Continuous Controls Monitoring: Automatically and Continuously Identify Gaps in Security Controls

Scott West | November 5, 2021 | tag: Security Performance Management

Gaps in security controls can be hard to detect. Misconfigured software, open ports, and unpatched systems all expose your organization to cyber risk. They also negatively impact your BitSight Security Rating.

Even when these vulnerabilities are addressed, new ones creep in over time. It’s a frustrating scenario for any CISO or CIO looking to achieve a mature and reputable cybersecurity posture and comply with security control frameworks such as NIST, ISO, and more.

The trouble is, the methods available to assess the effectiveness of your security controls require significant manual effort, expertise, and analysis. They can also be costly. Consequently, your security teams may miss important vulnerabilities that slip under your radar.

That’s where BitSight for Security Performance Management is introducing Control Insights to better assist security managers with continuous controls monitoring.

Continuously monitor the state of your security controls


Control Insights, part of BitSight for Security Performance Management (SPM), is an automated approach to continuously monitoring the effectiveness of your organization’s security controls according to best practices frameworks.

Available to current and future BitSight customers, Control Insights draws on billions of externally observable events – such as vulnerabilities – gathered from 120 different data sources and processed daily. 

Utilizing expert-designed analysis and insights, you’ll get an at-a-glance view of the current state of your organization’s security controls. You can also plot performance history over the past six months (even if you’re a new customer). With this insight, you can efficiently monitor your team’s progress over time as they work proactively to remediate gaps in security controls.

Remediate gaps with a prescribed course of action


Don’t just learn about gaps; understand and remediate them. With Control Insights, you can drill down into the root causes of vulnerabilities and get specifics on “the why” of a control’s state. When a security control needs improvement, program managers receive specific recommendations for remediating the gap(s) in alignment with the appropriate CIS Controls and/or safeguards (formerly referred to as CIS sub-controls). 

Consider this scenario. You’ve deployed Control Insights and it quickly detects the presence of Potentially Unwanted Software (PUP) in your IT environment that can expose your organization to cyber risk. This software is typically bundled with software downloaded from untrusted sources. The solution also suggests the root cause – in this case, a lack of control over workstation software installations. It will then recommend actions in accordance with the appropriate CIS Control, such as actively managing all software on the network so that only authorized software is installed and can execute, and that unauthorized and unmanaged software is found and prevented from installation or execution.

Continuous controls monitoring eliminates the manual effort associated with assessing the effectiveness of your security controls and enables security teams to operate more efficiently – while staying ahead of the constantly evolving threat landscape. 

And, unlike point solutions that only measure the effectiveness of a single control or domain in a single infrastructure, BitSight finds infrastructure and measures telemetry across a wide range of domains. 

Think of it as a parallel data analysis tool that operates alongside BitSight Security Ratings to help you proactively identify and remediate risk and drive continuous improvement of your security posture. 

Have risk-based conversations with executives


Control Insights also makes it easy to have cyber risk-based conversations with executives and help the board feel confident with your program performance. Instead of talking about the technical aspects of your security apparatus, with the reports generated by BitSight SPM with added data from Control Insights, you can convey your goals for security performance, steps being taken to achieve those goals, progress against those goals, and where improvement (and resources) are needed to remediate gaps – all using easily digestible metrics.

The evolution of BitSight SPM into a true continuous controls monitoring solution


Importantly, Control Insights adds another layer to how BitSight SPM helps you develop performant security controls, drive best practices into your cybersecurity program, improve your security posture, and strategically elevate remediation focus by addressing the root causes of detected issues and vulnerabilities.

With its prescriptive analytics capability, BitSight Control Insights is unique in the security ratings industry. Indeed, the added functionality of Control Insights elevates BitSight SPM to a continuous controls monitoring solution that ensures constant protection and vigilance against threats.

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