A growing remote-work culture demands a graduation in the approach to security. It’s time to test, monitor, secure, and extend to the application layer.

A modern methodology for vulnerability management (VM) is vital for organizations looking to minimize attack surfaces by prioritizing potential threats. This includes identifying, evaluating, treating, and reporting on security risks across key systems and the software that runs on them. An example of this full-stack approach includes broader coverage of on-premises and virtual environments, inclusive of web-application testing, and leveraging best-in-class practices and tools.

A good place to start is establishing an asset management solution. Gaining a full understanding of the vulnerabilities associated with each asset across the network is key to informing stakeholders, prioritizing vulnerabilities, and remediating issues. Due to the persisting COVID-19 pandemic, these assets are increasingly part of a growing remote workforce continuously expanding every organization’s attack surface. As assets are no longer regularly connecting to corporate networks, traditional vulnerability scans aren’t possible.

This has paved the way for agents to plug that particular vulnerability. For instance, Rapid7’s Insight Agent is lightweight data-collection software you can install on any cloud-based asset.  Let’s take a more in-depth look at modern vulnerability risk management (VRM) and what to look for in a holistic solution.

The need for speed

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the evolution of security and protections for an unplanned, exponential growth in the global remote workforce. This means a faster digital transformation for every industry and organization. It means a faster pace of spinning up and scaling new apps. And it means quickening cloud adoption as IT teams scramble for accessible and reliable places to host mission-critical services. So how do we go about securing every layer in this new era of VRM?

  • Prioritizing vulnerabilities is more important than ever. Limited time and an ever-changing threat landscape make it unrealistic for teams to try and fix everything. Scrambling to do so could mean critical threats escaping through the cracks.
  • Developing strong partnerships has new meaning because, most likely, those partnerships will be virtual for the foreseeable future. Thus extra attention must be paid to maintaining them so there are more reliable eyes monitoring for vulnerabilities and ready to jump into action if a threat arises.  
  • Incorporating a full-stack approach means testing traditional and cloud infrastructure, and extends to the applications those environments host. Teams must move carefully, but also expediently when leveraging scan engines and agents to remotely monitor servers.  

With the acceleration of seemingly all security processes, it’s also important to remember to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. No matter how many fancy features, a solution is only worth the investment if it meets your organization’s unique needs and drives eventual ROI.

About that application layer

Gaining real-time understanding of an attack on your web apps provides actionable intelligence for quick remediation while providing an opportunity for a team teaching moment for the next time it happens. InsightAppSec and tCell from Rapid7 is a test-monitor-prevent solution that focuses on neutralizing vulnerabilities at the application layer.    

With guided remediation into web app flaws, you can begin building a road map for making more secure applications. You’ll start by scanning your applications in as few as five minutes so you can get visibility into the weaknesses that exist in your applications. From there, you’ll be able to view severity and remediation guidance, and share with key stakeholders to allow you to collaborate faster and scale easier. Scan on- and off-premises apps with InsightAppSec’s powerful cloud engines, accessing all of your internal and external scan configurations from a central console.

The ability to monitor more apps in more environments will be key for the future of your business, and is an extra layer of protection for vulnerabilities you can’t remediate in time. Finding solutions that include functionality to help your remediation stakeholders understand the context of the associated vulnerabilities (Attack Replay, granular remediation guidance, etc.) will allow you to partner more effectively.

An increased reliance on direct-to-cloud app deployment is a natural evolution. Benefits like higher baseline security, automated hardening, and increased flexibility are attractive. But all of that demands more time and more vigilance.

But what about the infrastructure? (People and machines)

Consider this: It’s not just about remediation, it’s also how you navigate the red tape. Grasping a more complete picture of how vulnerabilities translate to business risk is key not only for communicating those risks to higher-ups, but also maintaining and growing things like team headcount. After all, you have to have people to solve the problems. InsightVM, Rapid7’s vulnerability management solution, can help you understand and prioritize risk, with clarity.

Assume everything along your attack surface is being targeted by threat actors. These days, the reports of malicious events are coming more frequently. But covering local, remote, cloud, containerized, and virtual infrastructure is possible with InsightVM. It’s not a guaranteed catch-all solution, but it does provide the shared view and common language that can bring together traditionally siloed teams. It also paves the way for collaboration and accountability between those teams, making it easier for remediators to drive impact, celebrate progress, and improve ROI.  

With more fully supported integrations than any other VM vendor as well as the ability to automate virtually any aspect of vulnerability scanning with RESTful API, it’s now possible to get a near-complete story of the security of your infrastructure and how it affects business.

A fortified foundation

Together, InsightVM and InsightAppSec can be complementary solutions to security organizations looking to tailor or refine any on-premises, off-premises, or hybrid VRM program.  

  • Comprehensive visibility at the infrastructure layer empowers you to leverage people more efficiently.
  • Click-and-scan security testing at the application layer enables rapid return of actionable results … and peace of mind.
  • Robust reporting capabilities featured in both solutions make it easy to measure progress and report it to key stakeholders.
  • A single pane of glass is the best way to see real-time processes at work as well as the overall security status of your world.

A full-stack approach can help you secure every layer of your attack surface. Then someday, perhaps we won’t call it an “attack” surface anymore.

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