What is continuous security monitoring?
Continuous security monitoring refers to an ongoing monitoring system that keeps a constant watch for security vulnerabilities, the state of your information security controls, and potential risks and threats to your information security.
If you think too much about information security, it can seem insurmountable. At any given moment, there could be teams of hackers trying everything in their power to get access to your data. How do you make sure that your system is as airtight as possible…and that it stays that way? One of the most important tools you can use is continuous security monitoring.
What is continuous security monitoring?
When it comes to securing your data and your system, what is continuous monitoring in cybersecurity? Continuous monitoring is all about automation. Think of it as an everlasting watchdog; it’s a tool or process you set up to identify signs of a breach or vulnerabilities that could allow breaches to happen and alerts you so you can address them.
Why is continuous security monitoring important?
To information security experts, no organization’s security posture is complete without continuous monitoring. The simple truth is that there is always a potential for new vulnerabilities to arise because your internal and external software tools and other aspects of your system are constantly being updated and modified. Any of those changes can create a vulnerability that you wouldn’t spot without continuous monitoring.
Continuous monitoring is essential for allowing you to stay on top of your data security and keep it as strong as it can be. Beyond this, though, continuous monitoring is a game-changer when it comes to security compliance. If your organization aims to follow a certain security standard, continuous monitoring will let you know if a compliance-breaking change is made so you can address it rather than waiting until it’s time for a new audit and scrambling to catch up.
Do security certifications require continuous monitoring for cybersecurity?
Security standards like ISO 27001 are necessities for many organizations. Not only do they guide you in setting up a secure system but they demonstrate your security commitment to your clients, opening the door for new opportunities.
In the case of many of these security standards and certifications, you’ll need continuous monitoring in order to be compliant. That is the case with SOC 2, ISO 27001, and more.
Keep in mind that continuous monitoring can also help you adhere to data security and privacy laws you may need to follow like the GDPR. Among other practices, these laws require that you promptly notify consumers and authorities about any data breaches. Continuous monitoring alerts you to breaches so you can better adhere to these laws.
How does continuous monitoring work?
There are numerous tools available for continuous monitoring and each one has its modalities and variations. Generally, though, a continuous monitoring tool is a piece of software you integrate with your data system.
That software runs consistent scans of your system against its knowledge base, allowing it to detect when a security control isn’t working the way it should, spot vulnerabilities, see signs of a potential data breach, and so on. It then collects data about its findings and reports those findings to you. If there is an issue, you’ll be able to use that information to resolve it.
Top continuous monitoring best practices
How can you get the most benefit from your continuous monitoring? Follow these essential best practices to make the most out of the tool you use.
Cover all digital assets
Make sure your continuous monitoring tools can access and evaluate all of your digital assets. That includes web apps and mobile apps, APIs, services, cloud infrastructure, code repositories, all connected devices, SSL certificates, and so on.
Connect your continuous monitoring with your compliance program
Continuous monitoring systems are designed to tell you when you have vulnerabilities. Not all of them will also directly tell you if you are missing security controls that you need for your security compliance. Choose a tool that does, like Vanta. Our tools can align with a wide variety of security standards and certifications to directly tell you which controls, if any, you’re missing based on the standard you are aiming for.
Supplement adept software with your own knowledge
Continuous monitoring software is an excellent tool, but that doesn’t mean it can handle your security on its own. It will identify risks and vulnerabilities, but only you or your team can actually fix those vulnerabilities. No matter how strong your software is, it’s important for your information security team to invest in ongoing education and staying up to date on the latest advancements in security.
Have a clear action protocol
If and when your continuous monitoring tool identifies vulnerabilities, what happens next? It’s important to have a clear plan in place for addressing these alerts. You need a protocol to assign ownership so someone is taking charge of the task, ensure that the issue is reported to leadership, and create an action plan for addressing the vulnerability as quickly as possible.
Finding the best continuous security monitoring tools
There are several options for continuous monitoring software available, each one with its pros and cons and specialties. To get the most benefit from your tool, choose a software that has an established reputation for excellence and reliability and one that can align with the security standards you need to follow.
Vanta proudly meets both of these criteria and is trusted for continuous monitoring and compliance by thousands of established companies. Get a customized Vanta demo and learn more about how this tool can revolutionize your security.
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PCI Compliance Selection Guide
Determine Your PCI Compliance Level
If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.
When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.
Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.
Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?
Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level
The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.
Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:
A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.
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A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.
Learn more about eCommerce PCI
A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.
Use our PCI checklist
A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).
Automate your ROC and AOC
Download this checklist for easy reference
Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.
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