Last updated at Wed, 17 Jan 2024 18:14:01 GMT

Accelerating the Remediation of Vulnerabilities From Code To Cloud

Written by Eric Sheridan, Chief Innovation Officer, Tromzo

In this guest blog post by Eric Sheridan, Chief Innovation Officer at valued Rapid7 partner Tromzo, you’ll learn how Rapid7 customers can utilize ASPM solutions to accelerate triaging, prioritization, and remediation of findings from security testing products such as InsightAppSec and InsightCloudSec.

Application Security’s Massive Data Problem

Application Security teams have a massive data problem. With the widespread adoption of cloud native architectures and increasing fragmentation of development technologies, many teams amass a wide variety of specialized security scanning tools. These technologies are highly specialized, designed to carry out comprehensive security testing as a means of identifying as many vulnerabilities as possible.

A natural byproduct of their deployment at scale is that, in aggregate, application security (appsec) teams are presented with thousands – if not millions – of vulnerabilities to process. If you’re going to deploy advanced application security testing solutions, then of course a significant amount of vulnerability data is going to be generated. In fact, I’d argue this is a good problem to have. It’s like the old saying goes: You cannot improve what you cannot measure.

Here’s the kicker though: Given a backlog of, lets say 200k vulnerabilities with a severity of “critical” across the entire product stack, where do you start your remediation efforts and why? Put another way: Is this critical more important than that critical? Answering this question requires additional context, which is often manually obtained by appsec teams. And how do you then disseminate that siloed vulnerability and track its remediation workflow to resolution? And can you replicate that for the other 199,999 critical vulnerabilities? This is what I mean when I say appsec teams have a massive data problem. Accelerating remediation, reducing risk, and demonstrating ROI requires us to be able to act on the data we collect at scale.

Introducing Application Security Posture Management

Overcoming application security’s massive data problem requires a completely new approach to how we operationalize vulnerability remediation, and this is exactly what Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) is designed to solve. In a recent Innovation Insight, Gartner defined ASPM as follows:

“Application security posture management analyzes security signals across software development, deployment and operation to improve visibility, better manage vulnerabilities and enforce controls. Security leaders can use ASPM to improve application security efficacy and better manage risk.” - Gartner

Obtaining and analyzing “security signals” requires integrations with various third party technologies as a means of deriving the context necessary to better understand the security implications of vulnerabilities within your enterprise and its environment. To see this in action, let’s revisit the question: “Is this critical more important than that critical?” A robust ASPM solution will provide you context beyond just the vulnerability severity as reported by the security tool. Is this vulnerability associated with an asset that is actually deployed to production? Is the vulnerability internet-facing or internal only? Do either of these vulnerable assets process sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII) or credit card information? By integrating with third party services such as Source Code Management systems and Cloud runtime environments, for example, ASPM is able to enrich vulnerabilities so that appsec teams can make more informed decisions about risk. In fact, with this additional context, an ASPM helps application security teams identify those vulnerabilities representing the greatest risk to the organization.

Identifying the most significant vulnerabilities is only the first step, however. The second step is automating the remediation workflow for those vulnerabilities. ASPM enables the scalable dissemination of security vulnerabilities to their respective owners via integration with the ticketing and work management systems already in use by your developers today. Better yet, Application Security teams can monitor the remediation workflow of vulnerabilities to resolution all from within the ASPM. From a collaboration perspective, this is a massive win-win: Development teams and appsec teams are able to collaborate on vulnerability remediation using their own respective technologies.

When you put all of this together, you’ll come to understand the greatest value-add provided by ASPM and realized by our customers at Tromzo:

ASPM solutions accelerate the triage and remediation of vulnerabilities representing the greatest risk to the organization at scale.

ASPM Core Capabilities

Effectively delivering on an integrated experience that accelerates the triage and remediation of vulnerabilities representing the greatest risk requires several core capabilities:

  1. The ability to aggregate security vulnerabilities across all scanning tools without impeding your ability to use the best-in-class security testing solutions.
  2. The ability to integrate with and build context from development tools across the CI/CD pipeline.
  3. The ability to derive relationships between the various software assets and security findings from code to cloud.
  4. The ability to express and overlay organizational- as well as team-specific security policies on top of security vulnerabilities.
  5. The ability to derive actions and insights from this metadata that help prioritize and drive to remediation the most significant vulnerabilities.

Doing this effectively requires a tremendous amount of data, connectivity, analysis, and insight. With integrations across 70+ tools, Tromzo is delivering a best-in-class remediation ASPM solution.

