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The Top 5 Features to Look for in Cybersecurity Monitoring Tools

Posted on February 18th, 2020

Proactive and continuous cybersecurity monitoring is no longer a suggestion, it is a necessity. Until now, security teams have relied on monitoring methods that only address the organization’s cyberhealth at that exact point in time. This has quickly become an outdated strategy as it generally keeps teams in the dark, making it harder to address vulnerabilities before they become problems.

Continuous monitoring tools provide constant, full visibility into your network ecosystem so you can stay ahead of hackers and prevent breaches. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to determine what tools are best for an organization trying to gain full control of its cyberhealth. Below, we outline the basics of cybersecurity monitoring and what features to look for in cyber monitoring tools in 2021.

What is cybersecurity monitoring?

Cybersecurity monitoring is the continuous observation of an organization’s security posture. Continuous monitoring provides a full view of a security network so organizations can identify and stay ahead of threats, stopping breaches before they happen. Constant cybersecurity monitoring provides real-time visibility into any and all devices on an enterprise network so IT and security teams can address incidents proactively, rather than reactively.

Tools that should be used to provide visibility into gaps within network security include:

  1. Threat prioritization
  2. Visibility into a third-party vendor’s network
  3. Reports catered to management
  4. Streamlined record keeping
  5. Risk analytics

How does cybersecurity monitoring work?

Traditional monitoring tools address cybersecurity on a point-in-time basis, however, this data quickly becomes outdated as it doesn’t account for any changes in the network. If an organization isn’t continuously monitoring its security posture, they run the risk of not catching an incident until their next assessment. By that point, it’s likely the hackers will have already infiltrated the network and caused damage.

Continuous cybersecurity monitoring provides real-time visibility into your network ecosystem, allowing incident response teams to stay ahead of impending cyber threats and mitigate information security risks before they become data security incidents. A successful continuous monitoring strategy will include threat prioritization, proper monitoring tools (like SIEM and GRC capabilities), a well-defined patching schedule, and a cyber aware workforce.

Why is security monitoring important?

Continuous monitoring is becoming a crucial piece of the risk management process, especially for organizations working remotely and for those who work with third-party vendors. Additionally, modern businesses are adding more devices to their network than ever before, which obscures visibility into network operations and opens the door to increased levels of cyber risk. As network ecosystems grow in complexity, it becomes increasingly important to have security solutions in place that continually monitor for threats and effectively identify and respond to those threats to limit the impact of attacks.

A consequence of not actively monitoring your cybersecurity posture is an increase in dwell time, which is the amount of time a threat has undetected access in a network until it is completely removed. Organizations also run the risk of becoming non-compliant for certain standards and regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

In order to avoid cyber risks and fines for non-compliance, organizations must focus on developing a solid cybersecurity monitoring strategy that leverages top-quality tools featuring the capabilities outlined below.

5 features to look for in a cybersecurity monitoring tool

In order to determine what cybersecurity monitoring tool aligns best with your organization, identify what features will have the biggest impact on your cyberhealth. With that in mind, here are five features every organization should look for in a cybersecurity monitoring tool:

Threat prioritization

After an organization runs a risk assessment, there are likely going to be many tasks facing IT security teams. For this reason, it is important to prioritize threats by determining which ones pose the highest risk. This will inform future monitoring decisions and allow teams to address the most impactful issues first.

Visibility into a third-party vendor’s network

An organization’s cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link in its ecosystem. The entire enterprise network is put at risk if there are vulnerabilities at any point within the chain. Look for tools that provide full visibility into third and fourth-party vendors so you can keep a steady birds-eye-view of your organization’s security posture.

Reports catered to management

Cybersecurity monitoring tools with reporting capabilities that provide an all-in-one view into any security programs currently in place will prove to be especially valuable. SecurityScorecard’s reporting offers a detailed report for technical security teams, as well as a specialized report for executives and board members.

This reporting will provide you with a consolidated snapshot of what is and isn’t working inside of the network so you can efficiently communicate progress to management.

Streamlined record keeping

Save time and resources by leveraging the work of security teams before you. Streamlined record keeping allows you to avoid the mistakes of the past so that you can continue moving forward and avoid backtracking. If a system, process, or program was inefficient in the past, the lessons learned from the mistake can be applied for future decision making.

Risk analytics

Risk analytics can be used to improve vendor management by providing organizations with security metrics that encourage better risk-based decisions. This data can be used to determine whether or not an organization or its vendors are meeting internal policy compliance.

How SecurityScorecard can help

Every organization needs the proper tools to mitigate risks across their entire security network, and SecurityScorecard’s ECRM self-assessment tool was built with this in mind. With SecurityScorecard, you’ll receive a personalized security rating ranging from letter grades A-F across 10 different groups of risk factors, providing instant visibility into the cyberhealth of not only your organization but your third and fourth-party vendors as well.

With the ability to view your entire ecosystem from a hacker’s perspective, you’ll be able to easily prioritize risks and future monitoring efforts to improve your organization’s cybersecurity health and posture.

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