How CISOs Can Address the Security Demands of the Evolving Threat Landscape


It has become significantly more challenging to detect and fix the vulnerabilities that have the biggest potential impact on the organization because of the recent rapid changes in both the external threat environment and IT networks.

Significant fundamental changes to the enterprise IT environment have been made due to substantial investments in cloud migration and digital transformation. Corporate assets are no longer limited to workstations, servers, or printers. IT security teams now need to secure virtual machines on-premise and in the cloud, mobile devices, IoT devices, cloud data stores, micro services, and much more, making visibility and monitoring incredibly difficult and complex.

Investments in security have often lagged behind the accelerated growth in network complexity and scope. Other times, security controls have fallen behind agile processes. This makes it difficult for security teams to effectively monitor and manage their networks, which leads to compliance issues, misconfigurations, unnecessary risk, and wrongly prioritized vulnerabilities that give cybercriminals easy attack vectors.

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Threat actors explicitly target these security gaps and blind spots to break into the network and avoid detection.

Most Common Errors Made When Attempting to Stay on Top of threats.

CISOs and their teams are under immense pressure to limit cyber risk. However, many are constrained by a lack of complete visibility or a demand for more agility than what can be provided without jeopardizing security.

One of the most common problems they face is an inability to prioritize vulnerabilities according to the actual risk they pose to the company. Determining which vulnerabilities should be considered incremental risk or which need to be patched is crucial, with hundreds of thousands of vulnerabilities discovered each year.

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which gives security teams standardized data for each vulnerability, has developed into a useful guidepost. The highest CVSS-rated vulnerabilities should be prioritized, which may appear to be a sensible and effective strategy. However, every CISO should be aware that using CVSS scores alone to analyze the risk a vulnerability poses to their specific enterprise is insufficient.

More contextual data is needed to measure risk accurately. Security teams must understand the relationship between a vulnerability and its specific environment.

These challenges are made worse by the fact that IT security teams often lose track of applications and assets because ownership is transferred to new teams, and the cloud makes it easy for anyone in the organization to spin up new resources. As a result, many businesses are littered with unmonitored assets that are dangerously outdated with security updates.

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Why Context Matters

No CISO is short on data about vulnerabilities when they have resources like the National Vulnerability Database at their disposal. Most businesses have plenty of contextual data. IT, enterprise security, and GRC stacks provide a constant stream of data, which can be used in vulnerability management processes. However, in order to create an actionable context, these raw data streams must be carefully combined with vulnerability information.

Unfortunately, few businesses have the resources to remediate all vulnerabilities. There may be a commercial rationale in some situations for not patching a vulnerability immediately or at all. CISOs can allocate their limited resources where they will have the biggest impact on the organization’s security with the help of context from information sources across the organization, enabling standardized risk decisions.

Utilizing Automation to Maximize the Limited Resources

A seasoned security expert can instantly determine the contextual risk of an attack based on their knowledge of the company infrastructure. This strategy, however, cannot scale with the rapid growth of the enterprise network and the rising number of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

Automation offers the best chance for keeping up with the vulnerabilities in today’s constantly changing threat landscape. An automated method can gather relevant information from the security, IT, and GRC stacks, correlate it and turn it into contextualized data that can be the foundation for either manual or automated risk decisions.

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