Discovering where an organization is most vulnerable must not only be a security priority but a key part of the overall cybersecurity program. Attackers are always on the hunt for easy access points, attempting to exploit old vulnerabilities and a lot of the time they are successful.
Given the ever-changing threat landscape and the weekly emergence of new vulnerabilities, the ability to continuously identify threats and monitor unexpected changes in an organization’s network is critical.
As we continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, attackers continue to target remote work technology and endpoints. In the second quarter of the year, exploit activity increased by 13% and over two million exploits were detected per week.
The changing nature of malicious actors and their adaptability are reasons why most organizations should be more than willing to invest in vulnerability scanning solutions to gain immediate global visibility into all assets and vulnerabilities.
Historically, threat and vulnerability management (TVM) was a mere clinical practice that looked at vulnerability scanning results, threat intelligence and firewall reviews, but this practice left organizations with unintegrated platforms that couldn’t operationalize findings to fill potential security gaps.
Vulnerability management services (VMS), on the other hand, have evolved, advancing threat management capabilities to address today’s needs. Modern VMS solutions provide businesses with comprehensive security procedures that identify, prioritize and reduce vulnerability exposure across security and network environments through an orderly, systematic and data-driven approach.
The striking difference is clear between VMS and TVM-VMS comes with a wider range of options including weekly to monthly vulnerability scans, asset management, compliance assistance and on-demand scanning, threat analysis and risk scoring.
VMS is essential to run alongside security tactics to prioritize possible threats and minimize attack surfaces while helping CISO address and management of the biggest concerns today is “risk”. It also helps organizations prioritize and operate as an extension of their team while applying current best practices to drive efficiencies and enable prioritization.
What are the Top Best Practices?
Cyber-criminals can rapidly adapt their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), creating new challenges for all organizations. To combat this, organizations should create a thorough vulnerability management strategy, enacting these three top best practices:
1 – Focus on visibility. Organizations cannot adequately protect themselves if they cannot see their entire attack surface. Dashboards are vital to obtaining complete visibility into the perimeter and identifying assets and potential weaknesses. Cloud-based platforms equipped with customizable dashboards takes this a step further, enabling organizations to prioritize critical assets, automate processes and monitor for threats in real-time.
When selecting tools for the security stack, it is important to look for providers that integrate their capabilities with multiple technologies to help quickly identify all known and unknown assets and security gaps. Many endpoint solutions don’t interface well with each other and can leave devices unidentified and assets misclassified and unprioritized, which can result in patches not being fully applied.
Another differentiator to look for in solution providers is finding one that offers further visibility into the inter-workings of the vulnerability management platform. Finally, for complete visibility, make sure you have technology in place that can automatically detect threats from everywhere.
Always choose your partners carefully and ensure they are able to meet your specific needs, meet the same cybersecurity standards as you and tailoring services for your unique challenges.
2 – Leverage the latest techniques such as detection and response to drive the reduction of risk. Detecting vulnerabilities requires more than just ‘any’ technology. Threat actors evolve their TTPs, so the technology used to detect attackers must be able to keep up with that evolution.
Technology should outmatch the attackers’ and be able to go beyond standard detection with no additional configurations on the organization’s part. As you select the most appropriate technology, make sure you can pinpoint your most critical assets and prioritize the remediation effort.
One great way to identify risks are risk/attack simulators, even if there is more than one risk on an endpoint. Automation can also help streamline the repetitive work that is done before the decision-making stage.
3 – Detect in real-time. Timing is key when it comes to cybersecurity, which is why a proactive approach is so important. Organizations must be able to collect real-time intelligence to be able to identify security changes or irregularities, prioritize and move quickly on the largest risks. VMS doesn’t automatically detect the latest superseding patch gap of a vulnerable asset, but easily deploys corrective actions for remediation. By delivering all this in a single app workflow, VMS can automate the entire process and significantly accelerate an organization’s ability to respond to threats, thus preventing possible exploitation.
From cross-platform visibility and views of applications and running processes, to the ability to scrutinize encrypted traffic, real-time detection allows organizations to uncover internal and external actionable information that can help detect threats before any real damage is done or counter attacks when those are undergoing.
There are more vulnerabilities in today’s unprecedented threat landscape than ever before. Inconsistencies and gaps in a cybersecurity program create more opportunity for threat actors to compromise your organization and can ultimately drive you out of business.
Organizations best approach to thwarting cyber threats is to consolidate network, security and compliance into a single platform, to be accessed anywhere, anytime, from any device. If the budget isn’t available for all the bells and whistles or the security team is lean, one options to consider is hiring a managed security services provider (MSSP) to run all or part of your security program. Regardless of the approach, modernizing your vulnerability management program should be a high priority for a holistic security strategy.