Last updated at Tue, 09 Jan 2024 16:51:51 GMT

“I feel like I’m buried under my growing mountain of vulnerabilities,” said every security professional ever. While this is a common challenge for all security teams, the good news is that there is a way to get ahead of your long list of vulnerabilities. In this blog post, we’ll break down how to do this through team collaboration, key processes, and good security design.

Collaboration is the key ingredient to security success

You’re probably all too familiar with a vulnerability backlog that grows and grows, leaving it impossible to remediate risk in your environment. The single most important thing you can do to conquer this backlog is collaborate with your IT and development teams, as they are the ones remediating vulnerabilities. By breaking down the silos between you and them, it can:

  • Create shared visibility
  • Develop a common language to discuss security-related topics
  • Share the same data sets and reports so you can operate from a single source of truth

Your current process, however, probably looks a little something like this: The security team identifies vulnerabilities and risks, prioritizes them, and then throws a long list over the fence for IT to reluctantly catch. The conversation doesn’t stop there, though. Typically, there is quite a bit of back-and-forth to ask questions, adding to the frustration and delay.

Not only do silos make remediation difficult, but they also block visibility of the progress each team is making. Another common challenge is that each team speaks a different language. Whereas security uses the word “vulnerability,” IT may call it a “patch” and development may call it a “bug.” This makes it even more complex to communicate, further delaying progress.

In order to be successful as a security professional and effectively scale the vulnerability mountain, you have to break these silos down. This requires the organization to create a shared alliance and motivate teams to work together to achieve their ultimate goal of making the company more secure, efficient, and productive.

So, how do you actually break these silos down? Let’s find out.

Step 1: Create shared visibility

One of the easiest ways to kickstart collaboration is to make sure everyone has access to the same data. For companies operating in silos, each team often gathers its own data, which can create major inconsistencies and issues when it comes to prioritization and remediation. So, begin by ensuring that everyone has access to and is using the same data set to unify language, understanding, and priorities.

Step 2: Use common analytics

Next, you want to ensure teams are looking at the same reports and analytics. It’s one thing for everyone to access the same data, and another when everyone can interpret it from the same perspective. This ensures they’re all on the same page and can work together on shared goals.

Step 3: Integrated automation

Automation can help to drive a shared alliance and collaboration between teams because it helps to streamline remediation workflows. What security teams love about automation is it gives them time back that they were spending otherwise on mundane, menial tasks. This time can be better leveraged keeping systems running, threat hunting, etc. This also goes towards pulling security out of the weeds and putting out day-to-day fires and instead taking a more strategic approach based on what’s coming up down the line, not what’s right in front of them.

Putting it all together

The reality today is that driving this collaboration, visibility, reporting, and automation can take up too much time. For a time-constrained security team (which is 99.9% of teams today), this can be prohibitive. We get it.

This is why Rapid7’s vulnerability management solution, InsightVM is so invaluable to fast-moving security teams, helping you embed collaboration across teams, share data and reports, and implement simple but powerful automation. The even better news is, most of this is pre-built for you, meaning you don’t need to take weeks or months to build all of this and see results. Here are some highlights:

More efficient, cross-functional remediation

When it comes to tracking and implementing various remediations, it’s key to collaborate with your IT team. IT-Integrated Remediation Projects in InsightVM provide direct integrations with ticketing solutions like ServiceNow and Jira, helping security teams meet their IT counterparts where they’re already used to working, rather than asking them to change their ways for security. This alone can be a huge win for your security team to meet IT where they’re already comfortable working, making their life easier, and yours.

With Goals and SLAs in InsightVM, you can ensure that you're making (and tracking) progress toward your goals and service-level agreements (SLAs) at an appropriate pace, and maintaining compliance with the standards you've set for your program.

Automation-Assisted Patching

InsightVM has built-in features to accelerate the patching process through Automation-Assisted Patching, making this an automated part of the remediation workflow without as much human intervention (aka without delay or miscommunications). InsightVM offers pre-built workflows that integrate with major patch management tools like BigFix and SCCM to streamline the entire remediation process. But we know a team may want to have the ultimate say before a patch is put in place. That’s why human touch points can be easily embedded into the process so you can maintain control.

With these integrations, IT can continue working within the tools they know so that it’s not about your team asking them to change their ways (which we can guess won’t go over too well). What it does is provide both teams a way to streamline repetitive tasks, break down silos so they can work together harmoniously, and maintain key touchpoints that keep you in the driver’s seat. It’s a win-win. (And as a bonus, these integrations come at no extra cost for customers).

Compensation controls and Automated Containment

It’s all too common that the security team identifies a vulnerability or risk, but for some reason, they’re not able to remediate it right away. It could be that the IT team is swamped, something has broken, or the business doesn’t view it as a priority. When this happens, you need a temporary or permanent compensating control to build a wall around the vulnerable asset so attackers can’t get to and exploit it.

Rapid7’s Automated Containment offers built-in workflows that integrate with Carbon Black Response, Cisco FirePower, and Palo Alto PAN-OS. It is able to integrate with firewalls, network access controls, and endpoint detection and response tools, which means you can change and adjust policies to put in place temporary or permanent compensating controls to keep your assets safe until they can be patched. Both of these features come at no additional cost to InsightVM customers.

Shared analytics and live dashboards

Last, you need to measure and track progress and build meaningful reports for complete visibility. Just like having the same data set across teams helps with visibility, so, too, do reports.

When you’re operating from the same unified reports, it’s easier to track progress across teams. That’s why InsightVM’s Live Dashboard has been so helpful to security, IT, and DevOps teams. InsightVM also offers an Executive Summary Report, designed to be shared with leadership to keep them informed with just the right amount of information that is easy for you to pull together.

Our Top 25 Remediation Report hands the top issues on a sparkling silver platter to your remediation team, showing you only the top issues (not every issue) and the steps to remediate. It simplifies the barriers that traditionally create friction and a lot of unnecessary work. With everything in one place, all they have to do is execute, which means risk can be addressed faster and more effectively.

In a wrap, scaling the vulnerability mountain doesn’t need to feel hopeless. With the right team structure and technology to drive it, you can get ahead of vulnerabilities and make measurable progress towards making your organization more secure.

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