Continuous Threat Exposure Validation
You can reduce your breach incidence by over 60% in the next two years; however, provided that you prioritize your security investments in a continuous threat exposure management program (CTEM), according to Gartner.
Generally speaking, a CTEM program promotes oversight and control over an organization’s visibility to hostile actors. To accomplish this though, a Security organization must take on the task of analyzing and adopting an attacker’s mindset. This means that your Security analysts must start with asking some important questions. According to recent intelligence, what vulnerabilities are most exploited by attackers? What attack paths are most common? Are your security controls up to the task? And if not, what course of action can your organization take to shrink your attack surface? The right answers to these questions at any given point in time constitute what is continuous threat exposure validation. To yield the right answers, your Security organization will need the following:
- Predictive & Tailored Threat Intelligence
- Security Control Testing & Optimization
- Platform-Based Cybersecurity Validation
We clarify below.
Evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications and actionable advice, about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets that can be used to inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard. (Gartner)
Organizations leverage threat intelligence to assess potential, external risks to their most vulnerable IT assets and Security controls. Threat intelligence should be derived from a number of internal and external sources that can be translated to serve four main initiatives: strategic, tactical, operational, and technical (Figure 1). Threat intelligence is most often used to substantiate indicators of compromise, which means that an intrusion has already, potentially occurred. Predictive threat intelligence on the other hand, aims to shift the focus left to the probability of intrusion occurring, and it is least commonly used. The problem with only using reactive threat intelligence, instead of predictive and preemptive threat intelligence is that organizations are only poised to put out fires rather than prevent them.
Continuous threat exposure validation requires that organizations use the predictive and reactive threat intelligence symbiotically—one to feed the other, and furthermore, both to be actionable enough to drive breach prevention, risk reduction, efficient vulnerability management, and the development of new security controls.
For threat intelligence to be used effectively, organizations must have sufficient knowledge of their attack surface via asset and vulnerability discovery capabilities. The unfortunate reality is that in any organization, assets are frequently brought on and offline and are not often integrated with security data. In fact, by 2027, Gartner, Inc. projects that 75% of employees will acquire, modify or create technology outside IT’s visibility — up from 41% in 2022. Complete asset mapping to continuous threat intelligence will be near impossible without the right technology to help. The right technology will equip organizations with sufficient understanding into how cyber attacker TTPs can be applied to their situation or asset, and how it relates to the criticality of their business. This knowledge can also streamline vulnerability management in providing the risk and priority context to daily, uncovered vulnerabilities.
ULTRA RED Threat Exposure Management enables immediate and continuous value, clarity and focus for all organizations struggling to make sense of their asset map, likely threats, and points of internal/external exposure. With routine asset discovery, vulnerability and threat mapping, ULTRA RED maps an organization's security posture to the MITRE ATT&CK framework to illustrate detection coverage. This “lay of the land” overview shows risky behaviors, threats, and pre-incident situations correlated with information on related events, assets, and users. Using advanced data analytics and machine learning, the platform provides curated, contextual data including threat intel and related alerts, assets, and user data that analysts can act on. Threats are prioritized based on likelihood, impact, and confidence for situations that may become or already are incidents — so analysts know which situations require immediate attention and, just as importantly, which don’t. Threat intelligence aid security analysts respond effectively to intel and suspicious activity before damage or disruption can occur. ULTRA RED makes sure that companies have zero blind spots as they begin to use threat intelligence to better prioritize their operations, budget and needs.
Security organizations leverage upwards of 40 Security controls to offset their cyber risks, and the number is only growing. Security controls are great investments, but they are only as good as they are maintained. A traditional problem that Security organizations incur and have yet to sufficiently address is how to test the efficacy of their controls and maintain their security control hygiene. This is where “Breach and Attack Simulation” (BAS) technology proves beneficial.
True to its name, BAS mimics real-world attack scenarios against your organization in an attempt to bypass your security controls. Examples include simulated malware attached to data traffic across emails or through a firewall to trigger appropriate responses from your email or network gateway controls. The purpose is to determine the efficacy and efficiency of your security technology stack. Effective BAS can be designed to run on an automated schedule, or on a case-by case basis without interfering in production operations. While BAS cannot remove the need for manual pen-testing and vulnerability scans, it is a perfect compliment. Breach and Attack Simulation technology uncovers the flaws in the controls that should protect and prevent. BAS fills the gaps that pen-test, vulnerability management and policy management solutions cannot address. In effect, BAS polices the policer, and combined, they touch on combatting all potential external risks.
The ULTRA RED Threat Exposure Management platform features Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) to enable continuous security control testing. ULTRA RED targets the root cause issues that put critical assets at risk. ULTRA RED’s BAS simulations validate controls across network controls, endpoints, cloud applications and container techniques. Security organizations can uncover security gaps and misconfigurations in their controls and further utilize our remediation guidance to help address any and all outstanding problems. An added benefit through ULTRA RED’s BAS feature is its graph-based attack path mapping and management capabilities. By mapping all possible attack paths across diverse environments including hybrid clouds, ULTRA RED prepared Security organizations to direct their resources to remediate the most damaging attack paths so to prevent devastating attacks ahead of time.
The goal of technology is to increase human efficiency and innovation with speed; however too much technology befitting similar purposes can result in diminishing returns. This is an overwhelming problem in cybersecurity. Most Security organizations are bloated with technologies that have overlapping functionality. And though all technology has purposeful input, their lacking integration proposes more work for Security functions who have to manually correlate findings. The majority of Security organizations today are pressed for time, skill and budget these days. They need cybersecurity vendors to meet them with a platform approach. This approach promises simplicity, integration and a shared purpose across mutually beneficial features. According to Gartner, “Through 2026, more than 40% of organizations will rely on consolidated platforms to run cybersecurity validation assessments.”
For CTEM specifically, any platform should mobilize threat and vulnerability intelligence to prioritize risk reduction, minimize the attack surface, and fortify security controls. As a pioneer in building a Threat Exposure Management platform, this is the approach ULTRA RED takes. ULTRA RED’s Threat Exposure Management platform brings meaningful threat exposure and vulnerability intelligence insights together in one platform for a smaller cost and high return. In one intuitive dashboard, Security analysts can assess and act on their asset and security control environment, health, and risks.