Learn about what cybersecurity remediation is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to protect your business from cyberattacks.
Threats to an organization’s cybersecurity are on the rise, but most businesses don’t understand how to remediate those threats. Creating a system to identify and fix gaps in your IT systems is essential to a successful cyber risk management program.
This process of identifying and fixing problems is called cybersecurity remediation. It’s a structured approach that your organization should create and use to intercept IT security threats before they do harm, as well as to resolve any issues that may have already occurred.
A security threat is something that infiltrates your IT system with the goal of stealing your information, hurting your operations, or damaging your software and hardware. Today there are more cyber threats than ever, and they are constantly evolving. Some of the most common cybersecurity threats include malware, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and ransomware – the most popular and lucrative method of cyberattack today.
Benefits of Cybersecurity Remediation
When successful, cyberattacks can devastate a business. The damage can include costs to fix the problem, lost revenue due to disruption, a ruined reputation, regulatory enforcement, and more. Your organization can’t afford not to invest in cybersecurity.
If your organization lacks the cybersecurity defenses necessary to protect your data and operations, you’re an easier target for cybercriminals. Failing to notice and take action to remediate a security breach can cause irreparable harm to your organization.
Cybersecurity remediation aims to detect and contain threats to your security before they spread. To do so, you’ll need continuous visibility into your internal and third-party network infrastructures, so you’re able to identify new threats quickly and address them before they can be exploited by threat actors.
The quicker you’re able to identify network gaps, the better your chances of eliminating them before they’re exploited.
Strategies for Cybersecurity Remediation
One of the easiest ways to locate and remediate vulnerabilities is by using vulnerability databases to see whether any of the software your organization uses contains a “known” vulnerability – one that has been publicly identified and can be patched. Those databases, however, only contain known vulnerabilities. It’s not enough to rely on them alone to inform a comprehensive cybersecurity remediation plan.
Regularly updating software and applying patches to software vulnerabilities is another easy way you can remediate known cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your software. That said, this is a never-ending process, as hackers are always developing ways to evade newly updated systems or to penetrate the cloud systems that are essential to business operations.
Your organization probably already has some defenses against cyber threats in place as part of your cybersecurity plan. Antivirus software and firewalls, for example, are a great starting point for all organizations – but, again, they won’t be enough to protect against the threats that exist in today’s complex cybersecurity landscape.
Always remember that no endpoint is immune to all threats, even with the strongest cybersecurity solutions in place. No matter the state of your cybersecurity program, cybersecurity remediation is a critical component of cybersecurity risk management.
Cybersecurity remediation is a process that you’ll practice over and over again to protect your business from new threats as they emerge. A cybersecurity remediation plan can guide you through this process, so it’s best to create a plan that’s easy to replicate.
At the most basic level, all cybersecurity remediation plans should contain certain elements. They are as follows.
Perform a Risk Assessment
A risk assessment is the process of gathering intelligence about the potential vulnerabilities in your systems and operations that might leave you susceptible to cyber threats. It is the first and most essential element of a cybersecurity remediation plan.
Begin with an audit of your current IT environment: a full review of your system assets, processes, and operations. This will create a baseline against which to measure future risk assessments, and help you to establish proper defense in the areas where you’re most vulnerable.
Some other things you should consider when preparing for a risk assessment include an inventory of your existing security architecture, programs, firewall configurations, or threat detection systems; a review of your antivirus standards, patching processes, and wireless networks configurations; and an examination of your third-party vendors and their networks.
The goal of a risk assessment is to create a total inventory of your IT assets, determine a standard for cataloging risk and vulnerabilities, and make it easier to prioritize which vulnerabilities should be remediated first.
A risk assessment can be conducted by your in-house IT department and members of executive management, or it can be done by a third-party cybersecurity partner that’s equipped to handle the needs of your business.
Set Up a Monitoring Process
Next, set up a continuous monitoring system that alerts you to any potential issues. This process is called active monitoring for network security. It includes collecting and examining security data and escalating threats for remediation when necessary.
A monitoring process is especially important for businesses that have large numbers of unsecured laptops, smartphones, or other internet-enabled devices on their network. More unmonitored endpoints mean you’re at greater risk of a data breach, particularly when security isn’t a priority.
Using the information produced during the risk assessment, make a list of all your security vendors, programs, and platforms in your cybersecurity ecosystem. Update this list with any new information regarding threats or security patches that need to be addressed as they’re discovered.
Your active monitoring process should be designed to warn you of threats before they become a serious problem, and will help reduce your incident response time when a cyberattack occurs.
Solve for Vulnerabilities
Using the information you’ve collected during your risk assessment and throughout your monitoring process, start applying solutions to your identified vulnerabilities.
Begin by charting your known vulnerabilities and then assigning a level of risk to each. You should also try to estimate how much effort it will take to resolve each vulnerability and then come up with a plan that addresses the issue and aligns with your IT system configurations.
During this step, it’s important that you work with your vendors, IT staff, and security teams to make sure that you create a plan that addresses vulnerabilities throughout your organization.
Train Your Employees
Once you have a plan in place to address the known vulnerabilities in your network and systems, you’ll need to impart this information to those responsible for actually carrying out the remediation efforts.
You should also provide regular training for all employees so they’re less likely to fall victim to cybercriminals’ attempts to bypass the other security measures you have in place. Phishing emails and other social engineering attempts are one of the most successful ways that cybercriminals gain access to your systems, and your employees should be able to identify these attempts before making the mistake of clicking a link or entering login credentials.
Threat actors know that employees are often the weakest link, and will do anything they can to infiltrate your systems. Regularly training your employees is the best way to avoid these types of incidents.
For the best results, you’ll want to repeat the above process regularly (at least once a year). This will help to guarantee that your ongoing security efforts achieve the best cybersecurity remediation for your business.
A cybersecurity remediation plan isn’t something you’ll only execute once. It’s an ongoing process that should be reviewed regularly so it’s relevant to your IT environment throughout your operations.
Make Cybersecurity Remediation Easy with ZenGRC
Remediating your cybersecurity vulnerabilities can be especially difficult without a clear picture of your full threat landscape. The right governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) software can help you see that big picture for cybersecurity remediation.
ZenGRC from Reciprocity is an integrated platform that gives you real-time and continuous monitoring of your organization’s vulnerability management efforts. Through automation and integration, ZenGRC allows for a complete view of your vulnerabilities, creating visibility and scalability throughout your entire organization.
Zen can also help you implement, manage, and monitor your risk management program as well as your remediation tasks. It lets you prioritize tasks so that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. And its user-friendly dashboards make it easy to review ‘to do’ and ‘completed’ tasks.
Workflow tagging lets you easily assign tasks for the activities involved in risk assessment, risk analysis, and risk mitigation. And when audit time rolls around, ZenGRC’s “single source of truth” audit-trail document repository lets you quickly access the evidence you need of data confidentiality, integrity, and availability as required by law.
With ZenGRC, a team of cybersecurity professionals is always looking out for your organization and its assets to make sure you get the best protection against security breaches and cyberattacks.
To see how ZenGRC can help your organization with cybersecurity remediation, contact us for a demo today. That’s worry-free risk management – the Zen way.