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How to get started with Essential 8

Runecast enables you to learn more on Essential 8 Compliance and how it affects your organization.

Runecast Academy Series 2 – Part 3. How to get started with Essential 8

The Essential Eight (E8) security standard is a set of eight security controls that Australian organizations should implement to protect themselves from cyber threats. The Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) has developed eight prioritized mitigation strategies, known as the Essential Eight, to help cyber security professionals in all organizations mitigate cyber security incidents caused by various cyber threats. 

Compliance to Essential 8 is mandatory to all Australian non-corporate (federal) Commonwealth entities and also is highly recommended to other business organizations. If your security audit reveals that you are non-compliant, or your compliance is compromised, you can lose access and authorization to operate within these governmental networks. Although not mandatory, organizations that don’t operate in government networks can lose sensitive information and/or suffer reputational and financial loss. In order for organizations to know their security posture in the Essential 8 standard, The Essential Eight Maturity Model was published and updated regularly, supporting the implementation of the Essential Eight. When implementing the Essential Eight, organizations should identify a level from the Essential Eight maturity model, using a risk-based approach, that suits their requirements for a security framework. 

The maturity model has four levels and as stated by the ACSC, “Maturity Level Three will not stop adversaries that are willing and able to invest enough time, money and effort to compromise a target. As such, organizations still need to consider the remainder of the mitigation strategies from the Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents and the Information Security Manual.” Maturity levels are based on weaknesses which can be exploited by external threats.

Maturity Levels

Maturity level 0 

Exploitation of weaknesses which could compromise the confidentiality or integrity of systems and data.

Maturity level 1 

Exploitation of unpatched security vulnerabilities, or access to systems via stolen, reused, brute forced or guessed user credentials for the purpose of launching malicious applications. 

Maturity level 2 

Attackers use phishing and social engineering techniques to gain access through selective targeting of accounts with special privileges.

Maturity level 3

Attackers use cyber security posture weaknesses such as older software or inadequate logging and monitoring. Immediate use of exploits are employed as soon as they become public knowledge, multi-factor authentication is evaded by stealing authentication token values to impersonate a user, and privileged credentials or password hashes are used to

hide their digital footprint allowing free rein on environments. Mitigation strategies are detailed on the Essential Eight maturity model web page. 

Challenges to Essential 8 Compliance

Never-Ending Updates 

As technology is advancing, Essential 8 controls are constantly evolving and organizations must keep up-to-date with the latest changes to be compliant. Organizations will need to implement the latest versions of Essential 8 controls in order to be at the baseline security posture and this is a tremendous task that all mandated organizations face.  

Complex IT Environments

Different organizations use different IT environments and each of them has their specific requirements regarding security standards in general, and Essential 8 controls in particular. Implementing all eight controls in different environments is very challenging for all organizations. 

Lack of Resources

Implementing all eights controls and keeping up with all the updates in different environments requires a lot of resources such as IT assets, or facilities that will help analyze and monitor Essential 8 compliance posture. Also, implementing and updating Essential 8 controls requires specialized IT staff that would dedicate their time to just one security requirement, that is critical for a safe environment, but is not the only standard.


Real-time Security Analysis and Reports

Keeping up with the thousands of requirements of the modern technological world is not an easy task, and believe us we feel your pain. Therefore, Runecast has designed a solution to move fast in a secure environment. No matter how complex the requirements for your environment are and how scarce the solutions are becoming, we have a solution that fixes all your troubles: Runecast. It provides you with an automated solution to your manual work, by scanning your systems’ configurations in real-time and showing you recommendations (Best Practices), fit-gap analysis reports and security hardening checks. Not only can you see your system vulnerabilities, but you can also remediate with simple actions. Also, you can easily filter and sort issues and compare historical configuration.

Runecast automates your vulnerability management and security standards compliance audits for AWS, Azure, Kubernetes and VMware, as well as for Windows and Linux OS. It proactively assists with Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM), and Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC). It provides continuous audits against other common security standards such as CIS Benchmarks, NIST, HIPAA, PCI DSS, DISA STIG, BSI IT-Grundschutz, ISO 27001, GDPR, Cyber Essentials (UK), and the CISA KEVs catalog.


As its name suggests, compliance to Essential 8 is essential to all Australian federal organizations and highly recommended to other organizations that could be subject to cyber attacks. Considering the heavy burden that weighs upon organizations back, we designed Runecast, a simple solution to carry your load for you. No matter how the modern technological world changes, how complex IT systems become or how short you are on IT assets, you will overcome these obstacles with Runecast. It automates your manual work and gives you up-to-date solutions and best practices to keep your environment safe and compliant with any controls released. Now, not only it comes to you with security standard compliance analysis and reports, but also with vulnerability management functionality, remediation scripts to fix your security issues, configuration vault to monitor the changes in your infrastructure between analysis, vSphere upgrade simulation and hardware compatibility analysis of your vSphere environment.

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Runecast Solutions Ltd. is a leading global provider of a patented solution for IT Security and Operations teams. Forward-focused enterprises like Avast, DocuSign, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) rely on Runecast for proactive risk mitigation, security compliance, operational efficiency and mission-critical stability. Headquartered in London, U.K., Runecast is a Gartner Cool Vendor and has won Computing awards for Cloud Security Product of the Year and Best Place to Work in Digital.

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