4. Vulnerability Assessment Solutions
Why do I need to do vulnerability assessment?
Unpatched software, misconfigured systems, and other weaknesses can create devastating implications for your organization.
A single successful breach into your environment, for example, a successful phishing attempt that lands ransomware on one of your servers, could cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars in remediation and recovery expenses; extended downtime that can last days or longer; lost customers and a drop in sales and revenue; brand and reputational damage; and in some cases, a successful attack can shut down your business altogether.
With about 9,000 recorded breaches in the past 10 years, your organization is increasingly vulnerable to a cyber attack. And although more than 30% of organizations say they’ve had a cyber attack on their operational infrastructure, more than 62% around the world aren’t confident they’re ready to deal with an attack.
While attackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit weaknesses and get into your system, malware and phishing schemes are common attack methods. The average cost of a malware attack in the past two years is more than $2 million and ransomware continues to be an increasing threat for organizations of all sizes.
On average, a business becomes a victim to ransomware every 13 seconds. Phishing emails are the most effective way in, with 91% of attacks starting with phishing. In the past year, 76% of businesses said they had been targeted by a phishing attack.
Add to these exploit vectors the volume and diversity of asset types and it is increasingly more challenging for security teams to adapt and remediate every vulnerability that could affect your organization.
That’s why today’s most successful vulnerability assessment programs rely on tools and resources that facilitate continuous asset discovery and vulnerability monitoring, along with processes to prioritize threats based on actual risk to your organization.
Benefits of a vulnerability assessment program
Vulnerability assessment helps you discover and analyze weaknesses within your attack surface to reduce the chance attackers can exploit your network and gain unauthorized access to your data.
From malware to weak passwords and everything in between, threats to organizations of all sizes continue to increase, as does the cost to stop and fix and attack once it’s underway. That’s why it’s increasingly important to adopt a vulnerability assessment program to better understand your Cyber Exposure and keep your organization safe.
If you’re still considering whether or not a vulnerability assessment program is right for you, here are a few benefits to consider:
A vulnerability assessment program can help you discover all of your vulnerabilities including software flaws, missing patches, malware, and misconfigurations, so you can stay a step ahead of mitigate them before attackers infiltrate your attack surface.
Map Your Assets
By discovering all the assets in your organization, you can create a detailed map of your entire attack surface.
Maintain an Up-to-Date Asset Inventory
Asset discovery enables you to create an inventory of all your assets, even those that only occasionally connect to your network and those that are short-lived.
Understand Your Cyber Risks
Your vulnerability assessment program should give you insight into all of your assets and all of your vulnerabilities so you can determine your cyber risks and make solid business and security decisions to mitigate those risks. This will also help you build a stronger security posture.
A vulnerability assessment program can help you better manage your patching plans, including insight into any configuration changes, so you can better plan for and evaluate the success of your remediation strategies.
Better Communication of Critical Information
Reporting on your vulnerability assessments can help you keep key stakeholders, from management to clients informed about all vulnerabilities and misconfiguration issues.
Choosing a vulnerability assessment solution that enhances your vulnerability management program
While your organization will have unique needs when it comes to selecting a vulnerability assessment solution, there are some core considerations applicable across industries. Here are four things to consider when evaluating a vulnerability assessment solution:
Continuous and Complete Discovery of Assets
When it comes to asset discovery and vulnerability assessment, your solution should offer a wide range of coverage including continuous asset discovery and complete visibility into your attack surface.
Do you provide passive network monitors to continuously discover assets?
Do you provide agents that work with both cloud-based and on-premise deployments?
Do you provide cloud connectors for live visibility into Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) environments?
Assessment: More Than Just a Scan
Asset assessment in today’s modern IT environment is more than just running a scan.
Questions to ask your vendor:
Do your container image scans consider layer hierarchy to reduce false positives?
Do you provide passive monitoring for OT and IoT vulnerability detection?
Has your research team discovered any Zero-day vulnerabilities in the last 12 months? If yes, how many?
Analyzing risks for remediation
With an array of data collection tools in your comprehensive vulnerability assessment program, teams often struggle with vulnerability data overload. What do you do with all the information you gather? Which vulnerabilities are likely to have the greatest real-world impact on your organization and may be exploited in the near future? How do you prioritize remediation?
A vulnerability assessment solution that leverages machine learning can help your team get a handle on data so you can uncover blind spots and hidden patterns to better assess future threats to your organization.
Does your vulnerability scoring primarily look at historical data such as the existence of exploits or does it incorporate real-time intelligence about current threats?
Does your vulnerability scoring leverage machine learning?
What about automated asset criticality scoring?
Simplified Pricing, Licensing and Growth Opportunities
Your vulnerability assessment solution should have a simple and straightforward pricing and licensing model and can scale as your organization grows and changes.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how to choose the best vulnerability assessment solution for your organization, check out Gartner’s Guide to Choosing a Vulnerability Assessment Solution.