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Visibility into vulnerabilities – 3 steps to enhance software vulnerability management

Susceptibilities in enterprise IT are all over the place. While it’s obvious that they require to be tackled, how to do this isn’t as obvious. 

The sheer number of susceptible software variations within an enterprise environment can be overwhelming, making it a challenge to tackle them. The procedure needs time: to detect the requirement for updates, to develop and evaluate a successful update package, and then to go about deploying that across the environment. As an outcome, it isn’t realistic to hold the belief that an enterprise with thousands of applications can merely keep all of them up-to-date. Rather, security usually drives a remediation procedure, issuing priorities to IT ops. 

A more effective procedure is needed to view, prioritize, and manage software susceptibilities – and reduce the security risk to the enterprise as a whole. Here are three steps to enhance vulnerability management. 

  • Comprehend your end-of-life and end-of-support risk 

Information security risk exists across the IT stack, but the hazard put forth by end-of-life or end-of-support (EOL/EOS) software is specifically worth surveying and mitigating. Any software that’s attained EOL or EOS status ought to be viewed as susceptible. Why? As its no longer obtaining the focus required to qualify it as otherwise. 

The Flexera 2021 State of IT Visibility Report identified that operating systems and productivity software lead the herd in terms of EOL/EOS vulnerabilities. Throughout all categories, it is critical to maintain the comprehensive data with regards to the particular variations and releases that you’re leveraging. This can enable identification detection of spheres that need focus. Monitoring of EOL/EOS timelines is also a critical aspect of a cumulative software asset management (SAM) effort so you can keep ahead of the curve with regards to what variants of products in your environment will attain EOL/EOS in the weeks ahead. 

 

Collaboration cross-enterprise can assist in fortifying your EOL/EOS strategies. Although lifecycle administration influences the entire enterprise, EOL/EOS data is usually siloed within an organization. Rather, sharing it – which includes the EOL/EOS dates – among teams (which includes IT administration and support, procurement, and finance) can assist in ensuring your overall security positioning. 

  • Streamline IT decision making 

The leading challenge in IT decision making is “not adequate good-quality data” cited as either a moderate challenge or a considerable challenge by more than 4 out of 5 (81%) of survey respondents. The lack of this information delays the processes of making and also in the implementation of decisions associated with vulnerability management. 

Integration of IT asset inventory data into vulnerability and application rationalization efforts is a critical aspect of reducing and mitigation of risk within an enterprise and prioritization of strategic initiatives. You cannot make decisions with regards to what to safeguard if you don’t possess visibility into your assets. 

  • Rely on threat intelligence 

Instead of reacting when an exploit becomes news-worthy or something noteworthy suddenly props up as a critical event requiring attention, it’s critical that IT operations establish a consistent procedure for detection, identification, prioritization, and remediation of vulnerabilities as they are disclosed.  

Two typical approaches leave the dominant number of disclosed susceptibilities unaddressed: 

  • The most usual way to prioritizing patch activity is through prioritization on the basis of criticality score  or Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score, which can range from 1 to 10. However, this usually doesn’t furnish the ideal data on which to define remediation initiatives. Concentrating on susceptibilities with a CVSS score of 7 or more (which is a broadly adopted best practice) only tackles approximately 50% of those susceptibilities that undergo exploitation. A majority of exploits actually possess a “medium” CVSS score, ranging from 4 to 7. 
  • When organizations don’t possess decent visibility into what susceptibilities need their focus, they usually concentrate on well-known apps (which includes Adobe, Google, Java, Microsoft and Mozilla). Concentrating on susceptibilities for the leading 20 vendors, although, only addresses approximately 20% of exploits. 

Currently, threat intelligence is now broadly preferred, as it provides a more potent metric for security and IT teams to prioritization of remediation efforts. Through reliance on threat intelligence – which goes about verifying, normalizing, and scores every vulnerability – you can concentrate on susceptibilities that are actually undergoing exploitation in the wild. A consistent, methodical, repeatable procedure implies that any crucial susceptibility (or a susceptibility with a high probability of exploitation) can be tackled as an issue of routine. This enables you to assign time and resources to fixing the susceptibilities that demonstrate evidence of exploitation and that present the most crucial risk to your environment. Through prioritization of susceptibilities efficiently, you might drastically reduce risks while just fixing 10-20% of applications in requirement of remediation. 

With adequate visibility into the assets that are existing within your environment – and the susceptibility and threat intelligence to detect what’s vulnerable and its connected risk – an organization can massively minimize its security risk. 

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