Out of 2800 interviewed IT professionals, 77% claimed that their organizations did not have a formal cybersecurity incident response plan in place, according to Techbeacon. This means that they have to respond to attacks through ad hoc strategies which can be risky. Regardless of whether you have an incident response plan in place or not, however, experiencing an overwhelming amount of vulnerabilities in your IT systems can be stressful.
Since no two security threats are made equal, the trick is to come up with a plan on what threats to deal with first. Having the ability to identify the more dangerous vulnerabilities and patching them in good time will save your company from the losses that a data breach can lead to.
Here are four tips for successfully prioritizing the remediation of your systems’ vulnerabilities:
Monitor Your System More Frequently
Monitoring your systems on an annual basis will not suffice as new threats are identified daily as their threat level continues to increase. Using tools such as SIEM, log servers, and log management platforms, you should change your monitoring schedule to one that is frequent. After every scan, your system should show a reduced number of vulnerabilities for your efforts to be successful.
This will help you to easily identify the threats that you already have in your organization and classify them using their risk rate. Furthermore, frequently monitoring will help determine the status of recently patched threats as well as determine whether a previously low-risk vulnerability has suddenly turned into a high-risk vulnerability.
Ensure the Information Reaching You Is Contextual
Most firms rely on reports and assessment scans to help in identifying threats. However, most of these reports lack context which makes prioritizing the remediation activities tough. For instance, the reports will tell you the threat you face, but they might fail to point out exactly what parts of your system the threat is bound to affect.
While this might seem like a subtle problem when you only have a few vulnerabilities to deal with, it can turn into a painful experience if your company’s systems are affected by multiple threats. Contextual alerts ensure that IT professionals spend less time assessing the threats and more time patching them. Invest in tools that send contextual alerts to help your IT team prioritize on the different threats.
Analyze the Different Threats before Choosing To Act
The threat that vulnerabilities pose will mainly depend on the system which they affect and the type of threat they are. For instance, a vulnerability that affects the database might be more damaging than one that affects an encrypted testing environment. Work with your team to assess the danger that the different vulnerabilities pose.
The more you understand the threats, the easier it will be to determine the priority of remediating them. Look into factors such as:
- If the threat is a zero-day attack
- Whether it is affecting other companies
- Whether it can lead to the detriment of the rest of your IT assets
- Is it a conduit for DDoS Attacks
- Commit To Staff Training
State of the art security tools will only take you so far. As long as employees do not know how to use the tools, or how to prioritize threats, your company is poised for failure. The first step to preventing this would be to employ an adept IT team with prior knowledge of the threats that your organization is bound to be exposed to.
Since the threat landscape is ever-evolving, you also need to commit to training employees on the latest security threats in your industry. Once they have a grasp of these threats, it will be easier for them to independently deal with threats in real time with regard to the right remediation priorities. You should also train them on important security aspects such as password management and network security to ensure they are not the source of the threats.
Tackling threats should be done in an organized manner. Otherwise, you might ignore a time-sensitive vulnerability only to face the consequences down the line. Use the tips above to protect your IT assets optimally.