How Rapid7 Customers Benefit from an ASPM Solution

By its very nature, ASPM fulfills the need for automation and efficiency of vulnerability remediation via integration across various security testing solutions and development technologies. With efficiency comes real cost savings. Let’s take a look at how Rapid7 customers can realize operational efficiencies using Tromzo.

Breaking Down Security Solution Silos

Rapid7 customers are already amassing best-in-class security testing solutions, such as InsightAppSec and InsightCloudSec. ASPM enables the integration of not only Rapid7 products but all your other security testing products into a single holistic view, whether it be Software Composition Analysis (SCA), Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Secrets Scanning, etc. This effectively breaks down the silos and operational overhead that comes with individually managing these stand-alone tools. You’re freeing yourself from the need to analyze, triage, and prioritize data from dozens of different security products with different severity taxonomies and different vulnerability models. Instead, it’s: one location, one severity taxonomy, and one data model. This is a clear win for operational efficiency.

Accelerating Vulnerability Remediation Through Deep Environmental and Organizational Context

Typical security teams are dealing with hundreds of thousands of security findings and this takes us back to our question of “Is this critical more important than that critical?”. Rapid7 customers can leverage Application Security Posture Management solutions to derive additional context in a way that allows them to more efficiently triage and remediate vulnerabilities produced by best-of-breed technologies such as InsightAppSec and InsightCloudSec. By way of example, let’s explore how ASPM can be used to answer some common questions raised by appsec teams:

1. Who is the “owner” of this vulnerability?

Security teams spend countless hours trying to identify who introduced a vulnerability so they can identify who needs to fix it. ASPM solutions are able to help identify vulnerability owners via the integration with third party systems such as Source Code Management repositories. This automated attribution serves as a foundation to drive remediation by teams and individuals that own the risk.

No more wasted hours!

2. Which vulnerabilities are actually deployed to our production environment?

One of the most common questions that arises when triaging a vulnerability is whether it is deployed to production. This often leads to additional questions such as whether it is internet-facing, how frequently the asset is being consumed, whether the vulnerability has a known exploit, etc. Obtaining answers to these questions is tedious to say the least.

The “code to cloud” visibility offered by ASPM solutions allows appsec teams to quickly answer these questions. By way of example, consider a CVE vulnerability found within a container hosted in a private registry. The code-to-cloud story would look something like this:

  • A developer wrote a “Dockerfile” or “Containerfile” and stored it in GitHub
  • GitHub Actions built a Container from this file and deployed it to AWS ECR
  • AWS ECS pulled this Container from ECR and deployed it to Production

With an integration into GitHub, AWS ECR, and AWS ECS, we can confidently conclude whether or not the Container hosted in AWS ECR is actually deployed to production via AWS ECS. We can even take this further: By integrating within GitHub, we can even map the container back to the corresponding Dockerfile/Containerfile and the team of developers that maintain it.

No more laborious meetings!

3. Does this application process PII or credit card numbers?

Appsec teams have the responsibility of helping their organization achieve compliance with various regulations and industry standards, including GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. These standards place emphasis on the types of data being processed by applications, and hence appsec teams can understand what applications process what types of sensitive data. Unfortunately, obtaining this visibility requires security teams to create, distribute, collect, and maintain questionnaires that recipients often fail to complete.

ASPM solutions have the ability to derive context around the consumption of sensitive data and use this information to enrich applicable security vulnerabilities. A vulnerability deployed to production that stands to disclose credit card numbers, for example, will likely be treated with the highest of priority as a means of avoiding possible fines and other consequences associated with PCI DSS.

No more tedious questionnaires!

4. How do I automate ticket creation for vulnerabilities?

Once you know what needs to be fixed and who needs to fix it, the task of remediating the issue needs to be handed off to the individual or team that can implement a fix. This could involve taking hundreds or thousands of vulnerabilities, de-duplicating them, and grouping them into actionable tasks while automating creation of tickets in a format that is consumable by the receiving team. This is a complex workflow that not only involves automating correctly formatted tickets with the right level of remediation information, but also tracking the entire lifecycle of that ticket until remediation, followed by reporting of KPIs. ASPM solutions like Tromzo are perfectly suited to automate these ticketing and governance workflows, since ASPMs already centralize all vulnerabilities and have the appropriate contextual and ownership metadata.

Leverage ASPM to Accelerate Vulnerability Remediation

ASPM solutions enable Rapid7 customers to accelerate the remediation of vulnerabilities found by their preferred security testing technologies. With today’s complex hybrid work environments, the increased innovation and sophistication of attackers, and the underlying volatile market, automated code-to-cloud visibility and governance is an absolute must for maximizing operational efficiency, and Tromzo is here to help. Check out for more information.