The Ins and Outs of Cybersecurity Posture Assessment in 2024

June 26, 2024  |  David Balaban

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Whether you're working with on-premises infrastructure, fully embracing the cloud, or running a hybrid solution, one thing is certain: a robust security posture is essential to safeguarding the environment. This article will explore today’s fundamentals of security posture assessment in both on-premises and cloud environments while briefly touching on the added complexities a hybrid setup will entail.

What Is Security Posture Assessment?

Before going any further, it is good to understand what security posture assessment really is and why knowing your security posture is essential to every organization. In short, a security posture assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of the currently utilized security measures safeguarding essential organizational data, processes to prevent breaches, and decisions to maintain business continuity. Any company should have a comprehensive assessment of its environment conducted at least annually.

These assessments are used to identify vulnerabilities in processes and systems, point out areas for improvement, and comprehensively assess the overall resiliency of the organization’s entire IT ecosystem. The main goal is to fully understand the current security level and be able to take the necessary steps to remediate possible issues.

Assessing On-Premises Security

With on-premises system management, all the responsibility falls on the local IT team, so they need to have a comprehensive view of the currently deployed hardware and software to be able to successfully secure both. Let’s go over the components of such an exercise:

Asset inventory: It is imperative to know the total scope of the organization's assets, including workstations, mobile devices, servers, network equipment, and all the software applications in use. This helps pinpoint outdated assets that either need to be removed from the environment or brought up-to-date with hardware or software upgrades.

Patch management: New software vulnerabilities are being constantly unearthed, so prompt software updating and comprehensive patch management are instrumental in every environment. While it is a good idea to verify the stability of new updates first, automated patch management tools can help streamline this process.

Network segmentation: Adversaries are always looking for opportunities for lateral movement in a network, so the isolation of systems and processes through network segmentation is an important step in limiting the potential damage a breach can cause.

All in all, the evaluation of on-premises security requires an all-around review of the physical and digital protections within the organization’s data centers. This additionally includes vetting firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and access controls to thwart unauthorized access. Regular security audits and penetration tests are crucial to identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be weaponized.

Assessing Cloud Security

Working with cloud-based solutions keeps growing in popularity, since it effectively outsources the underlying hardware management to the cloud service provider, lessening the burden on the local IT team.

This isn't to say that there is no work to be done, and in some cases, using cloud-based systems will introduce additional potential security concerns. According to Gartner Research, the cloud security posture management market is forecast to increase to $3.32 billion by 2027, up from $1.06 billion as of 2022.

It is clear that with the growth, the potential for attacks and, as such, the demand for defensive action is also increasing. Here are the pillars of a security assessment centered around an organization’s cloud footprint:

Cloud asset inventory: Just like with on-premises environments, it is crucial to be aware of all the cloud assets, whether those are virtual machines, hosted databases, or any other similar services. Thankfully, any cloud service provider worth its salt offers cloud-native tools for inventory management.

Configuration management: Misconfigurations of cloud assets are a very common catalyst for security breaches, and it tends to be easy to overlook some settings that can have a large impact on the overall security of the environment. Once again, cloud service providers offer Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tools to help automate these checks.

Compliance frameworks: While compliance is an integral part of any environment, things can get even more complicated with cloud deployments. While with on-premises infrastructure, all assets and data reside in a specific geographic location, the cloud gives them the ability to spread across continents. While this is definitely a great thing in some instances, it is important to remember that compliance frameworks such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS may put a lot of restrictions on where and how such deployments can be utilized.

As cloud adoption grows, prioritizing enterprise cloud security becomes essential to maintaining trust and operational integrity. It is also important to have a plan B in place for a worst-case scenario. A robust incident response plan can help organizations quickly detect and mitigate breaches, thereby shielding sensitive corporate data.

Assessing Hybrid Environments

Both on-premises and cloud environments have their pros and cons, and many organizations opt to leverage the best of both worlds by utilizing a hybrid environment. While there are many benefits to this approach, it also means that now the IT team has two very different environments to manage and monitor.

An OpsCompass study from 2021 found that 91% of organizations were working with multi- or hybrid-cloud environments, and nearly half of them have concerns with visibility, configuration drift, and other multi-environment difficulties. Here is the lowdown on the ways to tackle these nontrivial challenges:

Security baselines: With the two environments working in tandem, it is important to make sure that they both follow the same security procedures and baselines. These baselines and processes should be clearly documented, reviewed, and updated regularly to make sure that they align with current industry standards and regulatory requirements.

Security vulnerabilities via integration complexity: The seamless connectivity requirements between multiple environments happen over APIs, connectors, and other middleware, which adds a new potential attack vector that needs to be accounted for. A diverse technology stack that is constantly being updated can have parts that are easily forgotten unless appropriate procedures for asset and inventory monitoring are followed.

Bridging the gap: Unified asset and operations management makes it easier for IT teams to maintain multiple environments with a single set of tools and processes to ensure a common set of governance and operations management practices. In addition, the automation of repetitive tasks across the whole hybrid environment can lead to better management efficiency and an overall increase in security due to reduced human error.

Enterprises must ensure seamless security measures across both on-premises and cloud platforms. In addition to the areas above, this spans unified identity and access management, data encryption, and consistent monitoring.


Regardless of whether you are managing an on-premises, full-cloud, or hybrid environment, the security of the overall infrastructure is of utmost importance. While at times it might feel that finding and patching security vulnerabilities and tracking asset inventory is difficult, in today's business environments, these are not mere pieces of computer equipment; they are the whole lifeblood of the company.

It is also worth remembering that organizations can seek to employ service providers that excel in security posture management and remediation to make sure that they are following all the best practices and staying compliant in the rapidly changing threat landscape.

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