New Year, New Public Sector Vulnerability Management Goals

Jan 5, 2023
Kenna Security

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By now, most people are back in the office, slogging through emails, catching up with coworkers, and struggling to remember exactly what their job description entails. But before you get pulled back into the regular work cadence and the momentum of the new year begins to wane, seize this opportunity to reflect on the past year’s successes and lessons learned to set goals for yourself and your vulnerability management program.

As a public sector security leader, one key factor to consider is how well your risk remediation program aligns with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Binding Operational Directives (BODs) which provide guidance on how to secure federal networks and critical infrastructure against cyber threats. These directives are mandatory for public agencies, and failure to comply can result in serious consequences.

Why risk-based puts you ahead of the class

At the end of 2021, CISA announced BOD 22-01, requiring public agencies to focus remediation efforts on active exploits listed in a catalog maintained by the agency. This move signaled to all in the cybersecurity space that a risk-based approach to vulnerability management had gone mainstream. Often viewed as a change-resistant, evolutionary holdout, the federal government took a revolutionary stand for risk-based prioritization as the future of vulnerability management.

Risk-based vulnerability management helps teams prioritize vulnerabilities based on their potential impact on the organization and allocate resources accordingly. By focusing on the most critical vulnerabilities first, you can effectively mitigate the most significant risks to your organization.

But not all risk-based vulnerability management solutions are created equal. Leading vendors leverage advanced data science, predictive algorithms, and enhanced real-world threat intelligence to bake context and emerging data into their prioritization, instilling teams with data-backed confidence and a single source of truth. Even better, these top tier solutions cut down on the manual labor often associated with vulnerability investigation, prioritization, reporting, and understanding the implications of a breach. IT and Security get more time back and smooth out time-consuming operational inefficiencies, while leadership can better understand and buy into a risk-based approach.

Kick 2023 off with these critical changes

So, what can you do to start the new year off right and amend your vulnerability management program to meet the CISA BODs? Here are a few ideas:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of your current program. Before making any changes, it’s a healthy practice to audit your approach to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current program. Perform a comprehensive assessment to identify inefficiencies, opportunities for automation, and areas that are already in compliance with CISA mandates.
  • Embrace risk based. Adding a risk-based vulnerability management solution to your stack will amplify your risk reduction, help you realize time and cost savings, and align stakeholders around your efforts. A risk-based vulnerability management approach is also paramount to building overall security resilience, the key to long-term survival in the evolving threat landscape.
  • Get the intel you need to make the best decisions. In an increasingly high-risk world, future-defining decisions will have to be made faster than ever. Your ability to make those decisions with confidence lies in the data you have available. Explore adding enhanced threat feeds to your vulnerability management program to stay up to date on the latest exploits, predictions, and catch emerging vulnerabilities that CISA may have missed.
  • Fine tune your remediation strategy. Operationalize your risk-based approach to achieve a steady state of readiness and remediation so when that next vulnerability shows up on your radar, your teams move with well-practiced efficiency.
  • Regularly review and update your program. Vulnerability management is an ongoing process, and it is essential to regularly review and update your program to ensure it remains effective. This may include implementing new technologies, updating policies and procedures, and providing ongoing training to employees.

Make 2023 the year you realize resilience

Don’t let the minutia of day-to-day work cause you to miss this opportunity to start fresh and make big and bold goals for you and your agency. By following these steps and implementing a risk-based approach to vulnerability management, you can start the new year off right and update your program to meet the CISA BODs. There’s too much at stake to rely on the status quo for another year.

For more information on how you can transform your vulnerability management program, explore these public sector security resources.

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