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Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management

Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management

Major data breaches attract media coverage and public scrutiny which is why vulnerability response requires proactive IT management.

With all the changes to technology as well the recent Canadian privacy breach notification rules that changed November 1, 2018, organizations need to be more cautious and proactive when it comes to IT management, security, and data.

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Why Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management?

For organizations that suffer a cyber security breach, the consequences can be catastrophic. This can range from loss of reputation and confidence resulting in an impact to the bottom line. As cyber criminals and hackers ramp up their attacks, they are turning to advanced technologies including artificial intelligence to confuse users and gain access to sensitive data.

Tech Stats: 48% of companies have experienced a data breach, and the severity and volume of cyberattacks continue to increase. A global survey of nearly 3,000 cybersecurity professionals shows that organizations can dramatically reduce the risk of being breached by improving end-to-end vulnerability response processes.

A recent survey of over 3,000 cyber security professionals around the globe found that almost half of organizations suffered a data breach in the last two years. The majority of those were breached because of a vulnerability that had a patch available however it was not installed until after the breach. This is a perfect example of why more effective vulnerability response is needed so IT departments or managed IT services providers can close these attacks before a hacker strikes the network.

In the study, they investigated why the other 52% were successful at avoiding the breaches. These organizations were much more successful at detecting vulnerabilities and proactive patching in a timely manner.

There is major confusion where organizations face a paradox. Hiring more people does not mean you will have better security. The big issue comes down to how organizations, IT departments, and managed IT service providers struggle with proactive patch management due to manual processes or they cannot prioritize what needs to be patched.

Data Breaches Are More Common Than You Think

Data breaches are in the headline news. Government agencies, as well as insurance carriers offering cyber insurance, are making everyone accountable for their actions.

When a retailer experiences a breach and expose credit card numbers to cyber criminals or financial institutions breach data, many of them face reputation, credibility, and in some cases government scrutiny whenever consumer financial data is compromised.

Here are some alarming stats on cyber breaches long-lasting business consequences.

  • 48% of respondents reported one or more data breaches in the last two years.
  • A breach with 10,000 records would cost the breached party an average of $2.8 million.
  • Average cost per record breached is $141 worldwide
  • Average cost per record breached is $200 in the United States
  • 43% of companies in Germany experienced a breach
  • 52% of companies in Australia and New Zealand experienced a breach
  • 50% of companies in the United States experienced a breach

When you see these numbers, the scale of the cyber security breach affecting millions of records is an enormous impact.

Cyber Security Teams Are Great But Hackers Are Winning

Over the past several years, cyber security breach rates have increased even with cyber security teams adopting new approaches to stop or slow them down. Cyber criminals are outpacing enterprises with cyber security teams by using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Tech Stats:There has been a 15% increase incyberattack volumes over the last 12 months.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a big game changer as it has been transforming how hackers attack. They are now using self-learning to be more effective at spear phishing.

Given this high and potentially growing cyber security breach rate, it is important to how cyber security teams prevent breaches including how to adapt their success in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) market.

Large Successful Organizations Know Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management

Large organizations have deeper pockets and usually adapt technology and security before the smaller organizations however everything trickles down eventually. Good managed IT service providers take enterprise tools, policies and procedures, and bring them down to the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) market.

Tech Stats:There has been a 23% increase incyberattack severityover the last 12 months

Many cyber security studies have shown how organizational capabilities affect cyber security breach rates.

Organizations that were successful at avoiding cyber security breaches have two key points.

  • They detected the vulnerability much quicker
  • The had a proactive IT management and maintenance plan so they would patch vulnerabilities quicker

This is where a good and reputable managed IT services MSP helps a small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). They take enterprise tools such as Remote monitoring and management (RMM) and provide proactive IT management as it involves the integration of a network monitoring software into a company and a strategy used by IT professionals to correct device and network errors in the workplace.

This is only one process of many that can keep networks and computers running at their top functionality.

Proactive patching and IT management are the most significant characteristic of companies that are not breached. Detecting vulnerabilities and patching vulnerabilities are key things that lead to successful organizations against cyber security breaches.

Tech Stats:Over 57% of respondents who reported a breach said that they were breached due to a vulnerability for which a patchwas available but not applied.

