No doubt you’ve heard the term remediation management before. Maybe your IT security team is using it. Maybe you’ve heard it in tech or security circles. The idea seems simple enough: You manage remediation activities. But what exactly does that entail? And, more importantly, why should your business take it seriously?
What Is It?
Remediation management is the process of managing remediation activities. That seems straightforward enough, but how exactly are you supposed to accomplish that?
The management of remediation activities should actually be a cycle. The first step is often an evaluation—this could be a scan report or another result that tells you about vulnerabilities that currently exist on your systems. From there, your remediation team should prioritize addressing those flagged risks: Do they start with the biggest risks? How do they identify which risks are the biggest potential threats? Once priority order has been decided, the team can work through remediating those vulnerabilities. Solutions can include patching, suppressing, and simply monitoring vulnerabilities you know exist on the system.
Ideally, the team is also doing some ongoing monitoring of vulnerabilities that have already been remediated. They may be checking in on patches or ensuring that suppressed vulnerabilities aren’t being exploited. If a previously remediated vulnerability becomes a higher risk, then the team will need to take action. The team should also engage in ongoing scanning and testing activities, which renews the cycle of identifying and then remediating vulnerabilities.
Why Is It Important?
Many firms do their initial scans and simply stop there. They don’t do anything with the results; a report triggers no action. Similarly, many cyberattacks are reported, but few firms take action against them. That’s because they don’t view remediation activities as a high priority for their operations.
This makes relatively little sense, however. Once you’re aware of a vulnerability, it’s important to actually take action to prevent it from being exploited by cyberattackers. Not doing so is akin to leaving your front door wide open—you’re all but inviting attack on your systems. While some firms fail to prioritize remediation activities because of the costs involved or because of intimidation in face of the size of the task, there are plenty of tools and methods that can help you manage remediation activities efficiently and effectively. Remediation should never be set aside because you’re not sure where to begin.
Why Remediation Management Specifically?
As mentioned, some firms simply don’t know where to begin with remediation. If you’re just starting out, getting the results of your first scan can be absolutely daunting; reports can contain hundreds or thousands of items. Poor categorization of risk is a major flaw in most reports, which can make the task seem insurmountable. Where do you begin? If everything is priority, then nothing is priority—and your security team could waste a lot of time remediating items that don’t improve overall security, or they might miss “the big one.”
That situation is discouraging—and plenty of firms simply give up. A risk-based approach will help you manage the results of a vulnerability scan report more effectively. Remediation management is an even stronger tool to help combat remediation overload. Not only does it help break the tasks into bite-sized pieces, it also makes remediation an ongoing process. It’s easier to do a little each and every day than it is to deal with 500 or 1,000 items in the span of a few days. It’s also more effective in terms of security, as keeping your systems safe isn’t really a task you can “set and forget.” Firms that deal with remediation in a huge chunk, then set the task aside, are at risk for attack almost as soon as they stop.
In that sense, today’s businesses can never be too vigilant—and remediation management can help you stay on your toes.