How you can ensure the timely remediation of high risk and critical vulnerabilities

The average time to identify a breach in 2021 was 250 days. Not only that, but the average lifecycle of a breach from identification to containment in the same year was 287 days.  This is far too long when considering the damage an attacker can do in that time. To protect your business, you need to ensure the remediation of high risk and critical vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. 

 

We realise this is a frustratingly obvious statement to read but the good news is if you continue reading this post, you’ll discover how to put yourself in a place where remediating high risk and critical vulnerabilities more quickly is possible. Let’s get started.

 

Effective scanning

The first step is scanning. We assume you already use a scanner (or two) to look across your network for potential known vulnerabilities. Depending on your size and budget, your scanner may run once a month, every week or even constantly to identify any misconfigurations, encryption weaknesses, bugs or missing patches that could cause you problems in the future. 

 

With the increase in cyberthreats growing each year, we believe that businesses should not scan any less frequently than once a week. This will ensure that they can stay on top of emerging threats, particularly if their scanner includes within its report some direction on how to fix certain issues.

 

This might be a smart time to review the scanners you use to see if there is a better service available that will enable you to run a more effective vulnerability management program.

 

Prioritisation

While scanning your network for vulnerabilities is crucial, it’s not enough to ensure effective vulnerability management. Why? Because a scanner can identify hundreds if not thousands of new vulnerabilities each time and no business has a large enough team to get through all of that. 

 

It would be great to be able to act quickly on all discovered vulnerabilities but there just isn’t enough time. And while some vulnerabilities, if breached, won’t be disastrous for your business, others will. You need to prioritise. 

 

Manual triage is a prioritisation method used by small to medium sized businesses across the world, who are unable to afford the enterprise-level vulnerability prioritisation solutions. 

 

While manual triage does have the benefit of keeping the user in control as they can determine which vulnerabilities should take priority based on their company’s structure and needs, it isn’t a cost-effective or particularly smart option.  The reality is that, because of the volume of vulnerabilities being identified, manual triage is taking teams hours every day to complete. This results in huge labour costs and equally huge delays to effective remediation work.

 

Fortunately, there is a better option. RankedRight is the triage tool that automatically ranks vulnerabilities based on the rules set by its user, factoring in what is critical to the business, and delegating it to the most appropriate person to resolve. This means teams spend less time on vulnerability administration and more time on keeping their companies safe, targeting the high risk and critical vulnerabilities first.

People management

Our next recommendation does not concern software; rather the people who use it. Empower your team with the right support and incentives and you’ll find that you’re in a much stronger position to remediate the high risk and critical vulnerabilities in a timely manner. 

 

We talk repeatedly on this blog about the skills gap in cybersecurity and how you can take steps to overcome it. One of the arguments we make concerns implementing proper performance management programs to incentivise your team to work smarter. Take a look to see how these might help you supercharge your team’s efforts to remediate issues more quickly.

 

Another area of people management to consider is wellbeingBurnout is rife in cybersecurity which can further exacerbate the skills shortage as those affected often go on long term leave or quit. 

 

Make sure that you’re providing your team with all they need to give you their best performance. This includes your support (as well as that of a mentor or coach), the right equipment and, perhaps most importantly, a workload that is realistic and achievable. With time for breaks and a good work-life balance, burnout can be avoided and a high performing team is possible.

 

When it comes to IT security, the best offense is a strong defense. This means ensuring that high risk and critical vulnerabilities are remediated as quickly as possible by reviewing your scanner providers, implementing an effective method of prioritisation, such as RankedRight, and making sure you have a committed and high performing team at your side.