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8 benefits organisations can get from adopting a risk-based vulnerability management (RBVM)

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Intro to RBVM

In the US alone, there are 2,200 cyber attacks every day. This equates to an organisation suffering a cyber attack every 39 seconds. Every day.

Security teams are often under resourced, burning out, and lack the context they need to accurately prioritise vulnerabilities.

Risk-based Vulnerability Management is a strategic way for organisations to identify, assess and prioritise vulnerabilities based on their potential impact. RBVM allows organisations to overcome the limitations of CVSS and focus on the most critical risks first. Businesses can optimise their security efforts and reduce the likelihood of a breach by up to 80%, according to Gartner Research.

Before getting to the 8 key benefits, we want to share the key points Cytidel Co-Founder, Conor Flannery, made when speaking at the Irish Information Security Forum (IISF) in early 2023. In his talk, Conor discussed why CVSS is failing organisations, and what approach needs to be taken to respond to the challenges security teams now face.

CVSS limitations and our RBVM approach

Organisations currently prioritise the technical risks and vulnerabilities on their network based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) a global industry standard for classifying vulnerabilities and assigning a risk score to them. This approach leaves a lot to be desired, with significant effort wasted patching software with a high risk score, yet low actual risk.

Many security teams currently aim to fix all vulnerabilities with a CVSS score of 7 or higher. In 2022, this would have meant patching 14,447 new vulnerabilities. That’s just under 40 a day, even if your Security and IT operations worked 7 days a week. An impossible task, but also an approach that lacks context. In reality, only the vulnerabilities falling under the red circle above require attention as these are the gaps in your network which will lead to a breach and are currently being attacked by hackers.

To do this, we need a new approach. A risk-based approach.

This image is taken from a Gartner paper written in 2019 about vulnerability management and it covers the four main pillars for evaluating the true risk of a vulnerability. Starting at the bottom right, we have Vulnerability Severity, which is just CVSS.

Moving to the left we have Threat Context. This is the more temporal of the two values. It changes over time and needs to be updated over time. Essentially it covers; are there exploits publicly available for the vulnerability, are hacking groups actively running campaigns targeting that vulnerability, has it been observed as being exploited in the wild?

Now the top half of the puzzle, is the other side of the coin. You have a vulnerability, but where is it? What is the context of the asset is it affecting? This can be broken down into two main areas:

  1. If this asset was breached, what would be the impact on my business

  2. How hard is it to access the asset? How exposed is it to the public or how likely is it that a threat actor could get access to this asset.

When using measurable quantities to evaluate each of these 4 pillars, it allows you to more accurately prioritise your security teams efforts, targeting the vulnerabilities that matter most, first.

Below are 8 key benefits that every IT Security team should be aware of.

1. Prioritisation of threats

RBVM helps to identify, assess, and prioritise vulnerabilities based on the potential impact on the organisation, allowing the IT Security Team to focus on the most critical risks first. This is particularly important for businesses with limited resources, like a small IT Security Team.

2. Efficient resource allocation

By prioritising vulnerabilities, RBVM allows the IT Security Team to allocate their time and resources more efficiently, ultimately reducing the likelihood of a security breach.

3. Improved decision-making

RBVM provides a comprehensive view of the organisations security posture, enabling better decision-making regarding investments in security tools, processes, and personnel.

4. Regulatory compliance

Many regulatory frameworks, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS, require businesses to identify and address vulnerabilities in a timely manner. RBVM supports compliance efforts by ensuring that the most critical vulnerabilities are addressed first.

5. Reduced false positives

A risk-based approach can help eliminate false positives by focusing on vulnerabilities that pose a genuine threat to the organisation. This prevents the IT Security Team from wasting valuable time and resources.

6. Enhanced communication

RBVM allows for improved communication between the IT Security Team and other stakeholders, such as senior management and the board of directors, by providing clear metrics and context for the organisations overall risk exposure.

7. Cost savings

By focusing on the most critical vulnerabilities, RBVM can reduce the overall cost of managing vulnerabilities and minimise the impact of potential security breaches.

8. Continuous improvement

RBVM enables the organisation to continuously improve its security posture by regularly assessing and updating its risk profile, adjusting to changes in the threat landscape, and making informed decisions about where to invest resources.

How Cytidel can help

Cytidel is a cyber risk management platform made for security people, by security people. Our mission is to alleviate the stress on IT Security teams, improve their efficiency, and help them showcase better impact to the organisation. 

Our Vulnerability Risk Management product automates a risk-based vulnerability management approach for our customers, taking onboard each organisation’s individual context, and streamlining the vulnerability process for your IT Security teams. Cytidel's software automatically analyses an organisation’s network against our cyber threat intelligence database and prioritises risks based on the context of the organisation. This identifies the gaps that are most likely to lead to a hacker getting in, and mitigates the risk of the organisation suffering a data breach or negative media exposure.

According to Gartner research, organisations that have adopted this approach suffer 80% fewer breaches. Collating this risk data and analysis time can also save security teams 50% of the effort compared to previous methodologies.

Contact us

Don't leave your organisation's security to chance.

Contact us today to learn more about how our RBVM solution can help you realise the benefits of a more secure, efficient, and cost-effective approach to vulnerability management. 


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