Vulnerability Management is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It
As we noted in the last post, the current approach to vulnerability management is simply not working. There needs to be a new and better way to find and fix vulnerabilities—one that doesn’t create backlogs, create friction on development teams and run up costs.
The fact that vulnerability management needs a makeover should be evident to security and software development leaders alike, and it’s important that they take steps, using tools and policies, to revamp their own vulnerability management processes if they haven’t already.
Modernizing this process involves four key elements—discovery, validation, prioritization and remediation—and using automation tools to maximize the efficiency of each of these areas.
Discovery is fundamental to the vulnerability management process because it’s what identifies the presence of software vulnerabilities. Using tools such as scanners, security teams gather information from endpoint devices on enterprise networks, such as which version of an application or operating system is installed on devices.
They then compare this data with known vulnerabilities provided by software vendors or others, to identify the presence of a vulnerability in the software.
Find Software Vulnerabilities as Early as Possible in The SDLC
Because of the current threat landscape and the key role vulnerabilities play in making attacks possible, early validation is critical early on in the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
While discovery is critical, it’s only the first component of the process and needs to work in unison with the second—validation. This is where the software vulnerabilities that represent genuine risks are separated out from those that pose little or no security risks.
Validation is a technical analysis to determine if a particular vulnerability in a piece of software code is exploitable and therefore represents a potential security risk. When a piece of vulnerable code can be deployed in a container but can’t be loaded into memory, it’s technically not exploitable and therefore not a cyber threat. The validation process provides a definitive yes or no answer to whether a particular vulnerability can be exploited.
Tools can provide the analytics capabilities needed to identify which vulnerabilities can be exploited by bad actors. They enable security and development teams to do less patching because they don’t need to worry about non-exploitable bugs. This means they can spend more time building and securing new software products and features.
Given the large number of software vulnerabilities and limited security resources at many organizations, being able to increase the efficiency of vulnerability management is important, and validation makes this possible.
The next key component, prioritization, allows security teams to quickly determine which of the exploitable vulnerabilities they need to remediate first because of the potential risks they present.
Not all vulnerabilities are equal in terms of the damage they can do and the impact they can have on organizations. Some code might be so commonly used that an exploitable security flaw could threaten hundreds of organizations.
Organizations need an effective way to prioritize software fixes before cyber criminals can exploit them. Automation tools can help teams prioritize which vulnerabilities they need address first and which can wait.
Finally, there’s remediation. Not all methods of remediation are as effective as others. The key to fixing software vulnerabilities efficiently is to use automation to speed up the process of fixing the software and removing the risk.
To excel at remediation, security and development teams should leverage automation wherever possible.
The Future of Vulnerability Management Starts Today
At Rezilion, we believe the future of vulnerability is about solving vulnerabilities, not just uncovering them. We are excited to announce a truly holistic approach to vulnerability management. A complete answer to the complexities of security in the software stack. Rezilion’s full platform is available now, free for 30 days, with a dynamic Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) in CI. Get started today at www.rezilion.com/get-started.