What is extended security posture management (XSPM)? It sounds simple and self-explanatory—the expansion of the scope, features, and functions of security posture management to cover more bases and meet new challenges. However, there are more interesting things to learn about it.
In particular, extended security posture management is not just a simple upgrade of standard security posture management. It is more than just the addition of a few features and functions. It is a way to stay on top of cyber threats through a holistic improvement of detection and mitigation capabilities, bolstering of attack surface management, and enabling anticipatory insights and actions.
Enhanced security visibility
The first step in improving something is to have a clear grasp of the whole situation. Organizations are unlikely to improve their security posture if they have inadequate security visibility to begin with. It is crucial to understand how effective the existing system is, what the weaknesses are, how to address the weaknesses and improve defenses, and which concerns should be prioritized.
This is one of the highlights of extended security posture management. It provides organizations a clear view of the cyber threats they are encountering or are likely to encounter. This perspective is significantly enhanced with the generation of security KPIs (key performance indicators) and quantitative data to effectively depict organizational risk and provide guidance on the appropriate responses.
XSPM makes it easy to see security risks, especially in view of the rapid changes that happen in the cyber threat landscape and the vulnerabilities that emerge because of the changes in an organization. The rise of remote work arrangements, the use of BYOD devices, and the greater reliance on cloud solutions, for instance, have made it more difficult for organizations to oversee and properly manage cyber-attack surfaces.
It’s only logical to upgrade to a security solution that expands security visibility to cover all scenarios. It is inevitable to find vulnerabilities when new devices are allowed into a company’s network or when more users are allowed access to the corporate network and cloud resources. XSPM significantly helps in making sure that these risks are found and properly addressed as soon as possible.
Continuous and automated protection
It is not enough to conduct periodic security assessments or undertake a one-off comprehensive evaluation. There is a need for continuous security validation to make sure that hackers or cybercriminals do not find any opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities. Doing assessments ceaselessly, however, is obviously going to be costly and tedious when done conventionally. As such, it is inevitable to turn to automation and machine learning.
Extended security posture management calls for the utilization of different security validation solutions that harness the benefits of automation and continuous testing across the most important cybersecurity domains. These domains include XDR/SIEM validation, security control validation, cloud security validation, vulnerability management, and employee security awareness.
Extended security posture management greatly improves standard penetration testing by simultaneously addressing the drawbacks of manual testing and the snapshot nature of conventional security validation. It entails the use of breach and attack simulation (BAS), web application firewalls, endpoint security, web gateway defenses, immediate threat intelligence, continuous automated red teaming, and advanced purple teaming.
End-to-end security validation
Extended security posture management affords the ability to conduct end-to-end security validation. It ascertains the security integrity of the software system being tested and examines its integration with external interfaces. It is not limited to assessing specific devices or parts of a system. It provides thoroughly comprehensive scrutiny of everything an organization should be securing.
Essentially, it starts with the building of user functions, then followed by the establishment of conditions, and the building of test cases. It requires the analysis of end-to-end testing requirements, evaluation of the environmental configurations including the hardware-software needs, description of the processes of systems and their subsystems, and the determination of the roles and obligations for all systems. Additionally, security standards should also be set and tested followed by the monitoring of end-to-end requirements and the designing of input and output data for each system.
Extended security posture management entails the setting of end-to-end baselines and the tracking of trends. This is important for the process not to completely rely on threat identities in detecting possible anomalies or malicious activities. Baselining and trending provide a way of quantifying risks, contextual monitoring, and ultimately the reduction of cross-organizational risk.
Moreover, the comprehensive end-to-end routine also benefits from established cybersecurity frameworks, particularly MITRE ATT&CK. Using the most up-to-date globally accessible knowledge base of adversarial tactics and techniques, extended security posture management systematically analyzes all possible attack points and lateral movements to effectively detect, block, and mitigate attacks.
Optimizing SIEM performance
XSPM delivers comprehensive SIEM/SOC and IR evaluation by exploring a multitude of scenarios and permutations. It anticipates the many actions threat actors have in mind. It is not limited to what cybersecurity teams know at the moment. It tries to be one step ahead to make sure that evolving cyber-attacks do not evade detection. If the attacks manage to make it through, the enhanced functions of XSPM would ensure efficient mitigation and remediation.
Also, extended security validation includes SIEM optimization to bolster threat detection while reducing false positives. Security information and event management is a tedious and meticulous process, especially in the presence of dozens of security controls. These security controls generate massive amounts of information that will be challenging to monitor and respond to.
Efficiency drops when security controls come out with false positives. With extended security posture management, SIEM performance is noticeably improved through API-based integrations to correlate attacks or detected threats with SIEM findings. This allows security analysts to ascertain that relevant security events are properly displayed. New rules can then be set if there are inaccuracies found in the triggering of security alerts. This not only improves the effectiveness of SIEM, but also reduces security alert fatigue.
Keeping ahead of cyber criminals
XSPM improves security posture management by examining the existing security posture of an organization and providing crucial recommendations for improvement. It upgrades security validation that employs either pen testing or automated testing by integrating the comprehensiveness of pen testing and the continuity of automated testing. Also, it broadens the scope of security testing as it pays attention to new attack surfaces that are often ignored by conventional security validation systems.
Extended security posture management addresses the shortcomings of conventional security posture management. It employs new functions and explores more security scenarios that reflect the kind of threats organizations face at present.