What is Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM)?

What is Continuous Security Monitoring?

In the ever-evolving arena of cybersecurity threats, the antiquated reliance on traditional security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software fails to ensure robust protection against motivated adversaries. The significance of proactive surveillance to discern precursory signs of a cyberattack cannot be understated. A vigilant approach enables the establishment of a regular network activity baseline, facilitating the identification of aberrant behaviors. Consequently, potential cyberattacks can be intercepted before they inflict the average detrimental cost of $3.6M associated with a typical data breach. This is where the implementation of Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM) becomes invaluable.

Real-time monitoring of network indicators of compromise is a requisite capability for modern organizations. While this monitoring protocol has been a common practice among large corporations for several years, smaller entities are gradually adopting this beneficial strategy.

Statistics from Trustwave highlight a troubling scenario where an average successful attacker enjoys undetected access to their target’s network for an unsettling duration of 49 days. Furthermore, Verizon’s data suggests that a whopping 81% of data breaches bypass traditional security measures through the exploitation of weak or stolen passwords.

For early detection of targeted cyberattacks and halting successful breaches before they wreak havoc, organizations must consistently monitor their IT infrastructure. This imperative reinforces the fact that no single control measure can guarantee absolute protection against all cyberattacks.

Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM)

Continuous Security Monitoring is an innovative technology that equips organizations with the ability to oversee their IT assets in real time, across both cloud-based and on-premise infrastructures. A single, comprehensive portal provides an interface for IT teams and key stakeholders to analyze logs received from a multitude of devices and services (like Office 365, Azure, AWS, and more). The captured data, duly normalized and correlated, presents a lucid depiction of the activities across your diverse IT environment.

This data is usually juxtaposed with a global threat intelligence feed to create alarms when network behavior mirrors patterns associated with known cyberattacks.

Most companies deploy multiple security products, which often leads to a disadvantage. Even the most competent cybersecurity personnel face challenges, as threat assessment and identification necessitate manual aggregation prior to any responsive action. CSM streamlines this process by consolidating all security data into a single dashboard, enabling the security team to concentrate on addressing threats rather than researching them.

The concept of CSM has its roots in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Risk Management Framework (RSM). Ken Durbin, a Cyber & Continuous Monitoring Practice Manager with Symantec, frames it succinctly: “A formalized process where an agency can define each of their IT systems, categorize them by risk level, apply the appropriate controls, and continuously monitor the controls in place and assess their effectiveness against threats in their environment.”

Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM)

Key Areas of Focus

Although CSM is not a silver bullet, it does serve as a potent tool in the cybersecurity arsenal, given meticulous planning, organizational commitment, and successful implementation. While CSM provides visibility, comprehending the components of your network and their interactions is crucial to leverage the insights provided by this technology.

CSM typically brings about significant impact in the following domains:

  • Cyber Attacks: CSM facilitates the prompt identification of attacks, thereby curtailing their effectiveness and hastening system recovery.
  • Change Management: It assists organizations in handling system changes and updates, which might indicate potential threats.
  • Compliance: CSM aids organizations in maintaining compliance with various regulatory frameworks such as NIST SP 800-171, GDPR, and FISMA.

Without a doubt, the most intricate application of CSM lies in the field of cyberattacks. Although it’s impossible to preemptively block all threats, effective CSM implementation can shed light on ongoing attacks, helping organizations make informed decisions to enhance the protection of their assets.

Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM)

Implementation: A Thoughtful Approach

Implementing CSM involves a meticulous and comprehensive approach. The initial steps involve planning and auditing your current IT infrastructure. For effective CSM deployment, accurate and up-to-date network documentation is paramount.

Post-deployment, it is essential to establish a baseline of normal network behavior to detect anomalies. During this process, latent errors might surface, which, once rectified, can facilitate clean data input and legitimate alarm generation.

Successful CSM implementation also involves stakeholders from all departments since the IT network impacts all organizational functions. Moreover, prior to adoption, an extensive audit of your IT controls and assets is critical. This includes cataloging devices with network access, users, their network access level, patch and update management tools, anti-malware tools, and network configuration management technologies.

Once the Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM) platform is operational, continuous surveillance becomes a daily requirement to address any alarms, new threats, or IT environment changes.

Is Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM) Right for Your Organization?

Determining whether Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM) is appropriate for your organization depends on various factors. Ideally, every organization should adopt Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM), but the stark reality is that it may not always be feasible, especially for smaller businesses. However, given the tangible threat posed to both small businesses and large corporations alike, some form of proactive defense strategy is non-negotiable. A range of affordable solutions is available in the market that can considerably enhance your security posture. In summary, proactive vigilance against potential network threats and compliance risks is the only viable course of action in today’s interconnected world. We can assist you in identifying the most effective and cost-efficient path forward for your specific situation. We invite you to contact us today. We look forward to learning more about your organization.

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