You've done a vulnerability scan recently, and now that you're aware of the threats to your systems and operations, you know you need to work on remediating those security risks. But where do you start? In this case, the best place for any business to begin is not with remediation itself, but with remediation management.
Like many security-related activities, remediation is often mistakenly envisioned as a one-time thing: You remediate risks, and you're done. This view, unfortunately, leads many businesses to remain at risk, even after they've taken appropriate measures to ensure their security.
Rather than viewing remediation as an activity with an end—a one-time exercise—businesses are better served by the idea of remediation as an ongoing process. This is known as remediation management.
What Is Remediation Management?
Remediation management sees remediation as an ongoing process. It looks at remediation activity holistically, from end to end, beginning with identifying risks, and moving to mitigating risks, through to monitoring the effectiveness of solutions and keeping watch for additional risks as they crop up.
While most remediation activities may be focused on actually fixing and mitigating threats once they've been identified, the other activities are just as crucial. In fact, scanning for new risks, monitoring threats, and checking in on the effectiveness of solutions can help make the work of actually remediating risks easier.
Many businesses will simply scan their systems for risks in accordance with standards and legislation they need to comply with. Some businesses may scan more frequently, and others will look to remediating some of the larger risks facing their operations. But very few will fully remediate all of the risks they face; some may remediate none at all.
Obviously, that leaves organizations open to attack. So why don't more businesses remediate risks, even when they're aware of them? The answer is time and money. Without remediation management in place, remediating the results of a scan can be a momentous task, requiring huge IT resources. Worse, since few scans categorize risks effectively, the IT team may be remediating risks that are hardly threats, while failing to fix the bigger problems.
Many businesses see the way around this as simple avoidance. If they don't put time and money into remediation, they won't waste these precious resources.
A Better Solution
Clearly, businesses that opt not to use remediation management leave themselves at risk. The result is that they're often operating in crisis mode, hopping from one major risk to another, hoping that the IT team can discover and patch a problem before a major breach happens.
The better solution is, of course, to manage remediation effectively. When you receive a scan, be sure to use a risk-based approach to categorizing risks. A thousand-item scan doesn't seem so daunting when you know the first 15 items require immediate action, while the next 150 are lower-risk, and the remainder is very low risk. Your IT team can focus more readily on the items that need action now and work on those lower risk items later.
Once the remediation activity itself is done, the IT team can also keep an eye on systems and the solutions they've applied, identifying how effective patches are and identifying any new or recurring threats early on in the process. That saves time and money—and gives your business better, more reliable security.
How Does It Save?
Big problems cost a lot to fix. While remediation management might sound like a pricey proposition, it ultimately costs less than hopping from major crisis to major crisis, especially since it allows your IT team time to discover and fix both major and minor threats. That results in better security and fewer breaches of any kind.