3 Tools to Help Scale Your Cybersecurity Program

As the potential for exposure increases, cybersecurity scaling helps organizations grow while managing cyber risk. That said, it does come with its fair share of challenges. As we noted in a previous blog, time, planning, and resources all interact in ways that can complicate organizations' cybersecurity scaling efforts.

In this blog, we'll examine three challenges that organizations might encounter when scaling their cybersecurity programs. We'll then discuss how organizations can overcome those obstacles using resources from the Center for Internet Security (CIS).

Evaluating Systems’ Configurations

Misconfigurations carry a hefty price tag, but organizations aren't always prioritizing the discovery of these issues. This is increasing their risk of suffering a security incident. In August 2022, for instance, Titania released a report revealing that misconfigurations cost organizations an average of 9% of their total annual revenue. (In actual terms, this means millions of dollars for many.) One-third of organizations discover fewer than 50 misconfigurations a year, according to Titania, but this could be because most respondents audit their devices just once a year. Without more frequent audits across their growing IT infrastructure, misconfigurations can remain open for months, thus giving attackers time to discover these security issues and leverage them to steal sensitive information.

To overcome this challenge, organizations should invest in regularly conducting automated scan assessments of their systems' configurations. CIS-CAT Pro, our premier configuration assessment tool, can help towards that end. Using CIS-CAT Pro Assessor, organizations can automatically evaluate a target system's settings against the security recommendations of the CIS Benchmarks. At the end of each scan, CIS-CAT Pro produces a report that guides organizations in their journey to remediate non-compliant settings. They can view these results as standalone HTML reports, or they can view a graphical interface for up to two years of configuration assessments within CIS-CAT Pro Dashboard.

Automating the Implementation of Security Best Practices

Trends like the cybersecurity skills gap make it difficult for organizations to implement security best practices at scale. A lack of skilled security professionals holds up day-to-day security operations and complicates the task of strengthening an organization's cybersecurity posture. This is even more evident in the absence of a chief information security officer (CISO) and/or other technical decision-makers who can think and plan for cybersecurity strategically.

Organizations can help themselves by investing in tools that automate the implementation of security best practices. This is where CIS Build Kits can come into play. Through Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for Windows systems or shell scripts for Linux environments, organizations can automate the implementation of a CIS Benchmark's security guidelines to target systems at scale. Doing so will save IT teams hours of manual configuration review as well as leave more budget and team members available to spend time working on other projects.

Tracking Your Use of Security Best Practices

Finally, it’s not enough to automate the implementation of security best practices. Doing so means nothing if organizations can’t think strategically about these efforts to make sure they’re implementing the right security best practices in a way that grows their security maturity over time. Otherwise, they could just be wasting their time by not accounting for risks that matter to their business.

Hence the need for organizations to track these efforts using the pro version of our CIS Controls Self Assessment Tool (CIS CSAT Pro). Through this tool, organizations can track and prioritize their implementation of the CIS Critical Security Controls (CIS Controls). A simplified scoring method using different roles, organizations, and tasks enables organizations to focus on laying a secure foundation first. (Implementation Group 1 is what we recommend as a starting place.) From there, organizations can synchronize their implementation efforts to their scaling endeavors, thus ensuring that they can continue to accommodate their evolving business needs.

Three Challenges, One Solution

Clearly, organizations need to be careful when selecting an approach for scaling their cybersecurity efforts. They need to select a method through which they can navigate different elements of cybersecurity maturity, all while fostering a conducive environment for profitable business growth.

This is the idea behind CIS SecureSuite. It’s a paid Membership that gives organizations what they need to scale their cybersecurity programs over time. This includes access to CIS-CAT Pro (both Assessor and Dashboard), CIS Build Kits, and CIS CSAT Pro.

Now through October 31, organizations can access these resources for even less and receive up to 20% off when purchasing a CIS SecureSuite Membership.