Why Vulnerability Management is More Vital Than Ever

In the modern world, cybersecurity is no longer a fringe concern reserved for larger organizations. Companies of all sizes in every industry are on high alert, given cyber attacks know no bounds. As attack vectors expand and vulnerabilities increase, vulnerability management has risen to the forefront of security solutions to help organizations shore up network and application security.

Vulnerability scanning and assessment have always been cornerstones of any cybersecurity program, but their modern form has evolved to that of vulnerability management. Vulnerability management solutions take scanning and assessment a step further, by providing valuable insight and risk context so that any vulnerability that is discovered can be properly analyzed and prioritized for remediation.  This method of proactive cybersecurity has never been more relevant than it is now, as organizations struggle to effectively manage increasingly complex networks, the proliferation of endpoints, and a mounting number of cyber threats. There are three main facts about vulnerabilities that make  vulnerability management even more crucial than before:

  1. The number of vulnerabilities has increased exponentially
  2. There are new types of vulnerabilities
  3. There are new ways to exploit vulnerabilities

Essentially, vulnerability management is a process to identify, assess, and prioritize all system vulnerabilities that can cause harm or loss if left unaddressed. Vulnerabilities can be found anywhere, from software applications to network infrastructure, hardware configuration and your staff’s mobile devices.

The world has changed significantly in the past couple of years, and so has the way we think about vulnerabilities. In truth, it is not enough to just identify them, because not all vulnerabilities need to be (or can be) remediated. That is why effective vulnerability management tools that employ threat intelligence and risk context are vital. IT teams must be able to discern what really deserves their limited resources and what doesn’t.

Additionally, the stakes are higher in today’s cutthroat marketplace. The cybercriminals of today are not just looking to take data; they want to take down whole businesses and damage critical infrastructure. Modern cyber-criminals are shifting their focus from stealing data to dismantling businesses and bringing supply chains to a standstill through ransomware, denial of service attacks, and other sophisticated tactics.

A Shifting Threat Landscape

Internal and external forces have caused the global cyber threat landscape to shift even more dramatically than usual over the past couple of years. The internal forces are those that stem from within a company or organization. They include poor security procedures, unpatched systems, and unaware, uninformed internal users.

The external forces come from outside of an organization, such as criminal hackers trying to break into a company’s system for financial gain. These forces cause changes that either make it easier or harder for network defenders to do their job.

Companies and their CISOs and IT professionals need to understand intimately that communication with stakeholders about the 2021 threat landscape is vital to its security posture and the success of any cybersecurity program. All parties need to know firmly what is at risk and what is causing the risks that could bring down a business with one misstep.

Three key trends that are expected to persist after 2021 are:

  • Increased adoption of remote work
  • Accelerated digital transformation
  • Increasingly aggressive attack strategies

Remote Workforce Will Only Increase

The business world is resetting and rethinking things like the location of the workplace, ways to innovate with technology, and how digital tools have made remote work increasingly viable.

COVID lockdowns have shown the necessity of a task-driven remote-based workforce rather than a title-driven approach. Now 64% of employees are eligible to work from home, with 40% actually doing so, according to the 2021 Gartner CIO Survey. This is a direct reversal from pre-lockdown trends when typically executives were the only ones allowed to work from home.

Unprepared for the rapid shift towards remote work options, many companies may have under-prepared plans and overlooked security enhancements or training in cyber-safety practices, leaving themselves open to attack. In the early days of lockdown, moving from in-office to remote working, security protocols may not have been adequately communicated, leaving companies, their data, and employees unprotected.

With remote work here to stay, companies need to identify and secure all vulnerabilities caused by flexible workplaces to protect their clients, people, assets, and reputation.

Companies Will Continue Digital Transformations

According to McKinsey, many organizations have sped up their adoption of digital technology by three to seven years. This is in response to many factors, including technical demands of remote working as well as competitor pressure to remain nimble and relevant. Organizations are re-envisioning how technology can be used in three principal ways:

  • Reducing costs
  • Garnering efficiencies
  • Capturing new revenue streams

Companies took advantage of strategic technology shifts to fend off competitors both to survive and thrive. As companies migrated to the cloud, they may not have kept up with cybersecurity investments. PwC reports that “Cybersecurity transformations are either lagging behind digitization or merely keeping pace with most companies.”

Threat actors adopt new and aggressive tactics daily, making cyber risk assessments a must-have for any digital transformation or cloud migration plans. Successful companies need to embrace digital technology using a strategic and holistic approach that incorporates constant proactive evaluation of vulnerabilities. Continual risk mitigation is essential to any technology adoption strategy.

The Sophistication of Cyberattacks Will Only Increase

Threat actors have grown more brazen and have increased in number. Threat targets are no longer just large industries but include a broader range of companies of all sizes. The FBI has seen a 300% increase in cybersecurity complaints and reports since the beginning of the pandemic.

More aggressive attack strategies will require companies to maintain better awareness, invest more in security, and mature their existing security programs. Therefore companies need to remember three concepts:

  • Recovery from a cyber attack is far more costly than prevention
  • The costs of poor cybersecurity are not solely monetary
  • Personal executive liability is on the rise

Build Your Cyber Defense

The threat landscape will only continue to expand, and companies of all sizes must decide the best strategy and methods to protect their business-critical digital assets. No single solution exists that provides complete protection, but a strategic combination of processes and services can make security efforts more effective. Companies need to find trusted partners that can offer proactive and preventative solutions rather than reactive and costly post-attack execution.

To better streamline cybersecurity programs, optimize IT resources, and concentrate impact on security, choose tools that offer these three critical components:

  1. Accuracy: Don’t waste your team’s time with solutions that aren’t made to perform their function. Search for specialized technologies that integrate threat intelligence and utilize machine learning to remain familiar with shifting attack vectors to avoid costly breaches and errors.
  2. Ease of use: Don’t choose overly complicated solutions that take too long to deploy, require large amounts of time to learn, and require more staff resources. Find solutions that can be deployed quickly and offer user-friendly functionality and reporting. This way, your team can move with agility and focus when managing and mitigating cyber threats.
  3. Support: Reliable support is vital for any cybersecurity solution because when you need help, time is always of the essence. Look for high customer satisfaction and net promoter scores that show happy and loyal clients.

Digital Defense’s best-in-class vulnerability management and threat assessment platform is cloud-native, built for ease of use, committed to the highest level of performance and accuracy. It’s vulnerability management that defends your organization against threats and your team against complexity. Contact us to learn more or get a quote today.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Digital Defense authored by Digital Defense by Fortra. Read the original post at: