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Believing These 3 Security Myths Can Sabotage Your Security Strategy

The key to robust security governance lies within reliable security processes

Gutsy Staff | October 23, 2023

artistic composite art featuring security process imagery

From the moment we wake up, to the choices we make, to the routines we follow, nearly every action we take is part of a "process" – a systematic approach or a series of interconnected steps leading to specific outcomes. Similarly, organizations employ processes to govern their operations. For IT security teams confronted by a relentless and ever-evolving threat landscape, effective security hinges on having sound processes.

Much of today’s thinking around how to keep data safe tends to narrow the focus on the technical capabilities of security tools. Whether it's "EDR," "CSPM," or "CNAPP," these tools and technologies often steal the spotlight, overshadowing the overarching processes they are integrated within. This often results in hefty financial investments to “fix the gaps with more technology.” In reality, we know this creates tool sprawl and alert fatigue caused by having too many tools deployed, but too few that are well operationalized.

Common Security Process Myths and Their Real Results

This focus on tools leads to risk that often goes unnoticed and leads to inefficient security systems. Let’s take a look at the negative impacts of three common security misconceptions:

Myth #1: “My security tools provide full visibility”

Security processes usually involve multiple security and non-security tools. Buying a security tool is much easier than using it effectively. Normally, security tools produce alerts on incidents or vulnerabilities, but they do not show how these incidents were managed or the cause.

Real result: Siloed views of what’s really happening

Any individual tool provides a partial picture of what’s going on within its own narrow context. The more tools there are, the more difficult it is to see a holistic picture and understand how they work both with each other and with your teams.

Myth #2: “We have a documented process for that”

It is often falsely assumed an organization’s “official” processes are followed consistently. In reality, every team and individual may contribute to variation in the process. Variations lead to inefficiencies, such as a ticket being assigned to the wrong team and having to be manually reassigned, or risks, such as when departed staff members’ user accounts are not fully deleted.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, simple mistakes, human errors and shortcuts can have magnified consequences even when the tools are working as they are designed.

Real result: Inconsistent outcomes

There may not be a right or wrong way but it’s far from ideal to have many different ways to accomplish a security task. Variations lead to wasted time, wasted investment, increased security risks, and escalating frustration.

Myth 3: “I already get a lot of metrics from my security tools”

Security teams depend on technical metrics from security tools for performance measurement. However, each security tool in the stack only provides information about its own results, such as how many threats it has detected or how many vulnerabilities were found. These are good data points, but they don’t connect to why an alert appeared or what happened after the notification was delivered.

Real result: Not enough context for real systemic improvements

Technical metrics alone cannot tell us what improvements need to be made in an overall process. Identifying how actions and results from one step influence those in other steps is crucial when evaluating the effectiveness of security processes.

The Fix for Security Strategy Sabotage

For security professionals who need a data-derived view of how their security systems are actually working, process mining for security provides a way to identify a comprehensive view of each individual step shining a light into murky and error-prone practices.

This practice of extracting data from IT systems, such as event logs, to provide factual insights into how a process is actually working. “Digging up” the data is done with the end goal of using that information to discover, monitor and improve the processes from which the data was mined.

This strategy not only maps how things work most of the time, but surfaces variants on how it works the other times when the outcomes are not desirable. The golden nugget lies within these variants because they provide key insights into hidden risks and inefficiencies in your operations.

Download our ebook, ‘Process Mining: The Security Angle’ to learn how Gutsy finds important patterns, anomalies, and trends to reduce risk and improve security outcomes for your business.

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