Why the right metrics are important when it comes to vulnerability management

Vulnerability Management

How is your vulnerability management program doing? Is it effective? A success? Let’s face it: without the right metrics or analytics, how can you tell how well you’re doing, how much progress you’re making, and whether you’re getting ROI? If you don’t measure, how do you know it works?

And even if you do measure, poor reporting or a focus on the wrong metrics can create blind spots and make it harder to communicate any risks to the rest of the company.

So how do you know what to focus on? Cyber ​​hygiene, scan coverage, average remediation time, vulnerability severity, remediation rates, vulnerability exposure… the list is endless. Every tool on the market offers different metrics, so it can be difficult to know what’s important.

This article will help you identify and define the key metrics you need to track the status of your vulnerability management program and the progress you’ve made, so you can create audit-ready reports that:

  • Prove your security position
  • Meet SLAs and benchmarks for vulnerability resolution
  • Help pass audits and compliance
  • Demonstrate the ROI of security tools
  • Simplify the risk analysis
  • Prioritize resource allocation

Why you need to measure vulnerability management

Metrics play a crucial role in measuring the effectiveness of your vulnerability and attack surface management. By measuring how quickly you find, prioritize and resolve errors, you can continuously monitor and optimize your security.

With the right analytics, you can see which problems are more important, determine what to solve first, and measure the progress of your efforts. Ultimately, the right metrics allow you to make informed decisions so you allocate resources to the right places.

The number of vulnerabilities found is always a good starting point, but in itself it does not say much. Where to start without prioritizing, giving advice and making progress? Finding, prioritizing, and resolving your most critical vulnerabilities is much more important to your business operations and data security than just finding every vulnerability.

Intelligent prioritization and filtering out the noise are important because it’s all too easy to miss real security threats when you’re overwhelmed by non-essential information. Intelligent results make your job easier by prioritizing things that have a real impact on your safety, without burdening you with irrelevant weaknesses.

For example, your Internet-facing systems are the easiest targets for hackers. Prioritizing issues that expose this will make it easier to minimize your attack surface. Tools such as Intruder make vulnerability management easy, even for non-experts, by explaining the real risks and providing remediation advice in easy-to-understand language. But besides setting priorities, what else should or could you measure?

Vulnerability management
An example of Intruder’s vulnerability management report page

5 top metrics for any vulnerability management program

Scan coverage

What do you track and scan? Scan coverage includes all assets you manage and analytics on all business-critical assets and applications, and the type of authentication offered (for example, username and password-based, or unauthenticated).

As your attack surface evolves, changes and grows over time, it’s important to keep an eye on any changes to coverage and your IT environment, such as recently opened ports and services. A modern scanner detects deployments you may not have been aware of and prevents your sensitive data from being inadvertently exposed. It should also monitor your cloud systems for changes, discover new assets, and automatically sync your IPs or hostnames with cloud integrations.

Average time to repair

The time it takes your team to resolve your critical vulnerabilities shows how responsive your team is in responding to the results of reported vulnerabilities. This should be consistently low because the security team is responsible for resolving issues and communicating the message and action plans for remediation to management. It should also be based on your predefined SLA. The severity of the vulnerability should have a corresponding relative or absolute time period for planning and remediation.

Risk score

The severity of each issue is automatically calculated by your scanner, usually Critical, High or Medium. Deciding not to patch a specific or group of vulnerabilities within a certain period of time is an acceptance of risk. Intruder allows you to postpone a problem if you are willing to accept the risk and there are mitigating factors.

For example, if you are preparing for a SOC2 or ISO audit and you see a critical risk, you may be willing to accept it because the resources required to resolve the problem are not justified by the actual level of risk or the potential impact on the situation. Company. When it comes to reporting, your CTO will want to know how many issues are on snooze and why!

Issues

This is the point from a vulnerability becoming public to scanning all targets and detecting any issues. How quickly are vulnerabilities on your attack surface detected so you can fix them and reduce the opportunity for an attacker.

What does this mean in practice? As your attack surface increases, you’ll find that it takes longer to comprehensively scan everything, and your average time to detect may increase as well. Conversely, if your average detection time remains the same or decreases, you are using your resources effectively. If you start to see the opposite, you should ask yourself why it takes longer to detect things? And if the answer is that the attack surface has increased, you may need to invest more in your tools and security team.

Vulnerability management

Measuring progress

Prioritization – or intelligent results – is important to help you decide what to fix first because of its potential impact on your business. The Intruder filters out the noise and helps reduce false positives, which is an important metric to track because once you’ve reduced the amount of noise, you can go back and focus on the most important metric: the average time to fix the problem to solve.

Why is this important? Because if you do notice a problem, you want to be able to solve it as quickly as possible. Tools like Intruder use multiple scanning engines to interpret the output and prioritize results based on context, so you can save time and focus on what really matters.

Vulnerability management
When a new vulnerability is identified that could critically impact your systems, Intruder will automatically initiate a scan

Attack surface monitoring

This helps you see the percentage of assets protected on your attack surface, discovered or undiscovered. As your team spins up new apps, the vulnerability scanner should monitor when a new service is exposed so you can prevent data from being exposed unintentionally. Modern scanners monitor your cloud systems for changes, find new assets, and sync your IPs or hostnames with your integrations.

Why is this important? Your attack surface will inevitably evolve over time, from opening ports to setting up new cloud instances. You should monitor these changes to minimize your exposure. That’s where our attack surface detection comes in. The number of new services discovered during the specified period helps you understand whether your attack surface is growing (intentionally or unintentionally).

Vulnerability management

Why these statistics matter

Modern attack surface management tools like Intruder measure what matters most. They help deliver stakeholder reporting and compliance on prioritized vulnerabilities and integrations with your issue tracking tools. You can see what’s vulnerable and get the exact priorities, solutions, insights and automation you need to manage your cyber risks. If you want to see Intruder in action, you can request a demo or try it out 14 days free.



#metrics #important #vulnerability #management

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