Being an integral part of the cybersecurity initiative, vulnerability management empowers organizations to identify security vulnerabilities in systems that are unmatched. But, the continuously changing device demographics and a rapid increase in the evolution of cyber-attack techniques, including multi-pronged attacks, are threatening the current vulnerability management practices.
As per a report from European Union Agency for Cybersecurity titled “The ENISA Threat Landscape 2021”, there has been a 150% rise in ransomware compared to 2020. Another study by Ponemon Institute in collaboration with ServiceNow, titled “Costs and Consequences of Gaps in Vulnerability Response” found that 60% of all the data breaches in 2019 were a result of “unpatched known vulnerability where the patch was not applied.” This revealed that while CISOs emphasize getting their security fundamentals right, they still struggle to create a robust vulnerability management program.
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Hence, they need to rethink their approach towards vulnerability management. Instead of operating with their traditional framework, CISOs should strive to build a vulnerability management system that is effective and efficient.
Create an inventory to understand all the software across the business
As per industry experts, CISOs should have an accurate list of all the software they should protect. This will enable them to find the known and newly identified vulnerabilities present within their infrastructure. However, achieving this is not an easy feat.
While most CISOs claim to already have an inventory in place, they do not have an in-depth insight. They are not aware of what is running behind the scenes. Also, mature security operations are responsible for the primary aspects of the environment. Yet, many security teams still neglect more minor elements and the code itself. This negligence can leave critical vulnerabilities unpatched.
CISOs should make sure that they create an exhaustive record of their whole tech environment including all the elements such as programming libraries. Additionally, CISOs should be meticulous about updating these inventory lists whenever they add a new system within the infrastructure.
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Know the origins of software
CISOs should identify the origin of the software applications. They should determine how patches are effectively communicated to users and how the security teams should address them. As every software development team has the freedom to define a patch update process that is easier for them to understand, CISOs should take time to identify any unique features that will provide them multiple benefits when the time comes to patch.
Know how to handle exceptions
The principles of cyber-resilience are necessary to decrease the probability of the impact of cyber threats. Hence, by adding multiple layers of security to the IT infrastructure, security teams can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities at an early stage. Additionally, security teams will be in a better position to decrease the possibility of unauthorized access. CISOs can leverage these principles to effectively integrate mitigation controls for handling vulnerability exceptions.
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