We've all heard the saying: hindsight is 20/20. This applies to many scenarios but is seldom the case when it comes to IT security: most organizations develop shortsightedness when it comes to data breaches—even those that may be happening right under their noses. Like a vehicle's side and rearview mirrors, retrospective security improves visibility by eliminating blind spots using past trends and historical data.
Retrospective security controls are defense measures that work continuously to root out threats, even after they've penetrated the network and traversed endpoints. Firewalls do their best at blocking bad traffic but offer no protection downstream after malware has slipped past. Similarly, IDPS and antivirus solutions use signature-based checks that are often unable to detect malicious traffic on first pass. Furthermore, these solutions are neither scalable or effective in the long term, especially when it comes to today's expansive and disparate enterprise IT environments.
Security in the rearview: the devil is in the details. Source: Jennifer Boyer / Flickr Creative Commons.
Cyber threat protection should encompass the whole span of an attack, not just the initial breach point or attack vector. For example, an advanced persistent threat (APT) is a coordinated series of malicious activities that could ultimately lead to a data breach. Detection and remediation of an APT therefore requires comprehensive analysis of different actors/actions and configuration changes in the environment over time.
The more important and difficult question is not why, but how—that is, how can companies not just survive, but thrive in a landscape of digital threats?
This is where retrospective security comes into play: utilizing big data analytics and cloud-based computing resources, firms can detect and remediate threats even after they have entered the network. Through the retrospective detection of files that have become malicious and configuration changes after initial entry, complex threats can be identified and contained faster and more effectively.
Retrospective security is just one crucial layer out of many required for survival in today's harsh cyber threat landscape. UpGuard's platform for integrity monitoring and validation can check your infrastructure for variance and configuration differences that could signify new or existing data breaches. Our solution provides granular visibility into any number of previous environmental states, allowing firms to perform forensics in determining how and why security controls failed. However, UpGuard provides much more than retrospective security measures—its policy-driven monitoring and validation engine coupled with the CSTAR scoring system make stronger security a quantifiable, pragmatic goal for forward-thinking organizations in all industries.
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