
TEM solves this problem by prioritizing visibility. To increase visibility, all aspects of a cybersecurity program involved in the threat discovery process need to be broadened. This results in an attack path and attack vector management program comprising several components.
External Attack Surface Management (EASM)
This involves continuously monitoring an organization’s external attack surface (including third-party service providers) for emerging risks. EASM can map your external digital footprint, identify critical assets, and discover supply chain security risks.
Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM)
CAASM unifies multiple visibility sources into one database, creating a foundation of broader visibility for other cyber risk management practices to build upon.
Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM)
RBVM is a modern approach to vulnerability management where critical risks are prioritized in remediation response. Vendor Tiering, which categorizes vendors based on risk criticality, is an example of an RBVM practice.
Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)
TIPs continuously gather information about threat actor activity on the surface and dark web and then aggregate this information in a singular database.
This practice involves simulating real-world cyberattacks to discover vulnerabilities, expanding security team visibility into overlooked regions of their attack surface.
With these initiatives working together, security operations can respond to emerging cyber threats faster, reducing potential negative impacts on an organization’s security posture. This results in cascading positive impacts across all components of Attack Surface Management and associated risk mitigation programs.
Understanding Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM)
Defining Continuous Threat Exposure Management
Continuous Threat Exposure Management is a proactive approach to cybersecurity risk management that prioritizes real-time security threat discovery, remediation, and mitigation.
CTEM advances the TEM model by adding real-time attack surface visibility. With real-time awareness of emerging threats, CTEM programs help security teams stay on top of emerging security threats, reducing the stress of Attack Surface Management.
The Continuous Aspect of CTEM
The “continuous” aspect of CTEM is achieved through a symbiotic relationship between the CTEM program and related risk mitigation programs, where CTEM data is constantly iterated to improve its decision-making abilities.
CTEM revolutionizes internal and external attack surface management by encouraging security teams to embrace a proactive risk management mindset. With a reactive mindset governing threat discovery efforts, breach mitigation programs will be optimized to detect active threats as well as static ones. Faster active cyberattack detection compresses the data breach lifecycle, which could save significant costs in damages.
Implementing Cyber Threat Exposure Management in 2023 with ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management
The successful implementation of a CTEM program requires a strong foundation of optimized risk mitigation
processes and strategies. Here are the steps to orientate your cybersecurity program towards a Cyber Threat Exposure Management approach using ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management:
Step 1: Ensure all Existing Risk Mitigation Processes are Optimized and Scalable
With the implementation of a CTEM program, the demand for data feed between systems will significantly increase. Therefore, your current threat discovery and risk management programs must be optimized first. An optimized system is one that is readily scalable. Some examples of scalable improvements include replacing spreadsheets with a risk assessment platform, tiering vendors, and automating Vendor Risk Management notifications.
Replacing Spreadsheets with a Risk Assessment Platform
A risk assessment platform automates the complete lifecycle of security assessments, removing the tedious effort of tracking responses via spreadsheets. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human error, which can lead to overlooked vulnerabilities or mismanaged risks.
Vendor tiering allows critical vendors to be prioritized in remediation efforts, helping security teams manage their time more efficiently. By categorizing vendors based on their risk criticality, security teams can focus their efforts where they’re most needed, ensuring that high-risk vendors are addressed first.
Automating Vendor Risk Management Notifications
Even with a risk assessment platform in place, workflows can be further optimized with notifications tracking risk assessment progress. This allows assessment responses to be actions as quickly as possible, ensuring that no potential threats slip through the cracks.
Step 2: Design an Effective Incident Response Plan
The enhanced threat visibility that comes with a CTEM program is only beneficial if you can promptly respond to each detected threat. Incident Response Plans help security teams calmly and methodically work through appropriate threat response measures during the stress of a live cyberattack.
The Importance of an Incident Response Plan
An Incident Response Plan (IRP) is a set of instructions that help IT staff detect, respond to, and recover from network security incidents. These types of plans are often developed by a company’s IT department to instruct the rest of the business on how to respond to a potential security threat.
