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While preventative security controls are an important piece to your overall layered security strategy, they are not enough to mitigate risk and decrease the likelihood of your systems being compromised by a data breach. With preventative security controls in place, you also need to deploy detective security controls. Detective security controls enable you to constantly monitor and review controls to ensure they are working properly and providing effective security. They also give you the information you need to take appropriate action if your security controls fail.

The following are 6 detective security controls that your business should implement to monitor, review, and detect system changes and potential security breaches.

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1.  Change Control

Unplanned system changes can increase the risk of vulnerabilities, and if gone unnoticed, these vulnerabilities could be exploited. When making changes to systems, it’s critical to make sure those changes are managed and planned so their impact can be minimized and any adverse effects on security can be quickly spotted and remediated. Actively monitoring for unauthorized changes on systems also enables you to quickly identify any potential weaknesses or threats.

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2.  Vulnerability Management 

Regularly testing security controls for vulnerabilities is critical to making sure your systems are secure. Vulnerabilities can exist in places such as software, system configuration, process, or human layers. Being able to quickly identify which vulnerabilities exist allows you to take appropriate action to address and remediate them.

3.  Incident Alerting

Having the tools in place to enable you to identify and be alerted of suspicious activity in a timely, informed manner ensures that you can deploy the best course of action to solve any issues. Being able to respond to suspected security breaches in a timely and informed manner helps minimize the threat’s impact on your business. 

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4.  Log Monitoring

Log files generated by applications, operating systems, and network devices contain valuable information that can help secure your systems and identify how any threat may have gotten through your systems. These files contain information that helps you identify what happened on a system, who did it, when it happened, and where it occurred. By monitoring log files for unusual entries or other security events, you can quickly alert the appropriate personnel, so they can respond quickly and appropriately to the security breach.

5.  Security Configuration Management

It’s likely you have designed and implemented security configurations for your systems and applications, so it’s important to actively manage those configurations. Having effective security management means that any new systems or applications that are added to the IT infrastructure can be quickly secured at appropriate levels. System changes can also be quickly recognized, which enables you to immediately apply the appropriate security configurations to maintain high levels of security in your systems.

6.  File Integrity Monitoring

Being aware of changes that have been made to critical files can help you identify if these files are being maliciously modified. Regularly monitoring the integrity of critical files allows you to spot when your system security may have been compromised. 

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It’s important to understand that no single layer of security will ensure that your business has the appropriate level of security to identify and remediate potential threats. To eliminate as many vulnerabilities as possible and to keep your business’s systems and network optimally secure, you need to deploy both preventative and detective security controls.