As IT and the virtual world is progressing, we get to see more vulnerabilities inducing damage to enterprise data, IT resources, servers, network, and databases. In 2022, the world had to deal with over 2.8 billion malware attacks, 638 ransomware attacks, and 710 million phishing emails.
The data might make one think that cyberattacks are everywhere, and they undoubtedly are; still, disregarding them and having no adequate precluding actions in place is not advised because victorious attacks come with a huge cost.
As a data invasion occurs, tormented businesses have to deal with issues like tainted brand image and high operational costs. In 2022, the average cost of a successful data breach was $4.35 million.
This forces businesses, big or small, to have strategic security practices and procedures in place. Vulnerability remediation is one such technique. Learn more about it as the article continues.
Vulnerability Remediation Definition
Let’s begin with getting friendly with the concept of vulnerability remediation. It’s a tactical process and a key component of vulnerability management. It concerns the complete eradication of vulnerabilities to ensure they don’t pose any risk in the future.
As a prudent process, vulnerability remediation is carried out as early detection of threats, prioritizing the identified risks, planning a remediation strategy, and doing continuous risk monitoring until cyber threats are fully eliminated.
Organizations seeking result-driven vulnerability management generally invest in it as it’s a viable way to control the spread of risk. Security professionals like CTOs, Security Engineers, Security architects, and Security Analysts form remediation teams for a given ecosystem.
Along with skilled professionals, effectual remediation demands the use of some specified tools that can automate the entire process. With over 2,200 attacks taking place in a day worldwide, manual remediation seems pointless. Hence, it’s recommended to use API security, cybersecurity, threat detection, and various advanced technologies for this job.
What Makes it Important?
If the present state of cybersecurity is considered, attacks and threats are as common as dirt. An organization can’t afford to ignore the high cost of data breaches, as mentioned above. The damage of a successful attack is not limited to losing data and paying compensation.
The list continues with operational slowdown, a partial or complete shutdown of key databases, soiled brand image, damaged customer trust, and troubles in further scalability.
If cyber risk continues to grow in an IT ecosystem, it will be difficult to remain sane and deliver. By adopting security vulnerability remediation, enterprises stand a chance to:
Continue offering their services without any glitches or delay
Protect the mission-critical data
Avoid unwanted operational expenses
Vulnerability Remediation Process
The above section must have bought clarity on the fact that ignoring IT risks and not using remediating cyber issues/threats/loopholes can harm a business in unimaginable ways. If a business intends to grow, early and effectively managing vulnerabilities/loopholes is a must. Here is how you can proceed with it:
The procedure begins with detecting the existing vulnerability by continual network and server scanning. As scanning continues, organizations must scan the coding and configurations of the concerned networks. The scan findings should be well documented for future reference.
Once all the contemporary risks are detected, their prioritization comes next. At this stage, the remediation team has to gauge the seriousness of a vulnerability and rate them accordingly. The goal here is to pinpoint vulnerabilities that demand immediate attention.
Avoiding threats with huge damage-causing potential will not go well for organizations as it might lead to successful attacks even if you’re involved in managing vulnerability issues.
As prioritization is completed, and the remediation team knows which all threats are there to fix, viable fixation steps should be in place. Needless to say, fixing must start from the top of the list. Teams automating or performing this process should understand the threat's nature and deploy relevant solutions ASAP.
Once implemented, threat-fix solutions shouldn't be left unattended. There should be persistent monitoring of released patches and vulnerability behavior. Often, cyber hazards tend to modify as they continue. With threat modification, remediation modification should take place.
Based on the number of threats identified, organizations can have fully manual, fully automated, or partially automated and partial manual vulnerability monitoring.
Vulnerability Remediation Best Practices: Fixing the Issues
Prioritize remediating the vulnerabilities
Make sure all the detected perils are carefully prioritized based on their risk factor. Threats with high damage potential and putting huge data at risk should be at the top of the priority list.
For a better assessment, organizations should have a precise idea of the total attack surface and possible endpoints using which a threat can enter the IT ecosystem. The severity and risk-factor of a vulnerability should be given equal consideration while prioritizing them.
There is a possibility that a cybervulnerability with high severity could bear low risk, or a threat with low severity can have more risks involved. So, prioritization should be done by keeping both of these aspects at the center.
Set deadlines to remediate vulnerabilities
There should be a loud and clear timeline or deadline for remediating every time so that threats are taken care of at the right time. Organizations must have a standardized SLA in place for the timely removal of threats. When companies are outsourcing vulnerability management, defining timelines is non-negotiable. While the deadline is established, it’s important to make sure that they align with your security goals.
For instance, if you don’t want a cyberthreat, detected in the payment way to stay for long, it’s important that the plan also have achievable deadlines for such threats.
Define a service level objective (SLO)
Having standardized terms, procedures, and format is a great way to make sure that there is uniformity in threat remedy. The easiest way to achieve this is to have an SLO or Service Level Objective in place. SLP features the acceptable policies that an organization must adhere to. SLO should feature a permitted compliance framework and timelines to ensure symmetry in every remediation drive.
