All software has vulnerabilities, from misconfiguration to software defects, and for this reason organisations need to have continuous visibility of these weaknesses on their system. Why? On average, every 6 minutes an internet facing system is scanned by outsiders who could be carrying out reconnaissance and testing networks for vulnerabilities (Tenable Security).
According the NCSC the greatest cause of security incidents is the exploitation of vulnerabilities, and this why it is so important for organisations to have a vulnerability management process in place. But, this essential element of an organisation’s cyber security posture can be difficult to manage in-house for a number of reasons. In this blog we’ll take a look at the benefits that can come from outsourcing your vulnerability management to a security partner.
What is vulnerability management?
Vulnerability management is the process of acquiring, assessing and taking action on new security information in order to identify vulnerabilities, remediate them, and minimise the window of opportunity for attackers.
There are 4 high-level processes that incorporate vulnerability management:
You can’t fix what you can’t see, therefore, organisations need up to date information on all assets and software on their system. Creating an inventory of these assets allows an organisation to then report on any vulnerabilities that require patching. However, not all vulnerabilities are equal or pose the same amount of risk. It’s important that the reported vulnerabilities are categorised into a prioritisation matrix that feeds into the vulnerability management processes – allowing businesses to respond to the most critical vulnerabilities first.
Vulnerability management should be a continuous process as the source data is only as good as the last time it was updated or refreshed.
What are the benefits of vulnerability management?
In case you hadn’t picked up already, vulnerability management improves an organisation’s cyber security posture. If you imagine your business is a house, constantly checking to see if your windows and doors are locked will improve security and make it harder for criminals to gain access. Continuous vulnerability management can mitigate the risks posed by vulnerabilities on your network.
Time is a valuable resource, so save it (and money) from being spent on remediating large risks to your network too late (or even worse, the consequences from a data breach) by proactively monitoring weaknesses in your IT estate.
Businesses can efficiently remediate the most high-risk vulnerabilities – filtering through the noise in vulnerability scan reports to find the most-critical vulnerabilities allows businesses to act quickly to close gaps in the network before hackers gain entry. The average time taken to discover a malicious compromise or exploit on a system is 256 days (Ponemon Research). If system information is more readily available from continuous vulnerability monitoring, IT departments will have a better picture of the environment and can contextualise vulnerabilities better and identify those that pose the most risk.
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) along with other information security frameworks identifies Continuous Vulnerability Management as an integral part of risk and governance programmes.
Why should organisations outsource their vulnerability management?
83% of security professionals are concerned about security gaps in between vulnerability scans, however, fewer than 40% of organisations worldwide scan their system at least weekly (Sans Network); as recommended by CIS. The reason for these figures could be that IT departments are currently over-stretched with ‘keeping the lights on’ and other security issues and so vulnerability scans aren’t being carried out at all or as frequent as they should.
The key benefits of a managed vulnerability solution or Vulnerability Management-as-a-Service (VMaaS):
Visibility - of the types and location of vulnerabilities on a network and infrastructure. This service will provide actionable intelligence.
Context - Prioritisation of remediation and an idea of what is really a risk and what is not, in context with cyber-attack potentials and their network topology.
Action - Decisive intelligence allowing technical teams and system administrators to take a proactive approach to patching vulnerabilities and protecting the valuable assets and data sets of their systems.
Reduced dependency on internal resources
A reduction in accountability
Assists with numerous regulations and measures such as Cyber Essentials, SOX and JSOX
Better prioritisation of human based assets to areas where needed
Compliance – outsourcing your vulnerability management can help identify any non-compliance with software you may have missed using an off-the-shelf vulnerability scanning tool
Overall, knowing what vulnerabilities you have on your network and which need immediate action is crucial for modern organisations. Vulnerability management should be a continuous process, and this can take up a lot of time that your IT department just can’t afford to spare. Engaging with a trusted security partner such as Celerity to provide Vulnerability Management-as-a-Service (VMaaS) can alleviate the pressure of time, stress and liability associated with staying on top of your vulnerabilities.
To learn more about Citadel Cyber Threat Insight Service visit our website: www.celerity-uk.com/cyber-threat-insight-service