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With remote work and the ever-present threat of zero-day exploits and social engineering, it’s not getting any easier for security professionals to protect their expansive digital footprints from threat actors. Even with dozens of security tools at their disposal, many CISOs and SecOps teams have doubts about their ability to defend against cyberattacks. 

To create awareness around how we can improve our collective defenses, we recently spoke with our customers, managed service partners, channel partners and industry pundits about what allows them to have confidence in their cybersecurity stacks. This includes input from a wide spectrum of security professionals including: 

  • Three CISOs/SecOps leaders from top-10 US Banks.
  • Three cybersecurity vendors.
  • Two major industry training and certifications organizations.
  • Two managed security service providers.
  • One Top-10 consulting firm.

For today’s security professionals to meet demands like patch management, training and compliance, they need a realistic, safe environment to see how their security personnel, tech stacks and policies respond to new threats and configurations.

Based on our conversations with industry leaders, these are the five most critical cybersecurity operations for building confidence in their tech stacks:

#1 - Stack validation

Many of the security leaders we spoke to indicated that the best way to build cyber confidence is to use a non-production environment to run full-scale live attacks on a clone of their security environment. This allows SecOps teams to safely test the effectiveness of their security stacks, teams and processes holistically. It's no longer enough to buy security products in piecemeal fashion. SecOps teams need to ensure that each of the applications, hardware profiles and security policies can work in concert with one another.

#2 - Assess against new threats

We have all lived with the constant need to understand our susceptibility to new cyberattacks and social engineering methods. It’s difficult to assess our readiness without actually running the attacks to see how they behave within our environments. This is especially true with new malware and emerging threat POCs that seem to arise every other week. This is one reason many security professionals look to cyber ranges and other development environments for testing. Not only can they build ranges that match production systems, but they can also install malware, run APT simulations or live-fire events to observe the potential impacts and ensure their systems are hardened. 

#3 - Patch testing

According to a recent article in Dark Reading, nearly 60% of breaches are caused by patching issues. Every security professional is faced with the dilemma of what and when to patch, all while balancing security risk, product impacts, compliance and cyber insurance requirements. This is where a cyber range can help you avoid the need to patch and pray and enable you to know before you go. By testing patches before they push to production, SecOps can validate that the deployment won't interrupt business operations, or create additional vulnerabilities in other systems across the organization.

#4 - Hands-on training

Even with the challenges that emerging threats and patch management present, many of the security professionals we spoke with said that training personnel and aligning processes across global teams is their most significant challenge. But with the right tools, security leaders can provide customized, hands-on educational content to their teams, allowing for better employee engagement and more consistent training across the enterprise. 

#5 - Proving compliance

One of the harsh realities of cybersecurity is that being capable and resilient in the face of threats is not the only objective the CISO and their team have to manage. First, they have to enact the proper security controls and policies. Then they need to prove they have done so and report it to management, boards, auditors and cyber insurance carriers. To simplify compliance and reporting, many security leaders are using cyber risk management platforms to test and document the implementation of security controls required by regulators, cyber insurers and their own organization's leadership. 

As one interviewee put it, “If we don’t report it and prove it, then it did not happen in the minds of our key customers.”

This comment emphasizes that while following operational best practices are vital, the job is not done until consumers and stakeholders have trust in a company’s security posture, which today, is essential to being a sustainable partner. 

Want to learn more about how you can build confidence in your tech stack by testing and tuning on a high-fidelity range? Click here to request a demo. Or to see an example of our range in action testing the impact of a real exploit, click here.

Blog byShaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh is the VP of Global Marketing at SimSpace. He has spent over 20 years in senior leadership positions for leading companies in the cybersecurity, cloud computing, AI and enterprise networking industries.