GRC Viewpoint

Today’s Complicated Cyber Security Landscape Requires Modified Vulnerability Assessment Initiatives

State-of-the-art solutions are inevitable for an apt vulnerability strategy to be effective. However, implementing a well-designed vulnerability program is not as easy as it appears. With enterprises getting highly complicated every day, the number of assets is multiplied, and the related backlog of unidentified and unresolved vulnerabilities is a permanent issue. This leads to a highly vulnerable situation with respect to vulnerability detection and management.

Interestingly, an enterprise can be equally vulnerable to security attacks even when its inbuilt protective mechanisms are highly efficient. Attackers continue to explore innovative highways through which it is easy to infiltrate enterprises by targeting the suppliers.

Consequently, a strong vulnerability assessment program is a must for enterprises to detect and manage related risks.

Enterprises must go beyond conventional forms of vulnerability management to adopt and place a highly sustainable strategy to ensure highly effective, consistent, and successful vulnerability reduction and management.

The attacks on suppliers can be highly impactful due to the highly complex nature of the ever-increasing interdependencies of the imposed techniques. Moreover, the attacks may have an irretrievable impact on national security as well.

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Vulnerability Scanning:


At the core of any vulnerability assessment program, a vulnerability scanner will be built to assess and understand impending risks across an enterprise. Post this scanning, it is easy to prioritize vulnerabilities properly.

What is covered through this scanning includes any accessible systems that are connected. This will consist of desktops, laptops, servers, switches, etc.

Furthermore, the vulnerability assessment program starts its search for open services and ports that are running on these systems. Based on these insights, detailed reports are created that cover probable instances of vulnerabilities. By now, security experts will have a fair idea of possible vulnerabilities, and it is usually the first step towards identifying and tackling these susceptibilities.

Once all the vulnerabilities are identified, those need to be assessed to properly deal with the probable risks they pose as per the risk management strategy involved. The risk management solutions adopted vary as per the requirements and situations. Yet, one among these systems is CVSS, the Common Vulnerability Scoring System.

Priorities are usually set at this stage. However, what can’t be ignored is the rare possibility of vulnerability scanners giving false positives. If this happens, security experts might be forced to include other corrective considerations besides risk scores at this stage.


Dealing with the Vulnerabilities:


Once these stages are clear, the next priority is to treat these vulnerabilities. This step is usually the lengthiest process and may turn extensive based on the complexity of the risks involved.

At the end of this stage, companies mostly have a risk management program that comprises an overarching governance layer that focuses not only on identification but also on highly effective risk reduction measurably and consistently. Patching or entirely fixing a known vulnerability is the most common procedure. When this happens, the exposure turns immune to further exploitation. Technically, this process is termed Remediation.

However, remediations won’t be applicable in all instances. Usually, such situations require a different approach called Mitigations. The primary aspect of mitigations is that they are temporary, and enterprises may have time before arriving at the best strategy. In addition, as part of the mitigation process, compensating controls are incorporated, leading to fewer chances for easily attacked vulnerabilities.

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Lastly, at times enterprises resort to not implementing any remediation strategy. Fundamentally, risks can vary heavily in nature. For example, some vulnerabilities are not highly susceptible to exploitation. Besides, certain risks may incur huge expenses if they have to be mitigated. Therefore, the organization may have to keep them on hold and try for alternate options at times.


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