Risk management is a vital part of your business operations. Rather than focusing solely on vulnerability reports or remediation activities, risk management takes a more holistic look at the process of keeping your business as secure as possible.
Risk management can, of course, seem a bit overwhelming; the work is never-ending, threats are many and new threats crop up all the time. But the process doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult.
In fact, simplifying your procedures and activities may actually make it easier to manage risk effectively and efficiently. Here’s how you can simplify risk management.
Get Better Scan Results
One of the biggest problems that exists in vulnerability management is vulnerability scanning. While scanning itself is a good idea, the problem is twofold: one, most scans don’t accurately assess risk and give poor information about threats to your system, and two, scan reports can have so many items, with such poor information, that people are overwhelmed by them.
Instead of dealing with reported vulnerabilities, people may simply set the reports aside. When someone does decide to take action on report results, it’s often impossible to determine where to begin—and just as impossible to know if any item you’re remediating is actually making a difference to security in your organization.
While some might think this means you should simply avoid scanning in the first place, what it really means is that you should be using more intelligent scanning. Look for software and platforms that offer the ability to locate assets on the system and use contextual information about those assets to determine how much of a risk a threat actually poses. Yes, there might be a “big threat,” but if the threat is incapable of reaching the vulnerable asset, just how high is the risk of a security breach?
Better, more contextual information can help you assess risk more truly and accurate. That then allows you to better guide your remediation activities.
Stay on Your Toes
Many people equate security with compliance, which is a major mistake. Due to this belief, many firms simply leave off scanning their systems once they’ve completed their audits or achieved certification of compliance. If a standard mandates scanning once every six months or once a year, you might think you only need to scan that frequently.
That’s only true if you want to maintain your compliance, not your security. The environment is ever-shifting, and new threats crop up almost daily. If you don’t remain vigilant, your systems could be at risk or even under attack without your knowledge.
This is why security experts now advocate risk-based approaches to security and the idea that risk management is an ongoing, never-ending process. Continual monitoring of the environment is part and parcel of managing your risks. While that might sound like it could take more time, in the end, it is actually more effective to spend time remediating one or two small risks on a daily basis than to devote days or weeks of work to remediating vulnerabilities after you allowed them to pile up for six or 12 months after your last scan.
Use the Right Tools
Refining you process is a huge portion of simplifying risk management, but you can make managing risk even more simple and effective by ensuring that you’re using the right tools.
Technology might be responsible for some of the risks you face, but it can also help you combat those vulnerabilities. Platforms that allow you to use visual workflows to illustrate your process can help you manage the steps in your procedures (and avoid missteps). Some platforms let you combine vulnerability scanning and remediation management with compliance management, and some even offer you the option of automating some of your risk management operations. That can make managing risk much, much simpler—and more effective.