How to Make Smarter Decisions in Vulnerability Management

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Last Updated on 27 June 2022 by admin

Cybersecurity involves a host of complex problems, covering a broad attack surface. So, how can you take control of your risk and vulnerability management?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we want to say that you’re not alone in facing the security challenge. 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing [1]. Coupled with that, vulnerability management has become a central pillar of cyber security.

What is the attack surface of your network?

The attack surface of your network is the total number of vulnerabilities where an attacker can gain access. The most basic form of security is to keep your attack surface as small as possible, but that’s not practical for most organizations. Particularly, those going through periods of growth.

On a typical day, the average organization has millions of potential vulnerabilities to manage, with more and more being added. Small businesses are also at risk, so don’t get complacent if you’re not one of the big guys.

Unsecure systems are a common problem due to the complicated nature of IT security. Datacentre weakness and human error make for a heady cocktail of options that hackers are ready to attack. Since 2014, security breaches have risen by 67%. In the last year alone, its grown by 11% [2]. The consequences of not addressing security vulnerabilities, or simply relying on vulnerability management tools to protect your business may come at a hefty price later down the line.

When you take all of this into account, it’s easy to see that manually compiling, analyzing, and prioritizing each vulnerability is a near-impossible task. There’s just too much data coming in and too many possible threats to handle. A single unpatched vulnerability is all that’s needed to be found by a hacker and your organization is making headline news.

WannaCry is probably the highest-profile example of a vulnerability attack [3]. It took advantage of the way Windows implemented the Server Message Block – SMB – protocol, which helped network nodes talk to each other. Microsoft’s implementation could be tricked into executing malicious code by bespoke data packets that executed random code. The WannaCry attack was incredibly potent with computers affected from each corner of the globe, including the UK’s National Health Service. Data was encrypted and held to ransom.

Vulnerability management process

The vulnerability management process usually involves these steps:

  1. Network mapping: Vulnerability scanners map your network, finding all of your devices and systems.
  2. Asset discovery: Vulnerability scanners check your assets, including their configuration, operating system, and software versions.
  3. Vulnerability scanning: The vulnerability scanner uses various scanning techniques to identify vulnerabilities in your assets.
  4. Asset prioritization: Prioritizing assets based on their risk.
  5. Asset remediation: Once you’ve identified the potential vulnerabilities, you can remediate them.

Selecting and using the right vulnerability management solutions will improve your security posture and ensure critical assets in your organization remain safe and secure.

Expensive and time-consuming security solutions

The conventional vulnerability management solution to tackle IT security is through the castle model. Named after the image of a castle and its moat. The moat offers perimeter security, which protects the castle from attackers. The vulnerability management cycle and structure in an IT setup consists of a heavily fortified network, armed with firewalls, proxy servers, honeypots and other tools. The castle is the network and data you’re protecting from malicious attacks.

Entry and exit points to the network are protected by verifying the data packets and identity of users that enter and leave your network. If you pass these perimeter checks, you are deemed relatively safe and can go about your business. In a world that should be cybersecurity first, that feels like an approach that is no longer viable. IT security is also traditionally seen as a numbers game, where tools such as the Common Vulnerability Scoring System – CVSS – are used to prioritize work.

This old-school approach focussed on the more vulnerabilities closed, the better. All in the hope that the right problem has been fixed. But, in reality, there are too many problems to keep on top of and only so much that’s humanly possible. Which makes it an impractical way to work and the word traditional should never apply to IT security.

So, how can you proactively protect your network and data? How can you prioritize your work to make your network is more secure? A vulnerability management program would be the first step towards ensuring the security of your business.

Time for a cyber security upgrade?

We need to be looking towards the latest and most effective cybersecurity solution – round-the-clock, 24/7 vulnerability management. Where CVSS scores are automatically calculated and threats aren’t detected by hand. The system used must be able to efficiently track vulnerability data.

By shifting your approach to a vulnerability management platform, you’re being proactive, rather than reactive. You’re putting yourself on the front foot and playing offensive, rather than defensive.

Not only that, you’re playing the Princeton Offense of the cybersecurity world. Any good basketball fan will tell you that the Princeton Offense is all about constant motion, looking for pickups, and disciplined teamwork.

24/7 vulnerability management does that for your network and your data. It’s constantly looking for threats and working with you to fix them.

With the castle model, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and there aren’t enough trained security professionals. Plus, their wages are a large expense to add to your bottom line.

The simple truth of traditional cybersecurity is that organizations don’t have the budget to arm themselves sufficiently. 24/7 vulnerability management through a dedicated platform gives you an affordable solution. One that gives you an immediate – and regularly updated – level of expertise around your network.

Which means you can be laser-focused with your security budget. Spending it where it matters.

It’s also fast becoming a legal and regulatory necessity to have a security platform connected to your assets. These legislations include:

  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
  • NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation
  • New York SHIELD Act
  • The Privacy Shield Framework
  • HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • NIS Directive
  • NCSC CAF

Make smarter, faster decisions with Informer

The holy grail for cybersecurity and vulnerability management is to know what hackers will do before they do it. This is where Informer steps in and makes the invisible visible through human x machine intelligence – the future of vulnerability management.

Informer offers the unique benefits of combining live asset discovery, vulnerability scanning, and expert pen testing in a single frictionless platform.

With a real-time view of your known, and unknown, assets and vulnerabilities, Informer alert you to weaknesses the moment they arise. The faster Informer finds problems, the faster you can fix them.

Informer does this by connecting to your assets and continuously checking for vulnerabilities. Key features include:

  1. Dynamic asset discovery reveals all of your live assets, keeping the focus on real not perceived risk
  2. Pick up vulnerabilities as they are introduced at the web application and infrastructure level
  3. Be alerted to future issues before they escalate into serious risks

With further features, like instant scoping, on-demand testing, real-time reporting, and integrated ticketing, Informer effortlessly bypasses all the resourcing bottlenecks.

  • No more waiting on expensive test reports: auto-generation can save 30% on total pen test costs
  • Keep on top of expenditure with the online billing tracker
  • Nothing to install: cloud technology lets you easily scale your level of service up and down

Summary

Cybersecurity involves a host of complex problems. To take control of your risk and vulnerability management, you need a smarter, more efficient way to identify and resolve vulnerabilities.

Informer uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to make smarter, faster decisions. It provides real-time controls and visibility, automated remediation, and end-to-end integration.

In other words, Informer helps you detect and fix vulnerabilities more quickly, saving time and resources and potentially, financial penalties.

Sign up for your Informer demo today and see how your organization will benefit.

[1] accenture.com

[2] accenture.com

[3] support.eset.com