Published On: May 19th, 2022Categories: CISO Challenges, IT ChallengesTags: ,

For organizations of all sizes, the business, technology, risk, and vulnerabilities are always changing. And as security professionals, it’s our job to understand, manage, and mitigate risk. Continuously looking at the metrics of our efforts helps us maintain consistent and continuous performance management. We need to know what’s working and what’s not. 

As the size of the threat landscape increases, security teams need all the help they can get to stay ahead of bad actors. Scanning tools do their job at revealing vulnerabilities, but organizations cannot keep up with the volumes of alerts and the information generated. They need more intelligent ways to prioritize the most critical vulnerabilities to protect against them. This is where vulnerability intelligence has already proven its value. 

 

What is Vulnerability Intelligence? 

Vulnerability intelligence is a form of threat intelligence that focuses on the aggregation of security intelligence and understanding how it may be affecting your particular organization. 

Threat intelligence itself is data that is collected, processed, and analyzed to understand a threat actor’s motives, targets, and attack behaviors. Vulnerability intelligence goes a step further in contextualizing this information in reference to how your organization may be impacted if a vulnerability is exploited. 

While scanning tools can deliver detailed reports on vulnerabilities identified within the environment, the teams responsible for remediating those vulnerabilities work largely on their own to decide which ones to tackle first. 

 

Risk-Based Vulnerability Management

Risk-based vulnerability management is a strategy for handling vulnerabilities on a typical network according to the risk each vulnerability poses to the organization. By ranking each vulnerability, the organization can make intelligent decisions on where and when to deploy remediation resources. While this may sound easy, consider most organizations have thousands, if not tens-of-thousands, of vulnerabilities so understanding which to prioritize is a significant undertaking. 

Remediation teams need better actionable solutions for knowing the actual risk to the organization and which are earmarked as high risk and prioritized for mitigation. 

 

Using CVSS and CVEs

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is the de facto industry standard for scoring the severity of a vulnerability. Established in 2005 by FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams), the goal was to assess the criticality or technical severity of a vulnerability. A CVSS score can be between 0.0 to 10.0. 

While many organizations use CVSS as a risk score, it doesn’t actually express risk. CVSS scores provide a good first step in classifying vulnerabilities, but they do not provide the context around how the organization may be impacted. 

For example, if vulnerabilities are found in both a Microsoft Exchange server and in a webmail application used by one department, both can have a CVSS score of nine. Generally speaking, the vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange is going to be much more critical because it will have more impact upon the organization. 

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is another classification tool.  The CVE glossary is dedicated to tracking and cataloging vulnerabilities in hardware and software. It is maintained by the MITRE Corporation with funding from the US Division of Homeland Security.  

CVE identifiers serve to standardize vulnerability information and unify communication amongst security professionals.  

VULNERA’s Vulnerability Intelligence

VULNERA’s Remediation Validation and Continuous Assessment solutions give security teams the vulnerability intelligence needed to make the right decisions in prioritizing remediation efforts and supporting the future of a vulnerability management program. 

Continuous asset and service discovery helps identify what is connecting to your internal, external, and cloud networks. The data collected is aggregated over the assessment period to identify new, open, and resolved vulnerabilities. This data is then used to automatically categorize, classify, analyze, and assign a contextualized risk score to enable teams to prioritize the most critical vulnerabilities for mitigation. This vulnerability intelligence helps organizations track trends over time and to reduce overall risk. 

The truth behind vulnerability prioritization is you don’t need artificial intelligence, machine learning, or fancy risk-rating algorithms. What good even is a risk score if you can’t explain why it was assigned the score? 

Any experienced cybersecurity consultant can tell you in simple terms what matters the most when prioritizing vulnerabilities: 

  • Is it internet-facing? 
  • Is there a chance for remote code execution? 
  • Are public exploits available? 
  • Are paid exploits available? 

These questions identify real risk.

 

The Insight You Need

VULNERA’s real-time dashboard enables teams to create a report to satisfy the needs of your executives, technology and security teams, and operations and project management teams. It provides insight into the week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year progress without requiring domain-specific knowledge.

Our solutions go a step further than traditional solutions by continuously retesting the environment, validating that remediation activities have been successful, and reporting your success via the dashboard – saving valuable time and resources tracking activities via spreadsheets.

Properly applied vulnerability intelligence can provide greater insight into cyber threats, allowing security teams a faster, more targeted response as well as resource development and allocation. 

 

For additional information on VULNERA’s vulnerability intelligence, download our solution brief. It provides quantitative and key risk indicators, input and output indicators, leading and lagging indicators, as well as operational indicators that can be accessed via the VULNERA dashboard. 

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