Strategies for a Robust CTEM Program: Overcoming Integration and Data Analysis Hurdles

Strategies for a Robust CTEM Program: Overcoming Integration and Data Analysis Hurdles

Businesses can develop mature, strategic security controls using Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) that are always in line with their level of risk tolerance and have detection and response capabilities.

Businesses struggling to develop their security programs face significant challenges from the contemporary threat landscape. The attack surface expands even as these companies modernize their IT and security programs. Security leaders must understand that security program gaps happen because of perimeter defenses that can’t keep up with the increased attack surface. Security can only scale up at a rate that keeps up with constantly expanding threats by implementing a new systemic approach.

Visibility is important for cybersecurity because security teams must know all risks before deciding how to lower them. But for visibility, a clear strategy and a programmatic approach are necessary. That strategy’s continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) component is essential.

CTEM is a collection of procedures and tools that enables businesses to regularly assess how easily accessible, exposed, and exploitable their physical and digital assets are. CTEM is the hub for GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) mandates. Businesses can develop mature, strategic security controls using CTEM that are always in line with their level of risk tolerance and have detection and response capabilities.

Although the idea of CTEM first came in print in July 2022—many organizations are now trying to put the initiatives they’ve been putting into practice for the past few months. As businesses begin to carry out their carefully created plans, they might encounter a few unforeseen difficulties that can result in setbacks.

Problems with developing a CTEM

Establishing a CTEM program is a great idea, but some implementation issues must resolve for execution to be successful. Early consideration of them during the implementation phases could prevent later time and frustration.

Being able to look at the bigger picture

A thorough CTEM program covers many topics, including Cloud, AD, software vulnerabilities, network security, etc. Each of these things has its own silo, owners, set of tools, and list of unresolved problems. With each area informing the others, CTEM aims to bring them together into a comprehensive perspective.

In actuality, that entails gathering all data and utilizing it to comprehend obligations and priorities. However, establishing a baseline of understanding is difficult because each area requires a unique set of skills. The last thing security teams want is a program that was painstakingly created and implemented but didn’t recognize the risks that each area poses, or worse, forgets to include any specific area of issue.

Companies need to identify a “point person” who can take a broad perspective and become an expert at comprehending how all the covered areas converge and affect one another. This person doesn’t need to understand the minute details of how each tool operates or what each category of security issue entails. Still, they should be able to see the big picture to ensure that all areas are considered and addressed by experts with nuanced knowledge.

Dealing with diagnostic overload

Another significant point is that each CTEM has tools that produce alerts. Therefore, even though one of the main goals of CTEM is to modernize all of the information generated by these tools, one notable byproduct is just a ton of unnecessary noise. Recognize that at this point, teams can fix nothing, so security teams must set priorities and work as efficiently as possible.

Focus on the scopes and exposures that attackers are more likely to exploit and could have the most significant impact on business to achieve this. It may be helpful to use the “crawl, walk, run” method or start with small steps focusing on a narrow scope and expanding it as the program develops.

Lack of Widespread Awareness

Getting complete visibility into an organization’s threat exposure is one of the main challenges. This also involves clarity on security of the organization’s systems, networks, applications, and endpoints. Organizations can invest in dependable security monitoring tools that offer real-time visibility into their infrastructure to get around this problem.

Utilizing threat intelligence sources can also assist in identifying newly emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Collecting and analyzing security data can be facilitated by implementing network and system monitoring tools like intrusion detection systems (IDS) and security information and event management (SIEM) systems.

Bringing non-security and security together

It’s well-known that security and IT/infrastructure/DevOps teams don’t always speak the same language. This gap can be problematic in many ways, but it can become even more so when introducing new initiatives or programs. The lack of communication can lead to various problems during the implementation of CTEM, including a lack of agreement on SLA expectations and a lack of knowledge of who owns what on the non-security team.

Full communication of the need is difficult, especially when teams are swamped with numerous projects. Their lack of comprehension may discourage them from taking the necessary action. Bring in participants from non-security teams as early in the process as possible. Having a simple to-do list for them is insufficient. Instead, for them to fully comprehend the strategy, security experts should sit down with them and explain the objectives they are trying to achieve.

Find out what they’ll need from the team or other teams in the company to make their lives easier by getting their input. By informing them about cyberattack news, firms can also increase their understanding of the potential effects on the business and how those effects relate to their particular area of the enterprise.

Integration Complexity

Organizations frequently use various security technologies, tools, and systems. It can be challenging to integrate these multiple systems within a CTEM program. Organizations should create a clear architecture that encourages integration and interoperability to address this.

Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and standardized protocols can enable seamless integration between various security solutions. Organizations can get a centralized view of security operations by utilizing security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platforms, which can also simplify integration processes.

Also Read: Best Ways to Minimize SIEM False Positives

Resource and Skill Gap

A CTEM program needs qualified cybersecurity professionals to build and maintain it. There aren’t enough qualified experts in the field, however. Organizations can invest in training and development programs to improve the skills of current staff to meet this challenge.

Security experts should be able to manage the CTEM program successfully by providing certifications, workshops, and hands-on training. Organizations can also collaborate with managed security service providers (MSSPs) to gain access to specialized resources and expertise as needed.

CTEM for the Contemporary Threat Environment

CTEM is a program that controls the exposure to growing threats while considering corporate priorities. With its iterations, the enterprise can continuously monitor, prioritize, validate, correct, and optimize its security exposure. Security teams should implement CTEM gradually, using both current and emerging technology. Success will ultimately depend on the capacity to mobilize various stakeholders.

A breach will be three times less likely to happen to organizations in the future that prioritize their security investments based on a continuous exposure management program. Creating a Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) program can be complex. It entails proactively and continuously managing and reducing security risks. CTEM programs come with their own set of difficulties in addition to their many advantages.

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