At MWR InfoSecurity we are serious about doing our part in creating a more digitally secure society. Our aim is to help organizations build a line of defense against cyber attacks and, in doing so, protect the economy and livelihood of many people. In the modern context, the level of sophistication employed by most threat actors is well beyond that of the current defense capability of organizations. As such it requires a paradigm shift towards a more comprehensive, threat-centric approach to cyber resilience.
MWR uses a simplified adaptation from the NIST Cyber security framework to describe the capability domains organizations should strive to establish. These domains are known as Predict, Prevent, Detect and Respond (PPDR). Importantly, required capability within each of these domains need to be uniquely defined for each organization by taking into account the nature of its business, threat landscape and business assets.
With the above in mind, the services that MWR provide are loosely aligned with the PPDR framework, geared towards helping organizations become and remain resilient to cyber attack. Historically, and still today, conducting penetration testing (also known as vulnerability assessments) is disproportionately emphasised, whilst other critical areas such as detection and response are neglected. What’s more, although many cyber security service providers are able to conduct this penetration testing, it is not typically approached from a threat-centric perspective in context of the business.
At MWR we view this type of work as Security Assurance, predominantly aimed at assessing the effectiveness and presence of Preventative controls. As this forms part of the Prevent capability of an organization, conducting Security Assurance is still considered important, but should be balanced in relation to the other capability domains. To contribute effectively towards building a line of defense, conducting effective Security Assurance projects ought to be based on the following:
Being aware of the business context within which the systems operate gives important input into the risk context and how vulnerabilities are reported.
Testing from a threat-centric perspective means testing in the way that a malicious attacker would look to compromise the system, app or environment.
You test what you scope, if due attention during scoping is not given, a false sense of security may be the result.
Simply having a long list of vulnerabilities with risk ratings provide little value, contextualising this within the business application and threat landscape is where true value is realised.