Security threats usually don’t exist in isolation. To fix one thing, you might have to address a few other related or dependent processes.
That’s almost unmanageable when you only do a network audit once in a while. If you let the threats pile up – say until your next formal audit – your people and your technology risk being overwhelmed by issues which need resolving. That makes ‘post audit’ priotization and implementation incredibly complicated.
This article shows how many security experts use a daily vulnerability assessment to help them achieve a manageable workload, so they don’t flood the IT team … or leave users without valuable resources.
Here’s the three-step process many of our own clients use for daily threat audits, action and management:
Step A. Categorization and prioritization.
SecludIT provides remediation sheets and help tips for the threats our daily audit and real-time monitoring discover. This helps the IT security team to plan and prioritize their work.
For example, some threats can be resolved by a software patch, others by changing a component version, and others by changing the configuration of resources. This at-a-glance knowledge leads to better planning.
Step B. Impact on resources and users.
Some threat remedies will have a higher risk than others. For example, where the fix can affect other software, or requires a component change, the security team might trial that particular change in a test environment.
Sometimes the threat resolution will actually change the way mission-critical software works, and so a communications program has to be triggered so users understand what is happening, any why the change is being made.
Step C. Scale of the deployment.
Based on your network configuration and the dependencies of the threat, your team will need to identify how many servers the fix needs to be deployed on.
If there is going to be an impact on network performance, the timing of the deployment has to be scheduled to minimize user disruption.
The pain of fixing environment threats. Our customers speak out.
As we handle some 1.8 million Virtual Machine threat assessment audits every year, we get a lot of feedback from security teams about the impact of fixing network weak spots.
Here’s the top three comments we keep on hearing:
“We get users complaining that their resources have slowed down or changed in functionality. We have to explain to users, from the C-Suite down, that we don’t make these changes just for fun.”
“With an increasing volume of threats, it’s complicated to schedule maintenance windows. Quite often we have to employ teams to implement the fix at night, which puts a strain on our headcount budget.”
“Being flooded with issues after an audit means that prioritising fixes and assessing their dependencies is a huge task. To be honest, quite a few non-urgent issues tend to get de-prioritized and forgotten. I lose sleep wondering if one of those forgotten threats is going to be the opening for our next hack.”
Turning a torrent into a trickle.
Automatic daily audits with Elastic Detector (audits can be set to happen hourly through to monthly by the way) won’t make your vulnerabilities go away. But they will help you manage the workload in three ways:
1 – You get a smaller, daily list of threats … which makes it easier to plan your workload.
2 – The threats and their impact are categorized.
3 – You get remediation sheets and fix tips.
4 – Rich reporting options empower you to follow your own KPIs.
Our regular assessment audit also avoids the concern about low-priority issues being de-priotized and eventually forgotten. The Elastic Detector security monitoring function will keep on picking up the threat until it is resolved, or until you consciously decide to park it. And if that threat risk escalates, your team is alerted.
The good news is … it gets easier.
Waiting for a yearly or six-month audit gives the illusion that everything is under control. But network security specialists know that it is simply putting off their problems.
And although it’s true that a daily vulnerability assessment will discover a lot of problems at the beginning, the number of issues will reduce as you solve them one by one.
It’s a bit like putting off a visit to the dentist for a couple of years, by which time you need a lot of unpleasant treatment. Or going for regular checkups, so problems can be resolved before they get out of control.
The end result of tackling network vulnerabilities head on is that you can discover the truth … accurately allocate resources to deal with it … and finally stop worrying about any nasty surprises that your network might be hiding.