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Outstanding Remediations Tracking

by Cody Dumont
December 3, 2015

One of the common questions often asked of the IT team is “how many systems are missing patches and how many patches are missing on each system?”  This dashboard uses the “Patch Report” plugin and organizes the current patch status for systems scanned with credentials.  The IT team can now easily communicate the specific systems with missing patches to executives.

The Nessus "Patch Report" plugin (66334) elegantly summarizes all of the missing patches and general remediation actions required to remediate the discovered vulnerabilities on a given host. Instead of counting the number of vulnerabilities, the plugin lists applications that need to be upgraded. The approach is not only much easier for IT administrators to consume, but the count of applications provides a measure of how much "work" is required to secure a system.

The dashboard provides risk guidance using the “Remediation Summary” tool.  This tool works by employing a concept called “top patch”.  SecurityCenter uses proprietary technology to identify a chain of patches.  The first patch in the chain is called the “top patch”.  If the “top patch” is applied, all subsequent vulnerabilities will also be remediated at the same time.  Using both the Remediation Summary tool and “Patch Report” plugin, the organization can better plan remediation efforts.   

The dashboard and its components are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, assurance report cards and assets.  The dashboard can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Executive. The dashboard requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 4.8.2
  • Nessus 6.5.3
  • This dashboard requires “Full Text Search” to be enabled for each analyzed repository.

Please note the "Full Text Search" option must be enabled for the repository to support the trending component.

    SecurityCenter has the ability to identify all discoverable vulnerabilities, eliminating blind spots. Tenable detects missing patches, incorrect configurations, lapsed defenses, incomplete monitoring and network intruders—so you can mitigate them.  SecurityCenter can show risk across all systems, enabling informed decisions.  Tenable’s approach to continuous monitoring reaches across cloud, virtual, mobile and traditional systems and measures attack vectors in each of these domains.  SecurityCenter provides a unique combination of detection, reporting, and pattern recognition utilizing industry recognized algorithms and models.  By providing that single point of data collection, SecurityCenter enables sharing of vulnerability scanning results across the technical groups and business owners.  SecurityCenter is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audits.


    Remediations Tracking - Top 25 Remediations: This component provides the top 25 remediation actions that can be taken to reduce overall risk.  The table is sorted using vulnerability weight scores, which are calculated differently for each organization.  To determine score weights, login with the admin account, edit your organization and then select “Analysis”.  In the upper right hand corner, there are four scores, one for each severity level. The default scores are: critical = 40, high = 10, medium = 3 and low = 1. The vulnerability weight helps to determine a fully calculated score used in risk analysis.

    Remediations Tracking - Network Summary: This component provides a network view of systems that have a “Patch Report” available.  The Nessus “Patch Report” plugin (66334) requires credentials to run.  The chart displays all systems using the “Class C Summary” tool, allowing the administrators to easily see how many systems have a patch report available.

    Remediations Tracking - Missing Patch Counts: This component provides an easy-to-understand table of the number of systems with an outstanding patch report.  Each row searches using the Nessus plugin (66334), Patch Report.  There is a string “You need to take the following NN actions”, and by using this string in combination with regular expressions, we can group systems by the number of missing patches.  The series are in groups of 10; when a match is found, the cell will turn purple for easier identification. 

    Remediations Tracking - Missing Patch Trend Analysis: This component provides a trend analysis of systems with patch reports available.  There is a string “You need to take the following NN actions”, and by using this string in combination with regular expressions, we can group systems by the number of missing patches.  The series are in groups of 10, allowing the organization to understand missing patch levels over time. If there are major drops in the trend numbers, there could be a time when credentialed scans are not working correctly.