Avoiding Security Misconfigurations Through Extended Security Posture Management

Last updated: August 17, 2023 Reading time: 5 minutes
Avoiding Security Misconfigurations

Cybersecurity teams have the unenviable task of ensuring the security of the organization. This responsibility is never easy, and providing protection can be complicated. Among the many duties of the cybersecurity team is ensuring that the security measures implemented in the enterprise are working perfectly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

Sometimes, these measures will be misconfigured, mainly because of many factors. And this is where the problem begins.

Security misconfigurations are one of the most prevalent security issues organizations encounter. 82 percent of susceptible breaches in organizations can be attributed to a misconfigured security setting. 

The issue of security misconfigurations can usually be mitigated by implementing comprehensive security posture management (XSPM). This security platform has been specifically designed to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the organization, including security misconfigurations. The good thing about comprehensive security posture management is that it has been designed to continue to monitor the infrastructure for any security weaknesses or vulnerabilities that may come up. And since XSPM has new capabilities to perform these tasks, it can scale quickly to any organization and is highly effective, too.

Security misconfigurations: Why do they occur?

As organizations build their IT infrastructure and develop their network, features, and applications will be added to the total IT complement. This is compounded by many organizations beginning to rely heavily on the cloud for data storage or web applications.

These would require configurations to enable everything to work well together and seamlessly. Because of these factors, configurations have grown significantly—one that could potentially overwhelm cybersecurity teams. Imagine one new service would require its own set of configurations to work well within the network. You then need additional configurations for employees to gain permission and access. Each configuration step will net impact the network, affecting the organization’s security posture.

The complexity of the configurations will also mean one thing—the human factor can come into play. Human error could happen with so many configurations that have to be performed. A mistake such as providing permission to access a particular port instead of closing it will spell the difference between a secure network and one with a backdoor that cybercriminals can exploit.

Conflicts in configurations could also be classified as misconfiguration. It is the responsibility of cybersecurity teams to determine how well each application or service plays with each other. Overlooking how different services or applications interact with each other can happen. Conflicting permissions or configurations could result in vulnerabilities in the network.

XPSM and mitigating misconfiguration impact

We’ve seen how security misconfigurations can hurt an organization’s security by allowing cybercriminals a pathway that can be exploited to mount an attack on an organization.

But how can extended security posture management address security misconfigurations? It does this by providing visibility to the organization’s IT infrastructure, allowing the cybersecurity team to become more aware of how the network performs, its vulnerabilities, and continuous monitoring of the network itself.

Extended security posture management can perform its functions by implementing these specific processes.

Scan for vulnerabilities

XPSM has Attack Surface Management tools designed to scan for vulnerabilities that may reside in IP addresses, ports, domains, sub-domains, and other assets. These ASM tools also work hand in hand with Open-Source Intelligence, which could be employed in mounting a phishing attack or a social engineering attack.

Another tool that is used for vulnerability scanning is Vulnerability Prioritization Technology. When these three tools work in unison, it helps cybersecurity teams identify vulnerabilities and prioritize which vulnerabilities should be mitigated first. This results in a shorter remediation process.

Red teaming 

Another tool XPSM uses is Continuous Automated Red Teaming or CART, which provides a way for the cybersecurity teams to implement a continuous and sustained series of attempts to gain access to the organization’s network. The CART tools study the identified vulnerabilities and then deploy attack campaigns to penetrate the network.

Suppose this simulated attack becomes successful and gains access to the network. In that case, it will propagate in the organization’s network to look for critical data or assets, usually in a phishing email.

Breach and attack simulation

XPSM also employs Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) to perform simulated cyber-attacks and then uses this to compare the findings to existing security controls. A list of mitigation advice is then provided afterward. BAS tools are one of the main tools of blue teams when performing security control optimization.

Purple teaming

The Advanced Purple Teaming Framework of XPSM builds on the capabilities of BAS by creating and automating various custom attack scenarios.

These advanced custom scenarios are based on the MITRE ATTT&CK framework. This is a knowledge base of known adversary tactics and techniques based on the actual tactics used by threat actors. The Advanced Purple Teaming Framework creates custom attack scenarios that help check the effectiveness of incident response playbooks, hunt for threats, and automate security assurance procedures. It is also used to assess the health of the network. 


Security misconfigurations occur with an alarming frequency across organizations all over the world. These misconfigurations need to be identified and fixed to provide adequate network security. Extended Security Posture Management provides all of the necessary tools to validate the organization’s cyber security posture robustly and exhaustively. XPSM, when deployed in an organization’s network, helps detect and identify vulnerabilities, along with security misconfigurations.

Organizations that are very conscious about their security posture should seriously consider giving cybersecurity teams one of the newest tools that help combat cyber threats while also providing the ability to increase their security posture.

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About the Author

Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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