Power of Integration: Cyber Risk Automation with Real-world Security Tool Examples

August 1, 2023
min read


The key to achieving robust cyber risk management lies in the seamless integration of various cybersecurity tools and platforms. By harnessing the power of integration adaptors, organizations can establish a comprehensive ecosystem that enables continuous monitoring and enhances their cybersecurity risk management. This blog will delve into the details of integration, with a specific focus on Vulnerability Management systems like Microsoft Defender. We will explore how integrating Microsoft Defender with your cyber risk automation platform can unlock a wealth of benefits, bolstering your organization's ability to manage cyber risks effectively.

The Importance of Integration in Cyber Risk Automation

Achieving comprehensive visibility of cybersecurity controls is crucial for organizations to effectively manage and mitigate cyber risks. Alfahive's cyber risk automation platform, RiskNest, plays a pivotal role in helping organizations embark on this transformative journey. By seamlessly integrating with various cybersecurity tools and systems, RiskNest enables organizations to unlock key benefits and milestones on their path to comprehensive visibility.

Here are some essential aspects facilitated by the integration capabilities of RiskNest:

  1. Continuous Monitoring: RiskNest automates the monitoring of control effectiveness, ensuring that organizations have real-time insights into their cybersecurity posture. It collects and analyzes data based on defined metrics, enabling proactive risk management.
  2. Thresholds and Alerts: RiskNest goes beyond simple threshold alerts by analyzing the trend of approaching thresholds over time. This provides organizations with a deeper understanding of patterns and potential risks from multiple directions.
  3. Reporting: The integration adaptors in RiskNest empower organizations to generate automated reports on any schedule needs. These reports offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls, facilitating informed decision-making.
  4. Tuning: RiskNest guides organizations through periodic review and adjustment of automation settings. Organizations can fine-tune the system based on changes in the threat landscape, business needs, or regulatory requirements, ensuring continuous alignment with evolving cybersecurity demands.

    By leveraging the integration capabilities of RiskNest, organizations can proactively manage their cyber risks, enhance their cybersecurity posture, and stay ahead of emerging threats.

The Metrics

Metrics provide valuable insights into the performance and effectiveness of controls, guiding organizations on the necessary actions to enhance their cybersecurity posture. Even with automated processes in place, it is essential for you and your team to regularly review these metrics and take proactive steps to improve control quality when needed. Alfahive's advanced automation capabilities further facilitate this process by providing clarity on the next course of action, whether it involves fine-tuning controls, iterating metrics, or refining data collection methods.

It is crucial to recognize that while automation brings significant efficiencies to continuous control monitoring, it should not replace human judgment and oversight. Human involvement remains essential for reviewing and interpreting the results generated by any automated system. By combining the power of automation with human expertise, organizations can optimize their cyber risk management efforts and ensure a holistic approach to cybersecurity.

A Simple Example

The maturity score for CIS Control 18.3, which focuses on "Remediating Penetration Test Findings," is determined based on the severity of reported vulnerabilities and their aging. This critical information is typically available through Application security testing tools like Qualys, Nessus, and others. The maturity scale for this control ranges from 0 to 5, with 0 denoting the lowest maturity level. The following table outlines the approach to assess the maturity of Control 18.3, enabling organizations to gauge their cybersecurity readiness effectively.  

The Weightage, Threshold, and Age parameters are tailored to align with the specific targets and goals of each enterprise. When the number of vulnerabilities surpasses the threshold for any severity level within the aging window, the control's maturity is rated as zero, indicating an area requiring immediate attention. Conversely, if the number of vulnerabilities falls within the specified threshold and aging window, the maturity score is calculated using a weighted average formula that considers scores for vulnerabilities across all severity levels.

In this case, the metrics derived are listed below,

  1. The number of vulnerabilities that have exceeded the threshold across all severities.
  2. The number of vulnerabilities within the thresholds across all severities.

    Rules are executed on these metrics to eventually derive control maturity scores.  

A Complex Example

While the previous example demonstrated a straightforward case, real-world scenarios often involve extracting data from multiple systems to assess the maturity of a single control effectively. Consider the scenario of determining the control maturity score for CIS Control 3.11 "Encrypt Sensitive Data at Rest" in an application that utilizes both Mongo Atlas Database and Azure Blob Store for data storage. In this instance, the following key metrics are essential in determining the control maturity score:

  1. Is Data encrypted at rest in the Mongo Atlas database (Connector to Mongo Atlas API’s)
  2. Is Data encrypted at rest in the Azure Blob Store (Connector to Azure Defender or Azure Storage API’s)

    The table listed below indicates the metric and their weightage which is configurable,

If the scope of the assessment is increased to automate the control assessment for a larger scope, say for example, a critical application, it will require a lot more integrators feeding into a lot more metrics and hence more control automation. The diagram listed below lists the components required in automating control maturity scores.

Components required in automating Control Maturity Scores

When integrating with API’s care must be taken to  

  1. Extract only data that is required if the API allows the ability to specify the attributes in the response.
  2. Ensure critical information in the API response (Ex: IP Address, domain name etc) are encrypted and never stored in plain text if the API does not have the ability to return select fields.
  3. Be wary of the amount of data consumed as some API’s can return a lot of data.
  4. Build integrations in such a way that data can be queried at an enterprise level or for a specific application. Basically, the integration must support various scopes.


Cyber risk automation platforms, like Alfahive, bring together various security tools and technologies to create a cohesive and comprehensive cybersecurity ecosystem. This integration empowers organizations to harness the full potential of their security solutions, providing them with a holistic view of their cyber risk posture.

With the ability to collect and analyze data from diverse sources, cyber risk automation platforms enable organizations to generate actionable insights, identify risks, and prioritize their mitigation efforts effectively. The use of advanced technologies, such as machine learning and AI, further enhances the automation capabilities, driving the accuracy and speed of risk assessments.

The power of integration lies in its ability to bridge gaps, create synergy, and ensure that organizations can effectively address cyber risks with agility and confidence. As the cyber risk landscape continues to evolve, embracing integration and automation becomes a strategic imperative for every organization committed to staying ahead of the curve and safeguarding their digital assets.

Making the switch to automated
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Michael Rasmussen
The GRC Pundit & Analyst
24th May
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Michael Rasmussen
The GRC Pundit & Analyst
16th March 2023
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