Taking a Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Vulnerability Management

The number of vulnerabilities contained within production code is growing rapidly. As a result, organizations struggle to keep up with their patch management. This inability to patch vulnerabilities poses a significant threat to website security.

Organizations must adopt a more scalable approach to patch management in order to keep up with the growth of exploitable vulnerabilities. The use of prioritized patching and virtual patching are essential to minimize an organization’s exposure to cyber risks.

 

Vulnerability Numbers are Growing Rapidly

Software is written by human beings, and humans make mistakes. As a result, it should come as no surprise that software contains bugs. While some of these software errors are minor and have little or no impact on the software’s operations, this is not true of all of them. Some bugs are vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a malicious user to force the software to take actions not anticipated, intended, or desired by the software’s developer.

Over time, the number of these vulnerabilities that are discovered in production software are growing rapidly. In 2019 alone, 22,316 new vulnerabilities were discovered and publicly disclosed. Of these, over a third had a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) v2 score of 7 or above, meaning that they are labeled as high severity.

Organizations Cannot Keep Up

As the number of software vulnerabilities grows, organizations can no longer keep up with their patching requirements (if they ever could). With over 22,000 new vulnerabilities discovered in 2019, over 60 new vulnerabilities are reported each day on average.

Not every newly discovered vulnerability will impact an organization since it will not be running every affected piece of software. However, determining if the organization is affected by any of the day’s 60 vulnerabilities and addressing the fraction that are relevant can create a significant burden for an organization.

For many organizations, patching a vulnerability is not as simple as allowing the update to run on every employee’s workstation. Several factors can affect the update process, including:

  • Vulnerability Location: If a vulnerability exists in production code, then addressing the issue could require a new software release. The new code must be created and fully tested before being deployed to production.
  • Patch Compatibility: Any software update may include deprecating some functionality provided by a program. If an organization’s existing software depends upon deprecated functionality, then applying a security patch may require a potentially expensive and time-consuming rewrite of the software.
  • System Stability: For organizations with high availability requirements, such as critical infrastructure, it is essential to ensure that a patch does not break any critical functionality. This requires extensive validation in a realistic test environment.

Not every vulnerability that exists within an organization’s systems or the software that it uses has these issues. However, every software update carries some overhead, no matter how small, and applying some updates requires significant time and resources. As the number of vulnerabilities to be addressed grows, organizations can quickly and easily fall behind in their patching processes.

Prioritized Patching is Essential

With the rapid growth of vulnerabilities, organizations cannot keep up and need to find a way to effectively manage their cyber risk. Patching every vulnerability is difficult or impossible, so vulnerabilities should be patched based upon the risk that they pose to the organization.

The risk associated with a vulnerability is usually quantified based upon two factors. These are the probability that the vulnerability will be exploited and the impact if an exploit occurs. The impact part of this equation is readily available for any vulnerability. The CVSS scoring system labels vulnerability severity as low, medium, or high in version 2 and low, medium, high, or critical in version 3.

The probability of exploitation can be more difficult to determine. Not all vulnerabilities are actively exploited by cybercriminals, meaning that a “critical” vulnerability on the CVSS scale may pose little or no real-world risk to an organization. Of the over 22,000 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2019, 37% of them had known exploit code or a Proof of Concept that would make it easy to develop a workable attack. Prioritizing these vulnerabilities in patching would be a good idea.

However, even more detailed information is available regarding the risk of certain vulnerabilities. In May 2020, the FBI and DHS CISA published a list of the top ten most exploited vulnerabilities over the last four years. This report indicated that cybercriminals commonly target Microsoft Office products, Apache Struts, and vulnerabilities within VPN products. Prioritizing these particular vulnerabilities – and generally any vulnerability in these types of software – enables an organization to dramatically decrease its risk of exploitation.

A Scalable Solution to Vulnerability Management

The problem with even a prioritized approach to vulnerability patching is that it is not a scalable or perfect solution to the problem. As the number of vulnerabilities in production software grows, organizations will be increasingly unable to keep up.

Virtual patching, a function offered by web application firewalls (WAFs) and runtime application self-protection (RASP), is a potential solution to this problem. Rather than applying patches to vulnerable applications, virtual patching trains the WAF or RASP solution to identify and block attempts to exploit the vulnerability. Since a virtual patching solution’s list of vulnerabilities is easier to update than the applications containing these vulnerabilities, this provides a more scalable solution to organizations’ vulnerability management problem.

5 Important Aspects of Digital Marketing

Virtually every company engages in digital marketing in some way, but there are lots of different ways you can reach your audience through digital platforms. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the main options for companies looking to improve their digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the most important parts of digital marketing is being able to get websites ranking at the top of the search engines. When you achieve this, you get free, organic clicks that can bring thousands of visitors to your site each month.