Usually, when a vulnerability is made public, most unsuccessful IT departments and managed IT services MSP providers scramble to apply the patch. These patches are usually already available and proactive organizations have them in place almost immediately. Unfortunately, cyber criminals and hackers target organizations before patches ofthe vulnerability are available resulting in a very high risk of a data breach.

Given the importance of detecting and patching vulnerabilities proactively, this is a very important policy and procedures to close the gaps therefore helping organizations avoid cyber security breaches.

Audit Your Patches and Updates To Close The Gap

Cyber criminals and hackers are getting smarter and they rely on organizations not being proactive when it comes to their IT management and IT maintenance. Most security reports show that a major proportion of companies that were breached did not audit their patches and updates with a simple scan for vulnerabilities, leaving their organizations exposed to undetected vulnerabilities.

By auditing your patches and update, this will close the gap on cyber security breach rates.

Check out these alarming statistics that did not audit:

  • 56% reported being breached compared to the 45% that did audit
  • 32% reported the cyber security breach was due to hacking
  • 20% was the reduction exposure rate for organizations
  • 37% reported they were breached due to not auditing for vulnerabilities
  • 29% reported a decrease in time window for patching over the last two years
  • 61% reported that a manual process put them at a disadvantage when patching vulnerabilities
  • 53% reported that the time window for patching between patch release and hacker attack has decreased by 29% over the last two years.

Manual Patching and Process Cannot Compete With Proactive Patching

As mentioned before, cyber criminals and hackers have increased their attacks as well at the severity, so they are not only faster, they are going at it harder and faster.

Most report that the time window for patching between patch release and hacker attack has decreased, the new threat comes down to artificial intelligence (AI) cyber security attacks. As these become more prevalent, everyone can expect that window to shrink even further.

Manual patching and processes put organizations at a disadvantage when patching vulnerabilities as this does not prevent data breaches resulting in cyber security teams and managed IT service providers needing to patch more quickly.

Tech Stats:65%say that it is difficult to prioritize what needs to be patched first

By using a manual process, this compromises the ability to patch in a timely manner resulting in more time navigating the manual processes rather than responding to vulnerabilities.

  • 16% reported they are solely responsible for patching
  • An average of 12.1 days lost coordinating across teams for every vulnerability they patch.
  • 73% reported no common view of assets and applications across security and IT infrastructure
  • 57% reported missing or things slipping through the cracks because emails and spreadsheets are used to manage the patching process
  • 62% reported no easy way to track whether vulnerabilities of being patched in a timely manner
  • 65% reported they find it difficult to prioritize what needs to be patched first

Organizations need to accurately prioritize vulnerabilities and know the severity including how it will affect their business. By automating routine activities and breaking down process and data barriers, security organizations can dramatically accelerate the patching process as well as keep pace with hackers and cyber criminals.

Managed IT Service Provider Automate Instead of Manual Processes

Good and reputable managed IT services providers MSP automate this procedure in a proactive manner to better serve their client portfolio. ConnectWise Automate is one example of a powerful remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution to help eliminate IT inefficiencies and proactively management and maintain a network. This tool gives the ability to automate and provide proactive IT service delivery.

These tools cover five major areas if an organization understands vulnerability response requires proactive IT management in order to reduce cyber security threats.

These tools allow organizations to gain more time to complete non-critical IT tasks as these tools can remotely discover and automatically deploys agents to all organization endpoints.

These tools allow for better time management and not to waste time driving to an onsite fix. Organizations can quickly jump into issue resolution immediately, without leaving your chair or interrupting a user.

Cyber security comes down to keeping an environment secure and monitored for patch compliance with automated staged deployment of the most current Windows patches.

These tools allow IT departments or managed IT service providers to find IT problems before they find you with more than 500 out-of-the-box monitors.

These tools allow IT department or managed IT services providers the ability to fix problems as soon as they’re detected with over 400 scripts for self-healing and proactive maintenance.


Many issues can be solved by hiring more people however many organizations may not be able to hire their way out of cyber security vulnerability. ISACA which is a global non-profit IT advocacy group stated that the global shortage of cyber security professionals will reach 2 million by 2019.

Tech Stats:There will be a 2 million global shortage of cyber security professionals by 2019

Even online job boards such as Indeed report that demand is high with 6.67 clicks for every 10 cyber security jobs posted in the US. Imagine the need worldwide. Given that this is heavy process challenges for cyber security teams and managed IT services providers MSP, additional staff will not solve the fundamental issue.

