Vulnerability Management in the Work from Home Era



Guest post from Jaquar Harris, Director of Intelligence Services at Global Resilience Federation.

The year 2020 has changed what “going to work” entails for professionals with many employees only “commuting” as far as the desk in their bedrooms, a home office or a quiet space away from the family.

Stanford economist and professor Nicholas Bloom, and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) published a study in 2014 on remote work which has been of increased interest regarding the evolution of the workforce. Bloom’s June 2020 brief also focuses on the policy and economic changes of our increased remote work force. Figures from the study indicate that nearly half of the U.S. labor force is now working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vulnerability management is critical because employees are accessing sensitive data through unsafe or unsecured wi-fi networks and using personal devices. 

Personnel Shortages Exacerbate the Problem 

For those of us within the information technology and cybersecurity industries, our focus is much more specific to securing our networks against vulnerabilities and preventing data leakage and exposure. While many industries are struggling to adequately staff their cybersecurity teams amidst the ever-challenging pandemic, the talent pool for the critically specific criteria to support cybersecurity in the legal services industry was extremely limited prior to the pandemic. 

The Information Systems Security Association recently published a report, The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2020” highlighting that 45% of the 327 global security and IT professionals surveyed think the cybersecurity skills shortage has worsened over the past few years. Managing an increase to the number of employees working remotely along with a shortage in cybersecurity staff creates an opportunity for vulnerabilities to be exploited and weaponized by threat actors.  

Identifying At-Risk Vulnerabilities 

A recent article published by David Habusha, the VP of Product at WhiteSource, highlights the importance of finding the vulnerabilities that present the most risk and quickly addressing them without slowing down the pace of development. By comparing the effectiveness of common prioritization methods, and how they measure up to hacker community preferences, the study showcases a deeper insight into how organizations remain behind the cybersecurity curve. The five common practices highlighted in the study include: 

  1. Severity 
  2. Application Type 
  3. Popularity 
  4. Disclosure Date 
  5. Ease of Remediation 

The research didn't cancel the validity of the five parameters we studied. Rather, it reinforces the understanding that prioritizing security vulnerabilities remediation is complex work. When assessing security alerts in order to fix the most critical issues first, it's important to create a methodology that focuses on the data that matters, going beyond the data that is the easiest or cheapest to access or resolve. 

Companies Need to Adapt 

Creating an appropriate security and IT policy is valuable but to mitigate these issuesvulnerability management teams need better information to be predictive and proactive. CYR3CON’s Find Ignored Threats Assessment enables cyber professionals to identify unknown threats to vulnerabilities and prioritize them based on the criticality of the threat.

For recent critical F-5 BIG-IP vulnerability CVE-2020-5902, CYR3CON’S PR1ORITY platform offers more than the general description of the vulnerability - the tool provides security teams with a full view of the vulnerability from PoC to analysis on hacker discussion regarding exploitation and weaponization. 

CYR3CON offers companies and organizations the opportunity to uncover these ignored threats using the Find Ignored Threats (F.I.T.) Assessment.  Complete the form or contact the CYR3CON team to schedule your assessment today.