For professional digital marketers who don’t specialize in SEO, a great way to improve your offering to your clients is through an SEO reseller program, which allows you to make use of the expertise of an SEO company under your own brand name.

SEO provides business with a great ROI and steady stream of traffic that boosts sales and increases brand awareness.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Getting to the top of the search engine rankings takes time and consistent effort. Sometimes you need immediate results though, and in these cases, pay per click advertising is a great medium to turn to.

PPC allows your business to feature at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), but the key difference is you pay for every click you receive. This might make PPC more expensive, but it’s a great way to get your message in front of a targeted audience and reach people with a strong buying intent.

Content Marketing

Your content is like the bricks and mortar that your website is built upon, and it forms an important part of your digital marketing strategy.

No matter how good your SEO listing is, or PPC ads are, it’s rare that you convince someone to buy something from you there and then. Instead, you’ve got to build a relationship with the customer and convince them that they need your product or service.

This is where content marketing comes into its own. You create the informative content that establishes your expertise and convinces people that they need your service.

You can then use your SEO, PPC, social media, and email marketing to bring people to the content.

 

Social Media

Part of marketing is reaching your target audience where they are, and there are a huge amount of them on social media.

This makes platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram great places to share your brand and reach people with your key messages. Different people respond to different forms of marketing, and social media certainly isn’t one that should be underestimated.

Email Marketing

One challenge with digital marketing is to consistently build touchpoints with your potential customers. When someone comes to a blog on your website, they might click away and never return to your site, even if they enjoyed the content.

When you’ve got someone’s email address, though, you have an easy way to contact them and build that relationship. This is one of the reasons why so many companies engage in email marketing, and it’s a very important part of digital marketing.

Top benefits of bespoke software development

Nowadays, getting a simple software for your organization has become a very hectic problem. Even after spending tons of money on purchasing the off the shelf software, there is no assurance you will get the maximum benefit. Most of the time, the ready-made software fails to comply with different requirements of the companies and eventually operation process becomes much harder. To eliminate this problem, smart developers often offer a unique solution to business owners. They take the requirements of the customers and create unique software from scratch.

Bespoke software development

Bespoke software development refers to the process in which the developers take detailed information about their client business and develop unique software. Though some of you might think the ready-made software is the best solution, in reality, they have huge limitations. In today’s article, we will highlight the top benefits of bespoke software development. Though the concept of custom-tailored software is relatively new, it will be the most popular software solution due to the diversity in our traditional business.

Amazing flexibility

You might buy the most expensive software in the market but there is no assurance you can bring necessary change to the software to meet your business growth. Most of the time, business owners have to source for other software which is a very time consuming and expensive process. But if you start software outsourcing, you have the opportunity to customize the software according to your needs. Just talk to the developers about the things which you need to get it done and they will give you the perfect solution within the shortest possible time.

Associated cost

Most of the people think bespoke software is much more expensive and they eventually opt-in for the ready-made software. But you need to consider the long term associated cost. If you start using the ready-made software it won’t take much time to get frustrated with the limited features of the software. Most importantly, you will be charged for the licensing renewal fees every year. To avoid such problems, many smart investors consider software sourcing as the best solution to cut down the associated cost in the long run. If you do some research, you understand why big organizations have their custom made software event though they can manage expensive software.

Integration and adaptability

If you go for the bespoke software, it can be easily integrated with the other essential elements required to run your business. Most importantly, the developers will do all the hard work so that the software becomes easy to use. If you work with the newly purchased software, then you will have tons of restrictions. Learning, the proper use of such software might become a complicated process. To eliminate this problem you can develop custom software which has fast integration capability and a very user-friendly interface. So training the office staff will be a lot more easily. The developers will give all the necessary training so that the office staff can operate the software with an extreme level of ease.

Security factors

Those who are thinking to use the most popular software available in the market often forget the fact, security is a great issue. The hackers are always trying their best to jeopardize the big software companies by getting access to the sophisticated information of their clients. But this will not be a problem for you if you start using newly developed software. You will be the owner and no one will have access to the source code. The hackers will hardly know such software exists. So, if you are overly concerned with the security factors to make sure you are not using too common software. But does this mean your software will never have any security issues? The obvious is the answer is NO. But if you operate the bespoke software in an organized way and keep the confident login information secret, chances are high you will never run into security problems.

Things to consider

By now you must have known the key reason for which the bespoke software is becoming so popular in today’s world. But you need to carefully select the developers or else you might have to lose a huge sum of money. Make sure you discuss the overall requirements with the developers so that you don’t run into complications during the initial stage. Never keep things in mind since it will limit the capability of your software. But bespoke software shouldn’t be a solution for those who are looking to short term business. If you have long term vision and looking to take your business to the next step, only then you should go for such customized software development.