Enterprises continuously need to address the heightened risks to their cybersecurity. With digital transformation progressing at the speed of light, cyber threat actors are taking advantage of the increased threat exposure with new threat vectors opening across enterprise networks. Research shows that in the US alone, there was a 34% increase in phishing attack victims in 2021. Despite continued reliance on legacy tools, malware attacks and data breaches continue to accelerate, taking advantage of vulnerabilities across networks.
Vulnerability Management is an effective strategy that allows enterprises to proactively protect themselves against unauthorized access and cybersecurity events. Let’s take a closer look at how you can better shield your business from unwarranted security breaches.
What is Vulnerability Management?
Simply put, Vulnerability Management uses pre-emptive measures to highlight and fix the security vulnerabilities in the enterprise, both on-premise and in the cloud. With both threats and technology environments becoming more sophisticated, sticking to firewalls and basic antivirus software is not an option. Meanwhile, large-scale data breaches keep increasing in number and intensity, leaving security teams to struggle with the evolving threat landscape. Mature solutions can detect vulnerabilities, determine appropriate fixes, and continue to address ongoing issues.
A Vulnerability Management solution creates complex assessment frameworks that prioritize security incidents and remediation based on potential impacts to the enterprise. It will:
– Identify vulnerabilities : Analyze network scans, firewall logs, penetration test results, and scan results to find anomalies that point to vulnerabilities prone cyber-attacks
– Verify vulnerabilities : Classify an identified vulnerability on the basis of its severity and risk levels
– Mitigate vulnerabilities : Develop suitable ways to measure their effectiveness
– Rectify vulnerabilities : Update impacted assets wherever possible
Why is it better for IT security
Essentially, you will be able proactively address vulnerabilities before they are targeted by cybercriminals, thus enhancing the security posture of the enterprise through continual discovery and remediation. Ineffective threat management results in poorly utilized resources that expend energy and time on patch management and still fails to reduce exposure.
The functionalities that Vulnerability Management offers makes it a definite upgrade from conventional cybersecurity management. Let’s see how:
– Inventory scanning: IT security teams can take inventory of all their assets and create specific groups split by different OS and applications.
– Vulnerability assessment: It becomes easier to scan for all possible known vulnerabilities that can lead to attacks.
– Vulnerability remediation: A well-designed solution offers remedial advice to thwart any identified vulnerability.
– Risk and threat prioritization: Security teams can define risks based on the severity and then take appropriate action.
– Granular auditing: IT teams can create granular reports for security audits and documentation for future reference.
The dangers of legacy
While Vulnerability Management is effective, legacy approaches fail at reducing attacks, primarily due to incomplete data analysis. IT security usually work with an incomplete picture of their vulnerability exposure, without factoring in threat prioritization and a multi- dimensional analysis. Moreover, there are too many devices and hybrid network infrastructure elements, such as routers, switches, load balancers, VPNs, devices that are offline during a scan, etc. On top of this, a continuous torrent of emerging threats and vulnerabilities makes prioritizing them harder and overwhelms IT teams. Enterprises using legacy vulnerability assessment methods lack complete visibility and understanding of the configurations and controls across their networks. They tend to primarily focus on patching and do not provide remediation recommendations that are effective. Medium and low vulnerabilities are usually missed, thus increasing the threat surface. Aggregating and normalizing data from different domains with multiple security consoles slows vulnerability discovery and leads to excess manual effort and team burnout. Moreover, cross-functional teams need to collaborate with a single tool that can present a precise and consolidated view of security incidents. IT security teams thus need new Vulnerability Management practices as their focus shifts from being IT-centric to securing assets in the cloud and disparate networks. The key ingredient to success is threat intelligence based on deep data analysis. Enterprises need to incorporate real-time intelligence into their threat analysis to ensure accurate risk scores with minimal/no false positives. This further enables their teams to develop effective remediation strategies that target exposure risk. Enterprises with efficient cyberattack prevention strategies can save up to USD 1.4 Mn for each averted attack. IT security teams can take threat prevention to another level by leveraging a Vulnerability Management model that can precisely calculate exposure levels of diverse assets, use modern risk scoring, and apply advanced exposure analysis across the entire attack surfaces of IT, and hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures. This model must be able to aggregate a wide range of data from multiple sources, and then provide customized and accurate risk scoring and remediation prioritization of vulnerabilities based on several parameters. Security teams should be able to automatically and visually map their attack surface to determine the best remediation options to reduce cybersecurity risk exposure on a continuous basis.
Malicious attacks are always threatening an enterprise, and they continue to grow in intensity and penetration capabilities says the World Economic Forum. But building an effective, layered and multi-stage approach to cybersecurity takes time; especially since attackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to an application or a network. Without proactive security measures, threats can stay hidden, self- destruct, or by-pass traditional security tools, resulting in devastating losses to the business. According to the 2021 SMB Cyberthreat Landscape report by Acronis, every hour of downtime due to a ransomware attack costs an average of USD 250,000, while the average cost of a data breach was USD 4.24 Mn in 2021. Vulnerability Management is all about a continuous, ongoing effort rather than an instant cybersecurity solution that is short-lived in its efficacy. The key difference lies in contextualized threat intelligence by delivering insights on vulnerabilities, intelligence and remediation options in one consolidated source. The right solution will help enterprises shore up their threat prevention based on proactive assessments and preventative knowledge. IT security teams can perform regular penetration testing, maintain a patching schedule, account for all IT assets and networks, build a database of threat intelligence, visualize data for deep dive threat assessment, and spot and fix vulnerabilities before they turn into full-blown attacks.
Want to learn more about improving threat prevention with Vulnerability Management?
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