Through the Lens of a Vulnerability Management Analyst

Over the last decade, we have seen a complete revolution in the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) we use to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks. Less than twenty years ago, Cybersecurity Team Leadership could effectively manage network security with a primary threat management team mainly based on human capabilities. However, this was in an entirely different world, and the digital age was still in its infancy. Also, this was long before the Covid-19 pandemic when nearly all businesses adopted remote and hybrid-based work platforms. Exponential technological advancements and the remote working revolution indirectly enabled unprecedented levels of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. As a result, in 2023, more than relying on human capital alone to manage network vulnerability will be required to match scopes of this caliber. This blog will discuss the difficulties Vulnerability Management (VM) Analysts face in their perpetual feud with cybercriminals and how modern, automated-based approaches can make their jobs easier.

Historically, security team VM Analysts will scrutinize their organization’s attack surface for known vulnerabilities susceptible to network breaches. Analysts will assess these findings, advise their leadership on risk evaluations, and recommend patching and additional network defense security postures. At first glance, this may seem like a simple role that, with the correct expertise and staffing, would be manageable in most organizations, which has been the case for decades. Although some level of human knowledge will always play an essential role in network security management, no amount or level of understanding could ever effectively manage the volume and scope of network vulnerabilities we are now experiencing. We will now delve into why VM is more challenging than ever.

As mentioned, the global Covid-19 pandemic led to a workplace revolution where remote workplaces became ubiquitous, and nearly all organizations adopted a hybrid work schedule. One unintentional consequence of this transition was exponentially higher network vulnerabilities, mainly due to remote-based employees using their personal networks to connect to their professional networks. As you probably know, the remote work schedule was hastily adopted during the pandemic, resulting in many new vulnerabilities, such as open ports, insecure software configurations, and outdated antimalware packages. Since the pandemic, remote-based work environments have earned a near-permanent slot in 2023 work life, meaning these colossal waves of new vulnerabilities will continue to haunt organizations’ network security teams. The vulnerability volume we are currently experiencing is far greater than any number or level of human labor could ever effectively manage. Furthermore, organizations that rely only on their VM Analysts to monitor their attack surface are only creating additional problems, which we will now discuss.

In the wake of the pandemic-induced transition to omnipresent remote workplaces, VM analysts worldwide were utterly overwhelmed with work. With every remote worker came countless new vulnerabilities. The math becomes simple when you imagine one team with several VM analysts assessing the attack surface of a company with hundreds to thousands of employees experiencing new network vulnerabilities daily. Based on this quick analysis, it becomes apparent that VM teams facing this workload would only be able to prevent and respond to some vulnerability-based cyber breaches effectively. One obvious and widely implemented quick fix to this dilemma was for companies to hire additional analysts to handle this enormous workload. However, this solution needed to be revised and cost-ineffective because, as the world soon learned, more than human labor is required to keep up with vulnerability levels in remote-based work environments. With this said, let’s talk about how VM analysts handle their work lives post-pandemic.

Like many cyber threat analysts, VM analysts are experiencing unprecedented levels of burnout. They find themselves overworked and exhausted and find little to no reward in their efforts since it is virtually impossible to successfully account for all an organization’s vulnerabilities without the help of newly available technology to complement their work. This industry “burnout” has led to an all-time low in analyst morale, further complicating the quest to find a way to conduct vulnerability management in modern workplaces.

What solution does the world need to help these overworked and disillusioned VM Analysts? The answer is a new tool by UltraRed called Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM). CTEM is an entirely new approach to vulnerability management and cybersecurity. Using CTEM, security teams are given real-time visibility into all their known and unknown assets while identifying and prioritizing the most threatening vulnerabilities using technology that dramatically increases threat detection efficiency and accuracy. Given the privilege of working with CTEM, VM analysts will have an undeniable advantage over their competitors and, more importantly, their vexing cyber adversaries.

From 2023 on, cybersecurity and vulnerability management will continue to evolve, and security teams must learn to adapt to the times. Security teams relying only on traditional methods will fail to develop optimal network security defense postures successfully. If you want to incorporate the CTEM platform into your organization’s network infrastructure, contact Ultra Red and request a free demo here.