One of the biggest challenges with both incident response and vulnerability management is not just the raw number of incidents and vulnerabilities organizations need to triage and manage, but the fact that it's often difficult to separate the critical incidents and vulnerabilities from the minor ones. If all incidents and vulnerabilities are treated as equal, teams will tend to underprioritize the critical ones and overprioritize those that are less significant. In fact, ZDNet reports that only 5.5% of all vulnerabilities are ever exploited in the wild. Meaning that fixing all vulnerabilities with equal priority is a significant misallocation of resources, as 95% of them will likely never be exploited.

Unjamming incident response and vulnerability management

My experience with organizations over the years shows a similar issue with security incidents. Clearly not all incidents are created equal in terms of risk and potential impact, so if your organization is treating them equally, this also is a sign of misprioritization. And what organization has a surplus of incident response cycles to waste? Without some informed triaging and prioritization, the remediation of both incidents and vulnerabilities can get jammed up, and the security team can be blamed for “crying wolf" by raising the security alarm too often without strong evidence.

How to better prioritize security incidents and vulnerabilities? Fundamentally, it comes down to simultaneously having the right data and intelligence from both inside your IT environment and the world outside. What if you could know with high certainty what you have, what is currently going on inside your IT environment, and how and whether the threat actors' current tools, tactics, techniques, and procedures are currently active and relevant to you? If this information and analysis was available at the right time, it would go a long way to helping prioritize responses to both detected incidents and discovered vulnerabilities.

Integrating XDR, SOAR, vulnerability management, and external threat intelligence

The key building blocks of this approach require the combination of extended detection and response (XDR) for continuous visibility and threat detection; vulnerability management for vulnerability detection and management; SOAR for security management, integration, and automation; and external threat intelligence to inject information about what threat actors are actually doing and how this relates back to the organization. The intersection of these four security systems and sources of intelligence is where the magic happens.

Separately, XDR, SOAR, vulnerability management, and external threat intelligence are valuable in their own right. But when used closely together, they deliver greater security insights that help guide incident response and vulnerability management. Together, they help security teams focus their limited resources on the risks that matter most.

What Rapid7 is doing about it

Rapid7 is on the forefront of bringing this integrated approach to market. It starts — but does not end — with possessing all the underlying technology and expertise necessary to bring this approach to life through our products in XDR, SOAR, vulnerability management, and external threat intelligence. New and particularly important to this story is how Rapid7's external threat intelligence offering, brought forward by the recent acquisition of IntSights, is integrated and directly available to assist with incident and vulnerability management prioritization and automation.

The newly released InsightConnect for IntSights Plugin enables, among other capabilities, the enrichment of indicators — IP addresses, domains, URLs, file hashes — with what is known about them in the outside world, such as whether they are part of attackers' infrastructure, their registration details, when they were first seen, any associations with threat actor groups, severity, and other key aspects. This information, when linked to alerts and vulnerabilities, can help drive the response prioritizations that are incredibly important to improving incident response and vulnerability management effectiveness and efficiency.

This is just the start of integrating IntSights threat intelligence into Rapid7's broader set of security offerings. Stay tuned for additional integration news as Rapid7 brings best-of-breed solutions further, combining our vulnerability management, detection and response, and threat intelligence products and services to solve more real-world security challenges.

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