Matt | 03 October 2022

How To Manage Evolving IT Security Risks

With more of our networks becoming part of the multi-cloud universe, IT professionals need to learn how to manage evolving security risks and how they can potentially affect the organisation.

This all begins with ensuring that your organisation adheres to all of the regulatory and security compliance requirements and that the automated compliance architecture is in place.

Security compliance is determined by whether or not a system follows the parameters set out in a compliance policy, of which there are usually several. There are various regulatory standards required on an ongoing basis.

They range from;

  • The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS, which protects both parties that are involved in a payment transaction)
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, which provides guidelines on all matters related to tech)
  • The Centre of Internet Security (CIS, a non-profit that works to protect organisations, both private and public, from cyber threats)
  • Among many others.

It is important to note that there is not only one standard regulatory body. Policies are varied within organisations and different projects because risk means different things for different organisations.

How you define risk is dependent on your needs. However, what you do need to be aware of is what kind of threat pressure your system is under and whether there are controls in place to counter the threats.

Compliance Architecture

The purpose of automated compliance architecture is to automatically audit active configurations against the current standards or policies and provide solutions for any arising non-compliance issues. This works by securing containers, operating systems, applications, container platforms and services and demonstrating it all.

There are many types of projects and software that can execute this project framework. Whatever the system, the project frameworks are designed to work in an automated fashion to deliver compliance content.

Once the first part of this process is done, it goes into the OpenSCAP project. This security scanning system is an important part of the automated compliance architecture scheme because it allows you to scan your security in a few simple steps.

From beginning to end, you will:

  • Install SCAP workbench or OpenSCAP base
  • Choose a policy
  • Adjust your settings
  • Evaluate the system.

The OpenSCAP platform is simple to execute because it allows organisations to customise their own set of processes to meet the set standards. The regulatory standards mentioned above each implement different types of benchmarks for configuring IT systems, software, and networks.

A benchmark profile is usually created to include;

An overview title for the benchmark profile,

  • Where the profile is applicable (the server or workstation) and the level of the profile. A Level 2 profile has more secure requirements
  • A description of the profile
  • The rationale for the benchmark profile.

The workflow

So, how exactly do the chosen platform and OpenSCAP work together to create this automated compliance architecture?

Your chosen plugin will go to the SSOT (Single Source of Truth, which is a set procedure on how information is structured to ensure that everyone uses the same data) and find the registered nodes that need to be managed. Think of the SSOT as the referential data repository. It is also a required platform for your registered nodes.

The next step is to use code to remediate the necessary changes. This code is taken from software like Git, which is a free and open-source software for distributed version control.

Once you have followed these steps, you will be ready to remediate against the device you want. This can range from Windows, Cisco, and Linux or to more niche operating software.

Lastly, conduct pre and post-scans to check the host’s status and fix any errors.

Examine the insights

Regardless of whether you are the person who will take these insights and put them into action, it is beneficial to familiarise yourself with them. Make sure you understand your security risk profile. This leads you to be able to plan accordingly to stay ahead of any critical operational issues.

Having all of this information will allow you to reduce the resolution time from several hours to a few minutes. Finally, understanding your security profile means you can free up resources to focus on innovation and new capabilities.

You need to be aware of how these vulnerabilities affect your business, and you can do so by pulling up a list of insights and familiarising yourself with them. Once you have the information you need, you can automate processes to analyse and fix any issues, which will make things much simpler and quicker in the future.

By taking these steps, you will be more well equipped to take a proactive approach to fix the issues instead of remaining reactive. This will not only lead to risk reduction, but it will allow you to focus more time on other factors that are more important to running the business.