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Beyond Breach and Attack Simulation

The Need for Automated Testing

Gaining an accurate assessment of a company’s security posture against real-world threats has been an ongoing challenge for security leaders for years. Human penetration tests and red team assessments have delivered some value in helping teams identify weaknesses and see how well their defenses protect the organization from attackers. However, these approaches provide only a ‘point-in-time’ snapshot of performance rather than continuous monitoring and measurement and require users to piece together data from disparate systems – not the most efficient approach.

In 2017, Gartner coined the term Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) to describe a new wave of security controls testing technologies that automate testing and preparedness capabilities. BAS solutions execute simulated attacks to determine if security controls detect and respond to threats as they should, and then report on the results. What BAS tools lack, however, is the ability to capture quantitative measures of effectiveness and support business outcomes, among other important aspects of security effectiveness measurement.

With ransomware and malware attacks making headlines almost daily, boards and executive leadership are now demanding continuous proof of the value of security investments in business terms – something BAS simulators cannot deliver.

Breach and Attack Simulation is not Enough

Forward-thinking leaders are now looking for ways to manage cyber security like any other business unit – with metrics-based management. To do this, security leaders are looking to security validation technologies that automate a spectrum of testing and preparedness capabilities and support business outcomes by capturing quantitative measures of effectiveness. This quantifiable proof can be applied to strengthening and streamlining security programs and justifying investments as part of a strategic business framework, and for demonstrating operational competency.

Breach and Attack Simulation tools fall short of delivering accurate, intelligence-led, quantifiable validation of security effectiveness and are simply not enough for helping enterprises achieve and maintain an acceptable level of risk. Here’s why.

  • Attack simulations are often not recognized as a threat and are less effective than emulation of real attacks.
  • BAS lacks content informed by timely, relevant threat data to help security teams prioritize their focus on what is most relevant and important to their organization.
  • BAS is unable to execute real attacks across the full attack kill chain.
  • BAS is unable to safely detonate destructive attacks such as malware and ransomware.

Continuous Security Validation is Key to Understanding Cyber Risk

Rather than provide a one-off look at performance of the organization's security controls or program, a core value of security validation is the ability to conduct automated, continuous monitoring and measurement so that changes to the IT environment won't have an adverse impact on the performance and effectiveness of security controls in place.

Additionally, through operationalizing threat intelligence, security teams gain access to timely, actionable threat data as part of the validation process. This leads to a deeper understanding of the threat landscape and how effective security controls are at combating specific attacks – particularly those that are most relevant.

True measurement of security effectiveness is achieved through:

  • The emulation of real attacks rather than simulations.
  • Content based on timely, relevant threat intelligence and adversary visibility.
  • An architecture that enables execution of real attack binaries across the full attack kill chain.
  • The ability to safely detonate destructive attacks.
  • Continuous assurance of security infrastructure health by managing IT environmental drift and validating network segmentation.

Implementing a reliable security validation program enables companies to quantify risk and prioritize resources to maintain operational competency.

Why Choose Mandiant Security Validation?

Mandiant knows more about cyber threats and the actors responsible for them than anyone else, given our unparalleled access to cyber activity and our extensive threat intelligence operations. Mandiant combines adversary, victim, and campaign information with product telemetry data to produce actionable threat intelligence that no competitor can match.

What makes Mandiant threat intelligence unique:

  • Mandiant executes more than 200,000 hours of incident response engagements worldwide every year, feeding analysts with deep insight into the specific steps malicious actors take post-compromise against targeted organizations.
  • Engaging in 400+ red team exercises, through thousands of customer driven intelligence research initiatives and speaking over 30 languages, Mandiant deploys more than 300 threat consultants across 26 countries to produce intel reports which detail threat activities discovered “in the wild” and on the dark web.
  • Five Security Operations Centers proactively look for unidentified threat activity and investigate these in customer environments, ingesting 99 million events annually, actively validating more than 21 million alerts of those ingested.

Security validation is an automated, continuous practice that delivers accuracy and integrity in test results, proves cyber-readiness, and demonstrates operational competency – goals that nearly every security team needs to achieve.

SANS RESOURCES

Measuring Cybersecurity Controls Effectiveness with Security Validation

This paper will explore best practices for getting in front of these issues by measuring cybersecurity control effectiveness.

Read White Paper

Measuring Cybersecurity Controls Effectiveness with Security Validation

This webinar discusses the need for testing your security controls and key features in order to find a security validation solution.

Watch Webinar

The Definitive Guide to Security Validation

eBook

Why the market has evolved beyond Breach and Attack Simulation

Discover how the market has evolved past Breach and Attack Simulation, and the specific set of capabilities and content you need to confidently prove the effectiveness of your security controls.

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Mandiant Security Validation

Learn more about how security validation can help you continuously monitor, validate, and optimize your security program.