According to multiple studies, here are some alarming statistics:

  • 73% reported they have no common view of assets and applications when comparing security and IT
  • 57% reported things get missed because emails and spreadsheets are used to manage manual patching process
  • 62% reported there is no easy way to track vulnerabilities and patched in a timely manner.

All of these point to a lack of integration, processes, and visibility. These all are needed to control across the entire vulnerability response lifecycle and automation is a path forward.

By automating and using proactive IT management,this will increase response processes and elevate staff to focus on more critical work such as reducing data cyber breach rates.

Recommendations On Why Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management

The quicker you start, the lower the risk. Cyber data breach rates are very high. With the emergence of artificial intelligence AI is fueling cyber threats with a major increase in the volume, speed, and effectiveness of cyber attacks even further.

Organizations cannot rely on simply hiring due to a talent shortage. Organizations need to stop the manual processes they use today and use tools to be proactive. Security teams need to learn from organizations that avoid breaches and focus on resolving the issues identified in this report.

Based on industry best practices, here are five key recommendations that provide a road map to reduce the risk of a cyber security breach:
Take an inventory of vulnerability response capabilities. Organizations need to take two key capabilities of organizations in to consideration in order to avoid a cyber security breach. You need to detect vulnerabilities and patch them in a timely manner. This includes problematic areas, such as cross-department coordination, lack of asset and application visibility. You need to score these areas by estimating the existing risk based on the delays they introduce into the vulnerability patching process.

Accelerate and attach the easy stuff. Start with the basic that you can address quickly. If the cyber security team or managed IT services provide MSP don’t scan for vulnerabilities, they need to make it a top priority to acquire and deploy a vulnerability scanner. If they do scan, they need to make sure they are doing both external and internal scans, including authenticated scans. Prioritization is essential as well as understanding the business importance of the affected system. By integrating threat intelligence, organizations can factor in whether a vulnerability has been weaponized or is part of an active campaign.

Eliminate data barriers and flatten security and IT. Eliminate barriers and create common ground combining vulnerability and IT in a single platform. This is the building blocks for more advanced capabilities, such as prioritizing vulnerabilities and routing vulnerabilities to the IT department or managed IT services provider for patching.

Definition is everything. Define vulnerability response and processes so you can automate as much as possible. The more you repeat your vulnerability response processes, the more you increase accuracy. This therefore reduces risk and eliminates rework or open gaps in your security. Workflow and process automation adds to this by increases efficiencies, accelerates patching and reduces staff requirements. You need to automated routing, status tracking, measurable SLAs, and automated escalations. Ensure your cyber security team and managed IT services providers MSP have a shared view of these processes and procedures.

Talent and partners. Organizations need to retain talent and hire reputable managed IT services providers MSP that will be focusing on your environment proactively. Creating the right environment is the best way to attract and retain talent in a competitive market. Managed services providers allow for internal barriers to be eliminated and well as create optimized processes. The will also automate work that will dramatically increase productivity and eliminate frustration.

Vulnerability Response Requires Proactive IT Management Conclusion

Cyber criminals and hackers are dominating the news and headlines. They are becoming faster and more intelligent by expanding their tools, arsenal, cyber-attacks plans. This is making everyone double their efforts to keep data and networks secure by using proactive IT management.

The realization is most victims being breached is happening because of unpatched known software vulnerabilities. There is a lack of ineffective vulnerability response and it is being used as a critical weapon in the cyber security arsenal. High-performing cyber security teams and managed IT services providers consistently outperform other organizations because they detect vulnerabilities quickly and patch them in a proactive timely manner.

Unfortunately many cyber security teams are struggling to build these capabilities and looking to managed IT services providers to help fill in the gap. Many are disadvantaged by manual processes including manual tools and data. Most don’t have the time or resources they need to patch in a proactive timely manner. As a result, these organizations suffer significantly breach rates, putting their business and customers at risk.

The good news is that these barriers can be removed by automating routine processes and taking care of basic items. Cyber security teams as well as managed IT services providers can significantly reduce the risk of a cyber security breach.

Our complimentary network and security assessment can put together a custom cloud plan for your organization.

365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting boutique firm offering industry leading IT solutions including Managed IT Services,IT Support Services, IT Outsourcing Services, Tech Support Services, and Cloud Services.


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