Rethinking Vulnerability Management in a Threatier Environment

Learn from Mariano Nunez, CEO of Onapsis and columnist for the Threatpost Infosec Insiders blog, why the ability to prioritize is a crucial element of vulnerability management.

CISA and the Biden Administration’s repeated warnings about the Russian cyber threat over the past several months have raised the level of vigilance among U.S. government agencies and businesses across industries, which are anticipating cyberattacks from Russia in response to the Ukrainian aid package.

The Biden Administration’s budget proposal for FY2023 demonstrates that cybersecurity is a top priority for the federal government, prompting these warnings. In this new era of interconnected risk, particularly between business applications and critical infrastructure, this additional funding for cybersecurity is significant.

Although guidance from the White House and CISA advising on this heightened risk for U.S. businesses and the increase in the proposed budget for cybersecurity within the federal government indicate that additional resources are required to adequately defend against these risks, this does not necessarily translate to an increase in IT budget or security personnel in the majority of private organizations.

This means that companies must immediately take strategic measures to ensure the security of their mission-critical applications using their current resources. Prioritizing the modernization of aging technology stacks will be crucial for mitigating escalating cybersecurity vulnerabilities and protecting the organization’s critical systems and applications against malicious cyber campaigns. To accomplish this objective effectively, difficult prioritization choices will be required.

Three Steps to Effectively Prioritize Vulnerabilities

Prioritization is an indispensable aspect of vulnerability management. Identifying vulnerabilities and compiling a list is insufficient. Security teams need complete context and knowledge of the severity and potential business impact to make informed decisions about how to respond.

To determine which assets require the most immediate attention, businesses must generate a triage list or ensure that one already exists and is current. This list is generated by conducting an inventory of all cloud, on-premises, and hybrid assets. Once each potential issue has been identified, organizations must ensure that a thorough explanation of the issue’s business impact and a risk score has been included. Then, with scores assigned and prioritization clearly defined, security teams can create step-by-step plans for remediation, simplifying resolutions, and enhancing security posture with each step.

Protecting the Leading Blind Spot: ERPs

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems would be at the top of the list regardless of the method used by a company to determine which assets require immediate attention. These mission-critical applications execute essential business processes across the enterprise, including accounting, sales, and purchasing. The dependability of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and their data is crucial to an organization’s ability to perform daily operations. If these data were compromised by cybercriminals, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Surprisingly, many of today’s threat detection tools do not cover these mission-critical applications, leaving CISOs’ security programs with a massive hole. Now that organizations have a clear understanding of their most significant threats, they must ensure that the cybersecurity solutions they adopt do not have this blind spot and can provide threat detection and response for these essential applications. Security teams should be able to identify internal and external threats in real time and comprehend their potential impact, allowing them to respond rapidly and effectively without requiring a significant amount of manual review effort.

Increasing the Effectiveness of Risk Management

Every organization has limited time and resources, so they must know how to spend their next dollar or the next hour of their security team’s time. They must understand which patches must be applied most urgently, what configuration changes are necessary, and how to test for secure operation. By utilizing solutions that provide automated tools to eliminate the need for security teams to manually examine all security configuration variables, organizations can free up resources for more strategic tasks and achieve continuous threat detection and response for business-critical applications.

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