The introduction of cloud computing has significantly changed how online businesses function. Working with data is now easier than ever. But, on the flip side, there’s always a possibility of a data breach. Hence, businesses need to be very cautious about how to secure their data online.
Security posture, in general, refers to the aggregated security of the complete system, including the code repositories, build pipelines, networks, hardware, and other confidential data.
What Is Data Security Posture Management?
The process of discovering, evaluating, and reducing risks to sensitive data inside an organization is known as data security posture management. This can involve adding security controls, keeping an eye out for potential threats, and periodically evaluating how well these steps work to keep sensitive data safe. Maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data inside an organization is the aim of data security posture management.
Talking about compliance auditing for data security posture management is vital because it helps organizations meet regulatory and industry standards.
Understanding Compliance Auditing
As stated above, compliance auditing helps organizations ensure that they’re meeting specific standards, but what is the exact implication?
Organizations can identify areas where their data security posture may be deficient and take action to address those vulnerabilities by performing compliance audits. Additionally, compliance audits can assist firms in showing regulators, clients, and other stakeholders that they are committed to securing sensitive data and taking data security seriously. Compliance auditing also helps businesses locate weak points in their security posture and places that require more time, money, and effort invested.
Organizations may conduct various compliance audits to evaluate their data security posture. Among the most popular are:
Industry-Specific Compliance Audits
Naturally, any business will fall under at least one of the industries ranging from digital enterprises to automobiles. There are set standards in each industry, and all the industry organizations have to conform to those standards. Industry-specific compliance audits are designed to ensure that organizations comply with industry-specific standards for data security.
Regulatory Compliance Audits
These audits are designed to ensure that an organization complies with laws and regulations related to data security, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Penetration testing and vulnerability assessments are performed to find potential weaknesses in a company’s systems and applications by simulating actual assaults. They also evaluate the company’s capability to recognize and address security events.
Organizations may carry out one or more of these audits to ensure they are adhering to industry and regulatory standards and pinpoint areas where their data security posture needs to be strengthened.
Common Compliance Standards for Data Security Posture Management
Compliance standards apply to data security posture management by establishing standards and best practices for safeguarding sensitive data and systems. To guarantee the security, integrity, and accessibility of sensitive data, organizations handling sensitive data must adhere to these requirements.
Compliance standards for data security posture management include, but are not limited to:
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards): As discussed above, organizations that manage credit card transactions must adhere to this standard. It imposes strict requirements on enterprises to have security safeguards in place to safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of credit card data.
SOC 2: SOC 2 is an auditing standard that focuses on the controls that service organizations have in place for their systems and services in terms of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
NCSF (NIST Cybersecurity Framework): The NCSF is a set of recommendations and best practices for safeguarding sensitive data and systems. Many different businesses and organizations use this approach.
Best Practices for Compliance Auditing
Now that we have a better understanding of data security posture management and its primary purpose, let us now see the best practices for incorporating effective security management.
Foremost of all, the organization should consider regularly scheduling compliance audits as it helps them stay updated with the latest regulatory policies and to identify any issues that may arise. The recommended frequency for scheduling audits can be anywhere between every quarter and year.
Compliance auditing is also effective when the organization involves all the relevant stakeholders. Doing so ensures that the audit is comprehensive and that all the organization’s areas are examined. This can involve staff from various departments such as IT, security, legal, and compliance. By involving all relevant stakeholders, organizations can gain a more holistic view of their data security posture and identify any potential issues that may have been missed by a more narrow focus.
Further, the organization should also emphasize on keeping accurate records and documentation for demonstration purposes. Additionally, it enables businesses to monitor their development over time and pinpoint areas for development. Any flaws found during compliance audits, the steps taken to remedy them, and any subsequent evaluations should all be documented by organizations. Relevant stakeholders should have easy access to these records, which should be housed in a safe location.
Lastly, organizations should also follow up and strive for continuous improvement. To ensure that the problems discovered in the audit have been fixed, follow-up is a crucial step. The auditor will make a follow-up evaluation when they visit the organization again to ensure that the company has resolved the issues found and is currently in compliance. In addition, as new threats and vulnerabilities are constantly emerging, organizations must regularly review and strengthen their data security posture to ensure they adhere to legal requirements and business norms.
Your company’s most valuable asset is data. Protection teams must have complete visibility into where sensitive data is located to ensure its security as more data and workloads migrate to the cloud. Traditional and legacy security methods won’t work in contemporary settings. For the aforementioned reasons, implementing a data-first security policy is crucial to maintaining data security anywhere in the cloud. Data security posture management helps you mitigate the same.