By Jim Souders, Chief Executive Officer, Adaptiva
Eighty percent of cyberattacks happen at the endpoint today. When you consider that cybercrime is projected to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021, securing the endpoint becomes an absolute priority. This is why we’re seeing more attention paid to the rapidly evolving vulnerability management space. Modern enterprises understand that they must drive compliance to reduce risk, and they need to do it in a manner that is decidedly more efficient. Therefore, the pressure is on for vendors to deliver novel yet compelling solutions.
Traditional Vulnerability Management
In a traditional vulnerability management scenario, security teams find as many vulnerabilities as possible, and IT teams are tasked with fixing them. This is a very labor-intensive process where the respective teams scan for vulnerabilities, apply patches, conduct penetration tests and vulnerability assessments, and a whole lot more. While vulnerability management would be impossible without the assistance of software, traditional models still rely heavily on human intelligence to make a wide range of decisions and take action. IT must determine what, if any, changes need to be made, and they have to execute routine compliance activities, which require a significant chunk of time. Unfortunately, time is a luxury enterprise simply doesn’t have. Any vulnerable endpoint invites havoc and bad actors.
With IT teams already stretched remarkably thin due to budget and available resource constraints, vulnerability management can’t always be front and center. Even in companies and departments with the best of intentions, vulnerability management might suffer due to a lack of the right personnel.
The Role of Automation
As technology advances, the capacity to automate more and more components of vulnerability management becomes essential. Vendors now specialize in nuanced pieces of the puzzle, and third parties increasingly are relied upon to deploy solutions. This will present the ideal opportunity for automation to become the game-changer. It means that the next generation of vulnerability management products can help enterprises address issues much faster than the average 38 days it currently takes to fix a vulnerability upon detection. In fact, remediation can now happen in seconds—with the right tools in place.
Flexibility Is Key
One of the most underrated aspects of modern vulnerability management is the flexibility that can accompany automated solutions. While some products come loaded with pre-configured options to save teams from some of the burdensome processes of developing vulnerability checks, scans, or remediation actions, the next generation of tools will take it a step further. In addition to automating a large percentage of the vulnerability management processes, teams will have the option to create custom health, compliance, and security checks as well as automated remediation actions—without writing code or scripting. This is important for several reasons.
First, suppose your system flags a vulnerability, but the preconfigured remediation options at your disposal don’t address it. A custom fix is the only option, which requires both time and expertise, and as discussed above, this can be problematic. But if teams have the ability to create visual, actionable workflows instead of scripting, problems could be taken care of in seconds vs. hours, days, or weeks. That in and of itself is game-changing.
Secondly, by offering no-coding solutions, the possibilities of who can be called upon to create a check or begin remediation are opened up dramatically. Companies no longer have to wait for the “right” person to write the necessary script. This eliminates a significant chunk of the resource drain and dismisses a potential bottleneck.
And third, next-generation solutions will increasingly have open APIs or built-in API creation functionality. This makes it possible to integrate with many other third-party products for deeper customization and a better, more secure solution. Companies today have so many different security tools in their toolkits that it is a real challenge to be able to leverage them all and make them work together quickly and easily. For this reason, it is important to look for vendors that offer such flexibility. Additionally, organizations should not be locked into any one solution; they can cull from the best and migrate as their needs change. In the battle for endpoint security, where an organization needs every weapon possible to maintain system integrity, integration is power.
What to Look For
Endpoint security solutions will continue to evolve rapidly. As such, it is important to understand how your company conducts vulnerability management and what would be of greatest use to your security and IT teams. Because requirements may change, resources may change, and threats will undoubtedly accelerate, adopting flexible, automated vulnerability management tools will be essential. While it’s important to gather and analyze threat data aggressively, businesses will require solutions that can grow and evolve with the organization and the larger threat landscape.
Next-generation vulnerability management software can alleviate much of the burden on IT teams today while dramatically boosting endpoint security. But in order to weave together all of the different components of vulnerability management in a seamless and functional way, organizations must have a flexible and scalable platform. Fortunately, the next generation has arrived.
As first published in Infosecurity Magazine.
About the Author
Jim Souders is CEO of Adaptiva. A global business executive with more than 20 years’ experience, Jim excels at leading teams in creating differentiated software solutions, penetrating markets, achieving revenue goals, and P/L management. Prior to Adaptiva, Jim led high-growth organizations from start-up to public offering and acquisition in a variety of advanced technologies, including IT infrastructure management, cross-platform mobile application development, WAN/LAN optimization, and wireless supply chain automation systems. For more information, please visit https://adaptiva.com/, and follow the company on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.