Win at Remediation with Quality over Quantity

By Digital Defense Inc.

Managing Vulnerabilities Effectively Requires a Quality Over Quantity Mindset

Business networks will always play host to a number of vulnerabilities. Factor in the current proliferation of endpoints and growing network complexity and you have a list of vulnerabilities that is growing exponentially. The number of reported vulnerabilities has continuously increased over the last 4 years (17, 447 in 2020*). IT security teams cannot – and should not – remediate every single one. That is a futile pursuit with few dividends.

So, while it behooves your IT security team to accept vulnerabilities as a constant, they cannot – and should not -- accept being vulnerable. The two ideas might seem mutually exclusive but hear me out:  Not all “vulnerabilities” make a company’s system truly vulnerable. I would dare say that even some of those labeled “critical”  by CVSS standards still might not pose the greatest risk to an individual organization.

For IT security teams with limited resources (which includes most everyone),  this is an important factor to consider. Many companies run vulnerability scans or assessments and wind up with pages of vulnerabilities, knowing they can barely scratch the surface of just the batch labeled critical. Vulnerabilities classified as critical or higher rose more than 55% in 2019**.

Intelligent Remediation

So what is the time-tested key to winning a battle when you are clearly outnumbered? Strategy. No spray-and-pray approach to vulnerability remediation is going to yield success. Organizations must adopt a strategy of intelligent prioritization. That means using criteria specific to the organization to identify the types of vulnerabilities that can cause the most damage. In other words, apply risk context to accelerate effective remediation.

View this webcast hosted by our partner Avertium: Scaling Remediation in the Face of Competing Priorities

When defining remediation priorities, context is crucial. You must understand the type of vulnerability,  where it exists within your network,  and what business-critical assets could be affected by a breach in that area. Add to that an understanding of whether or not these vulnerabilities are typically exploited out in the wild and you have a solid prioritization method.

Vulnerability Management is Vital

Modern vulnerability management tools make it easy to assemble this intelligent resolution criteria, so your team can focus on the impact of the remediation tasks vs. the shear number of them being completed. That’s why VM is such a crucial component of any security program.  It provides direction for your stack, so that you aren’t spinning your wheels or wasting resources. The right VM solution will also integrate easily with other tools in your stack, to further expedite and streamline impactful assessment and remediation.

Learn more about our latest integration with Palo Alto Cortex XSOAR

The act of crossing items off of a remediation task list won’t necessarily protect your organization. If you really want to move the needle, you’ve got to choose the items that will have the biggest impact and address them vigorously. 

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