Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

The Hacker Mindset: Securing Data and Managing Exposures

Digital transformation is growing exponentially with the rapid adoption of cloud technologies. However, before migrating into the cloud, entering a new partnership, or integrating with a new supply chain, an organization must understand which assets are exposed and the extent of those risks. 

It’s one thing to know that an application has a CVE vulnerability, but you also need to comprehend environmental vulnerabilities. This includes assessing the application’s criticality, the nature of the risk, whether the risk is being mitigated, and if the mitigation will be sustainable. In other words, what is the real exposure?

Organizations need to be proactive and “think” like hackers to anticipate potential vulnerabilities and fix them before they are exploited maliciously. Your risk will never be zero, and cybersecurity risk is just one factor in business decisions. With clear, accessible, and understandable information on vulnerable assets alongside knowing your data exposures can drive effective decision making. If you have a handful of assets, finding and fixing vulnerabilities isn’t much of a problem. 

However, for organizations with thousands or tens of thousands of assets, having a couple of dozen assets with vulnerabilities that don’t have compensating controls will put you at a high level of risk. Exposure management will help you provide a complete visibility into your exposures and attack surface, enabling you to make informed decisions based on evidence rather than assumptions or hopes.

Another critical challenge is getting a grasp of your data exposures. Roughly 90% of businesses use hybrid cloud models or multiple cloud providers, but a significant portion of them depend on security policies and strategies that expose their data to vulnerabilities. The basis of any security plan should be to always keep data encrypted—whether it’s stored, being transferred, or in use—across all locations, including on-premises, in the cloud, and within SaaS applications. To achieve this, businesses must first carefully identify where their data is stored, in what formats, in which applications, and check if it is already encrypted with the appropriate controls.

Data exposure management refers to the strategies and policies implemented by an organization, with encryption at its core, to proactively identify, assess and address potential vulnerabilities of sensitive data before it can be exploited. Integrating Data Exposure Management within your broader exposure management strategy will build the foundations for a resilient and robust security, making threat detection and response more efficient.

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