Standardization for Your Security Team

Setting a New Standard for Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity world is a fast-moving, high stakes one. Cyber threats continue to grow in both number and overall sophistication. Because of this the industry is booming with the supply of qualified employees unable to keep up with the high demand for experienced professionals. In fact, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs has grown by more than 50% since 2015, signalling a need for many organization’s to get creative with their hiring.

The Cybersecurity Skill Gap

The need for creativity is based on the large skill gap in cybersecurity. This skill gap proves to be a consistent headache for employers looking to protect their most valuable assets. So, how do you alleviate these problems as a security administrator? One solution is to institute and cultivate consistent standardization within your organization. Today’s blog looks at standardization through a microscope, dissecting its meaning in the field, its importance, and even detailing some starter tips to cultivate standardization within your organization.

The new Runbooks module for PlexTrac is designed to help standardize your security team, providing your employees with consistent standards and scripting for incident response. The Runbooks module will be launching to the public in the coming weeks, but you can see Runbooks in action NOW by scheduling a demo with us.

What is Standardization in Cybersecurity?

Standardization has a very simple definition in cybersecurity. Standardization in general is defined asthe process of making something conform to a standard.” However, in cybersecurity the terms most often used to describe standardization are “clarity” and “consistency.” 

Clarity is vital in InfoSec, because you need a clear view of your security posture in order to prioritize the remediation of your areas of defense that are at the highest risk of compromise or the areas that protect your “crown jewels.” Clarity keeps your team working towards a common, clear goal. Clarity ensures that your team can fire on all cylinders at all times, especially when the pressure is on during a breach.

Consistency is equally important because your employees need to take action in a uniform and straightforward manner. A program that is consistent in both process and quality will keep your security posture strong and expectations clear. One-off configurations within your team might provide a quick band-aid to a problem in the short-term but can prove to be problematic and time consuming in the long term.

Establishing standards within your team will provide clarity to all employees on what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and what it will take to get it done. For example, if a compromise occurs, your security standardization ensures there will be a policy and procedure in place to fix it. Standardization allows even your most novice employees to remediate the finding in a timely manner.

Why Should You Prioritize Standardization?

If the importance of standardization wasn’t outlined well enough in the previous section, this section should provide a more compelling case for you. Standardization done correctly will be beneficial for both your overarching security posture and the efficiency of your employees. A team with clear and executable steps, constant communication, and a high quality standard is a team working at an optimal level.

As stated by in a document by Enisa, “The benefits of standardisation in cybersecurity are clear and well known: Interoperability, reusability, knowledge development and cybersecurity awareness, harmonisation of terminology, consistency between different manufacturers, vendors and users, repeatability, performance checking, security evaluation, supply chain integrity and security.”

Standardization provides a level of communication, collaboration, and harmony that cannot be matched by cybersecurity teams who do not prioritize it. The fact is that most security professionals will do their jobs differently from one another if they’re given free reign to do so. This disjointed work can often resemble different languages (especially through the eyes of a security novice). You can think of standardization as the universal translator and communication facilitator for your team, allowing everyone to work and collaborate in a uniform, consistent fashion. With standardization, the direction and process for work is clear. This clarity can simply be taught and instilled in your organization’s culture, ensuring that there is a minimal amount of confusion and differentiation in the work being done.

Simple Steps to Increase Your Cybersecurity Standardization

While the idea of standardization is an easy one to get behind, implementing it in your day-to-day processes can be difficult. While the following tips not lay out a complete framework for you to follow, they provide areas to research and focus on:

  1. Utilize tools, frameworks, and platforms that focus on standardization and automation.
  2. Perform tabletop exercises that focus on proper processes regarding incident response.
  3. Develop clear and consistent communication … even between your different teams.
  4. Invest in your onboarding process to ensure that new employees deliver finished products the way you want them.

In Conclusion

Variety may be one of the keys to a happy and fulfilled life, but variety also will drive your security manager crazy and cause headaches for your entire team. Every new process or system introduced into your security environment will need to be managed, monitored and maintained. If your team’s scripts are not standardized this process will get old quickly.

Standardization will boost your team’s efficiency. This increased efficiently will benefit you, your team, and your company as a whole. Runbooks for PlexTrac was built to soothe the common standardization headache for security teams. Learn more about Runbooks for PlexTrac here.

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