Optimizing Risk Prioritization in Vulnerability Management

By Guest Blogger, Mauricio Chede, Senior Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan

Fear of being the next company in the headlines for a massive data breach should motivate business and organization leaders to increase their investments in cyber security, but like insurance, always seems more expensive than it should be—until there is an accident.

Vulnerabilities can be defined as errors or weaknesses within a software program that enables an unauthorized user to access sensitive data, gain control or deny access to authorized users. Nearly all devices and systems will have some vulnerability in their code.

Security is the price companies have to pay to do business in the XXI century and budgets are finite. Companies are always questioning themselves about which security tools should they invest in first, and in regard to vulnerability management, the question is always to patch or not to patch? Not all vulnerabilities need to be patched. If there is not a tool to exploit the vulnerability, there isn’t an immediate need to fix it. But the most critical ones for your environment need immediate action, making vulnerability prioritization important. Security teams should know which vulnerability should be addressed first, thus saving time and limited budget.

Questions about how to set priorities are very common. A vulnerability management platform should provide a picture of a client’s security posture correlating the assets of the client organization and classifying their importance with the vulnerabilities identified in the scan. For this mission, the incorporation of threat intelligence improves visibility of the threat environment and increases detection rates. Intelligence gathered through the investigation of security events provides useful data in responding to and mitigating threats and in analyzing attack behaviors.


Steps for Risk Prioritization


Visibility of your assets:
Aside from the fact that it is necessary to understand how relevant each network asset is, visibility is essential. If you don’t know what is on your network, you will never be able to protect what is important. Also it is necessary to follow company policies for asset prioritization.

Metrics designed for your organization:
It is necessary to provide a clear, easy to understand picture of your organization’s security posture, providing ratings that reflect improvements when the necessary remediation is provided and that also correlates the risk of identified vulnerabilities and the level of importance of the asset.

Threat Intelligence and Vulnerability Intelligence:
Threat intelligence improves visibility of the threat environment and improves detection rates while vulnerability intelligence such as Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) are public catalogs that maintain information about new vulnerabilities, capture their characteristics, and produce numerical scores. The main Vulnerability Management Platforms are able to provide enterprise customers the incorporation of external threat intelligence, vulnerability intelligence, and customized reports for the security team.

Following these steps, companies will be able to identify and remediate threats at the earliest stage, minimizing the chances of data breaches that negatively impact digital trust and bottom line revenue.

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