Keeping the IRP Updated
Besides having a comprehensive IRP in place, be sure to implement a policy to keep it updated in line with emerging threats. Your CTEM program will constantly be feeding new threat data to your IRP resources which need to be capable of handling this demand.
Step 3: Map your Internal and External Attack Surface
Your attack surface management solution should be capable of mapping your internal and external attack surfaces. The best attack surface management solutions, like ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management, can detect complex attack vectors, such as end-of-life software, domains linked to vulnerable servers, unmaintained pages, etc.
The Role of Attack Surface Management in CTEM
Attack surface management plays a crucial role in CTEM. By mapping and continuously monitoring your internal and external attack surfaces, you can gain real-time visibility into your security posture. This allows you to identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, thereby reducing your risk of a data breach.
The Capabilities of ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management
ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management is a comprehensive solution that provides advanced attack surface management capabilities. It can detect complex attack vectors and provide real-time visibility into your security posture, making it an essential tool for implementing a CTEM program.
Step 4: Adopt a Risk-Based Approach
A risk-based approach to vulnerability management (RBVM) is a framework for helping security teams decide where to focus the bulk of their response efforts. This system can be manually configured based on Cyber Risk Quantification principles or, ideally, completely automated within a Vendor Risk Management program.
The Importance of a Risk-Based Approach
A risk-based approach allows security teams to prioritize
their efforts based on the potential impact and likelihood of each identified threat. This ensures that resources are allocated effectively, focusing on the most significant threats first.
Cyber Risk Quantification Principles
Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) principles provide a method for quantifying the potential impact of a cyber threat. This involves assessing the potential financial loss that could result from a cyberattack, taking into account factors such as the value of the data at risk, the potential cost of downtime, and the potential cost of reputational damage.
Automation within a Vendor Risk Management Program
Automation can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a Vendor Risk Management program. By automating processes such as risk assessment and vendor tiering, security teams can save time and ensure that no potential threats are overlooked.
Step 5: Adopt a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Real-time threat visibility extends beyond the digital landscape. Your employees play a critical role in detecting potential threats before they penetrate your network. Update your cyber awareness training program to address the importance of threat visibility and vigilance in a daily business context.
The Role of Employees in Cybersecurity
Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats. By training employees to recognize and respond to potential threats, you can significantly reduce your risk of a data breach.
Updating Your Cyber Awareness Training Program
Your cyber awareness training program should be regularly updated to reflect the latest threat landscape. This should include training on new types of threats, as well as updates on best practices for cybersecurity.
Step 6: Keep Stakeholders in the Loop
A CTEM program provides valuable information that will validate the efficacy of your risk mitigation efforts and justify CTEM program investments. This data stream needs to be fed into a cybersecurity reporting program so that it can be clearly and effectively communicated to stakeholders and the Board.
The Importance of Cybersecurity Reporting
Cybersecurity reporting is crucial for keeping stakeholders informed about the state of your organization’s cybersecurity. This includes reporting on the effectiveness of your CTEM program, as well as any potential threats or breaches that have been identified.
Communicating with the Board
The Board of Directors plays a crucial role in overseeing the organization’s cybersecurity efforts. Regular reporting to the Board ensures that they are kept informed about the state of the organization’s cybersecurity, enabling them to make informed decisions about resource allocation and risk management.
Adopting a Cyber Threat Exposure Management approach in 2023 with ResilientX Cyber Exposure Management can significantly reduce your data breach risks. It’s a proactive approach to cybersecurity risk management that prioritizes real-time security threat discovery, remediation, and mitigation. By following the steps outlined above, you can effectively implement a CTEM program and enhance your organization’s cybersecurity posture. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so too must our approaches to cybersecurity. By adopting a CTEM approach, you can stay one step ahead of the threats and ensure the ongoing security of your organization.