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Why is Cybersecurity Visibility so Important?

Clear visibility into your environment is critical to cybersecurity best practices

Cybersecurity isn’t merely about building walls around your organization’s digital assets. It’s a complex game, where understanding the opponent’s moves and the playing field often dictates the outcome. When Sir Francis Bacon published his work, Meditationes Sacrae, in 1597, he coined the much-misquoted saying: “Knowledge itself is power.” In this game, cybersecurity visibility and understanding your data and application environment are your most powerful assets.

Let us explores why this is the case and take a closer look at the crucial role of visibility in shaping cybersecurity best practices.

Cybersecurity Visibility: The What and the Why

Visibility in the context of cybersecurity refers to gaining in-depth, real-time insight into all aspects of your organization’s IT environment. It entails seeing and understanding the granular details of network traffic, user behaviors, system configurations, application activity, and more.

Why is this so critical? The answer lies in the complexity and sophistication of modern cyber threats. Attackers often exploit blind spots in network monitoring, employ lateral movement to infiltrate networks, or leverage legitimate service accounts for malicious purposes. It’s in these areas that deep visibility becomes a game-changer.

Baselining Activity: A Proactive Defense Against Lateral Movement

Cybersecurity threats have evolved, and attackers have developed a knack for remaining undetected within networks for prolonged periods. They achieve this through lateral movement, a technique that involves moving through a network from one system to another to access valuable data.

This is where the concept of baselining activity comes into play. Baselining involves establishing a “normal” pattern of network, environment, system, and user behaviors. With this baseline, anomalous activities — often indicative of threats such as lateral movement — become easier to identify.

By providing a deep understanding of usual activity, organizations can rapidly detect deviations indicative of lateral movement. Consequently, they can act swiftly to contain and neutralize threats, minimizing potential damage.

Understanding application behavior, for more effective risk management, utilizes advanced analytics to establish a baseline of normal behavior for each application in an organization’s environment. This includes:

  • Data Collection: Collection of data from a variety of sources, including logs, network flows, endpoints, and existing security tools – allowing the system to have a comprehensive understanding of an environment.
  • Application Behavior Profiling: It is possible to develop a profile of normal behavior for each application using advanced analytics. This includes understanding how applications interact with users, how they communicate with other applications and systems, and what resources they typically use.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Once the baseline behavior profiles are established, is important to continuously monitor application activity and use the established baseline to identify abnormal behaviors that could indicate potential security risks or breaches.
  • Alerts and Response: When anomalous behavior is detected, automated software can generate alerts, allowing security teams to investigate and respond quickly. The TrueFort Platform also provides detailed information about the detected anomalies, helping teams understand the scope and potential impact of the threat.

Protecting Service Accounts with Cybersecurity Visibility

Service accounts, used by applications and systems for intercommunication, are necessary for any IT environment. Yet, they’re often highly privileged, making them a prime target for attackers.

Visibility can protect these critical accounts. Organizations can detect unusual behaviors by continuously monitoring service account activities, such as attempts to modify account privileges or access sensitive resources. With this insight, organizations can swiftly intervene, preventing potential security incidents before they escalate.

Mitigating Insider Risks: The Role of Cybersecurity Visibility

Insider threats — whether from disgruntled employees, negligent users, or compromised accounts — can be incredibly damaging. Here again, cybersecurity visibility can be instrumental.

Organizations can detect potential insider threats with a comprehensive view of user activities. This can involve identifying users accessing data they usually don’t or detecting login attempts at odd hours. Organizations can investigate and act accordingly by recognizing these anomalies, preventing or mitigating potential breaches.

Understanding Applications: An Overlooked Aspect of Cybersecurity

Applications are the lifeblood of modern organizations. But, they can also pose significant security risks if not properly monitored.

A deeper cybersecurity visibility can illuminate what applications are doing within an environment. It can highlight unpatched software, identify rogue applications, and even detect anomalies in regular application behavior. This level of insight is critical to managing application-related risks, which could otherwise go unnoticed until it’s too late.

The Way Forward: Deep Visibility as a Cybersecurity Standard

In the intricate game of cybersecurity, deep cybersecurity visibility isn’t just an advantage—it’s a necessity. As cyber threats continue to evolve, so must our defenses. Organizations can proactively identify and mitigate potential threats by incorporating deep visibility into cybersecurity best practices. In essence, they can keep a close watch on the intricate details of their IT environments and stay a step ahead of their adversaries.

But cybersecurity visibility isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it solution. It requires an ongoing commitment to monitoring and refining your security approach in light of evolving threats and changes within your environment. This constant vigilance is crucial to maintaining your network’s integrity and ensuring your digital assets’ safety.

As we look toward the future, one thing is clear: cybersecurity is no longer just about protective measures. It’s about having the right insight—the granular visibility into your network- allowing you to detect, anticipate, and swiftly respond to threats. By recognizing the critical role of deep visibility in cybersecurity best practices, organizations can stay ahead in this ever-evolving game of cyber defense.

From baselining activity and protecting service accounts to mitigating insider risks and understanding applications, cybersecurity visibility is the cornerstone of effective cybersecurity. It provides the much-needed context, allowing organizations to make informed, proactive decisions about their security posture.

As organizations continue to navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity, cultivating deep visibility will remain a central strategy. In the end, the game of cybersecurity is one of vigilance and constant adaptation. With deep visibility as a trusted ally, organizations can meet this challenge head-on, bolstering their defense and securing their digital frontier.

Please remember this: The clearer your view, the stronger your defense. Cybersecurity visibility doesn’t just illuminate the way forward—it actively paves the path toward more robust cybersecurity, empowering organizations to navigate the digital world with confidence and resilience.

Visibility is everything, and to once again quote Sir Francis and his book, Sacred Meditations: “Better is the sight of the eye, than the apprehension of the mind.”

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