Develop a remediation policy
For better and actionable outcomes from the implemented plan, it’s recommended to have a fully developed policy dictating what and how things should be done. It should pre-define aspects like the estimation of vulnerability’s seriousness, duration, tools to use, priority criteria, and critical actions that are part of the strategy.
Manual detection of threats and finding their remedy is a non-achievable and not a smart move to make, as accurate and extensive resolutions demand careful inspection of all the concerned entities. Experts suggest introducing automation in the process.
With automation comes accuracy, speed, wider reach, and immediate response, as IT resources can be monitored without any breaks or errors. Whatever data is delivered, the team can work on it immediately. There are various tools to use for this goal.
Organizations must confirm that the continuity of the process is well maintained. Making it a regular and continual operation will be the best. It shouldn’t be like a once-a-while action to take. One should conduct periodic scans and assessments.
Now, the frequency should be decided after analyzing factors like attack surface, risk factors, number of endpoints, and so on.
For instance, if an organization is using too many outsourced or 3rd party tools, the risk is high as the security of these resources is not in control. Hence, such organizations have to review the risks once a week, fortnight, or month.
But, if an organization has full control of the endpoints and IT resources, remediation can be a monthly affair.
Provide compensating controls
One recommended way to trim down the risks is to place accurate compensating controls. It generally means explaining what it means with assessment management and patching. Also, the extension of the plan beyond threat discovery and patching.
In addition, organizations can also explain the baseline configuration rules in the controls so that there is symmetry in the actions taken.
With well-defined security controls, it’s easy for organizations to have a streamlined approach to multiple workflows. For instance, the team will have a standardized control to refer to when a loophole is identified in an application’s code or a bypass is witnessed in the default security.
This makes things sorted and well-aligned. As and when an organization is defining controls, it’s important to pay attention to specific requirements and leave scope for customizations so that the team has the same instructions controlling the process.
Create a formal vulnerability management program
Lastly, we would like to recommend using a fully-functional vulnerability management program to support ongoing efforts. The program is an easy way to control the team actions, deployed policies, tools used, and other remediation-related processes.
When a clear and informative program is in place, the team should have guidance for immediate discovery, mitigation, and investigation of the spotted dangers.
Challenges Of Vulnerability Remediation
Despite giving staunch attention to every aspect, risk efforts can go wrong because of certain challenges that are stated below.
No test environment
Extensive threat fix demands extensive testing. Yet, many organizations fail to pull this off as they don’t have supportive tools and resources. Scanning and testing IT resources at a constant pace demands huge investment in cutting-edge tools & technologies.
Not every organization manages to supply necessitated capital which leads to a lack of testing support and inadequate data to work with.
No defined patching process
With risk modification comes the advancement of their course of action. Hence, organizations often fail to have a fully standardized patching strategy in place. There are no standardization and guidelines for patching, leading to uneven remediation and faulty data.
Support for expired systems
Legacy systems and their management is a huge challenge for organizations as patches may not work with outdated systems.
Lack of communication
Communication is key to success when it comes to achieving organizational goals. For effective remediation efforts as well, teams need to be in constant touch with each other and pass on crucial data without any failure.
However, situations like the rise of distributed teams, not the right kind of communication support, and lack of interest make it very hard to maintain continuous communication across the globe. Organizations are recommended to use advanced communication tools and nurture the culture to overcome these challenges.
Change management bypass
Wherever changes are happening, the plan should be in sync with them. Lacking updates as changes take place leads to failures as an applied strategy may seem out of place for the contemporary ecosystem.
As organizations scale at a rapid pace, remediation modification exerts huge pressure on organizations and concerned security professionals.
When there are no specified terms and conditions to govern remediation, you will have unnecessary data at your disposal. Those abundant data will keep you hooked for a long while you generate nothing useful out of it. Hence, organizations must have precise rules to dictate remediation at every stage.
Decentralized asset management database
For fetching accurate risk data and metrics, remediation tools must be in close contact with the used assets. Decentralized asset management of the databases is a huge hindrance in upright remediation strategy implementation.
Syncing remediation and asset management processes is imperative to achieve success as it leads to a concise understanding of the impactful threats, prioritizing assets correctly, identifying the weak points, and tracking the progress.
Discover And Fix Vulnerabilities With Wallarm
Wallarm provides a wide range of advanced API and microservices threat management solutions that can in early, accurate, and across-the-cloud automated vulnerability remediation. Its API Threat Detection tool is capable of real-time active and passive vulnerability identification.
With its passive detection technique, an organization can do early-stage spotting of the threats taking birth because of leading security flaws. Active threat detection of Wallarm assists penetration testers greatly in spotting anticipated threats that are yet to be surfaced.
Along with this, the platform also provides a cutting-edge vulnerability scanner that businesses can use to scan requests, servers, and networks to make sure malicious IP addresses are reaching these resources. Its vulnerability detection and analysis are so advanced that users are being updated with real-time data on any detected threats and their impact.
As Wallarm’s threat detection and analysis solutions are compatible with leading cloud ecosystems, API types, and microservices, it’s easy for businesses to manage remediation across the IT ecosystem with one tool, saving time and effort while experiencing accurate results.