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Security leaders must become CEOs – Chief Exposure Officers

  • By Brian Martin, Director of Product Management at Integrity360

    At Integrity360’s upcoming Security First conference in Belfast on May 16 I’ll be discussing a major issue in the cyber security landscape. That of Threat Exposure Management. Let’s take a look at what it is and why it’s such an important topic for organisations of all sizes.

    What is Threat Exposure Management?

    Threat Exposure Management (TEM) is an increasingly integral part of an organisation’s cyber security. It involves identifying, prioritising, and managing risks across an organisation’s potential attack surface.

    TEM focuses on understanding the constantly evolving landscape of cyber threats and adapting defences accordingly. This proactive approach ensures that potential security breaches are identified and addressed before they can be exploited by malicious actors. Effective TEM strategies are crucial for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive data in today's digital world.

    What Makes Up Threat Exposure Management?

    Threat Exposure Management encompasses a comprehensive approach to cyber security, involving several key elements:

    Continuous Monitoring: This involves a persistent assessment of your organisation's external attack surface to uncover potential vulnerabilities. By continually evaluating digital risks, organisations can stay ahead of potential threats and vulnerabilities. – Security Monitoring and Analytics

    Vulnerability Prioritisation: It's crucial to analyse the effectiveness of existing security controls and prioritise them based on their impact on the organisation's overall security posture. This process helps determine which security measures require enhancements or replacements to bolster defences effectively. – Vulnerability Assessment

    Mobilisation & Remediation Planning: Developing strategies for responding to identified risks is an essential part of TEM. This includes targeted remediation efforts and proactive measures such as conducting simulated or emulated attacks to test and improve the organsation’s resilience against cyber threats. – Cyber security Testing

    Risk Communication: Effective communication about current threats and their implications for the organisation’s expanding attack surface is vital. Ensuring that all stakeholders, from employees to top management, are informed and understand their role in maintaining robust cyber security practices contributes significantly to a holistic defence strategy.

    How to Reduce Your Threat Exposure

    Reducing Threat Exposure in an organisation involves several steps, including regular software updates, enforcing strong password policies, and educating employees about cyber security best practices. Implementing multi-factor authentication and maintaining up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software are also key measures. Regularly backing up data and conducting security audits can further strengthen an organisation’s cyber defences. By taking these proactive steps, businesses can significantly lower their risk profile in the digital landscape:

    Scoping – Identify all assets within your organisation’s internal and external attack surface that could be targeted by potential threats.

    Discovery – Use threat intelligence and other tools to uncover existing security controls, identify gaps in coverage, and discover potential vulnerabilities.

    Assessment & Validation – Evaluate the effectiveness of current security measures using simulated attacks. Validate exposure levels by determining if identified vulnerabilities are exploitable through available attack paths.

    Mobilisation & Remediation Planning – Prioritise remediation efforts based on vulnerability prioritisation models such as CVSS scores or business impact analysis. Develop a plan for implementing additional security controls or improving existing ones to reduce overall risk exposure.

    Monitoring and Visibility

    Effective monitoring and visibility are fundamental to successful Threat Exposure Management. Continuous monitoring of network and system activities helps in early detection of unusual behaviours or potential breaches.

    This includes tracking user activities, network traffic, and access to sensitive data. Enhanced visibility into an organisation’s IT environment enables quicker response to threats and more effective management of security risks.

    Utilising advanced monitoring tools, services and technologies, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, plays a crucial role in maintaining a secure digital infrastructure.

    Join us at Security First Belfast

    I will be delivering a talk on the issue of exposure at Security First Belfast on May 16 and will be covering all of the above and a lot more. If you’d like to attend please visit and register -

    I hope to see you there.

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