The Importance of Vulnerability Scanning in a WFH Environment
Published On: July 28th, 2020
In our previous article, we highlighted vulnerability scanning and its importance within a vast and complex IT infrastructure. These vulnerability scans, as their name suggests, helps to identify system-based and/or network-based vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors.
Although operating merely as a detective control, vulnerability scans function in the background without interfering with foreground system processes. Therefore, vulnerability scans are passive security controls that simply uncover possible vectors of attack without applying remediative solutions.
To ensure positive business continuity efforts, an automated solution is necessary to implement a proactive security monitoring and corrective cadence that is needed to facilitate critical business operations, especially in today’s climate.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, many IT companies have been forced to remodel their critical operational landscape, thus demanding that employees carry-out day-to-day tasks from the comfort of their homes. This universal shift in human resource management has introduced new threats and vulnerabilities that are creeping into corporate computing environments, as work-from-home (WFH) culture gradually becomes the norm.
With the lack of robust enterprise security solutions, attackers are adopting emerging tactics, techniques, and practices to exploit unknown weaknesses in home network infrastructures, thus widening possible points of entry into a home network and piggybacking such entry points to gain elevated privileges into corporate networks.
This article aims to dissect WFH-related vulnerabilities and threats, and portray the importance of an integrated automation solution as it relates to maintaining operational resilience and endpoint security management.
Current State of Businesses & Vulnerability Scanning During New WFH
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 29% of full-time employees in the United States were working from home before the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, according to Buffer, 99% of workers would opt for WFH if presented with the option to do so. Although the WFH culture provides ease of operation for employees, it introduces unknown threats and vulnerabilities into the corporate computing environment, thus adding undue burden for corporate IT teams.
A study performed in March 2020 monitored 41,000 organizations in the United States and compared the state of security between organizational networks and WFH networks; below are some of the key findings:
WFH networks are 3.5 times more likely to be infected by at least one family of malware.
WFH networks are 7.7 times more likely to be possessed by at least 5 distinct malware families – Such families include Mirai (20 times more likely to be in a WFH network) and Trickbot (3.75 times more likely to be in a WFH network).
More than 25% of home computing devices have some services that are exposed on the internet.
The Importance of Building a Resilient Security Posture During New WFH
Unlike WFH networks, organizations often employ multiple, integrative security solutions in Wi-Fi networking environments, to help defend against cyberattacks. Unfortunately, the architecture of WFH networks are not built to defend against advanced persistent threats nor withstand the likelihood and impact of unforeseen cyber risks.
These unforeseen cyber risks often prey on the need for human convenience and mobility while performing critical business operations. For instance, WFH environments usually do not possess secured networking devices, such as routers, modems, etc., to facilitate packet-level security. Consequently, people tend to utilize legacy devices due to their familiarity and comfort. Unfortunately, operating under such a scenario requires vulnerability scanning to identify necessary patch deployments, version updates, remote wiping, etc., for adequate security assurance.
Intelligent Automation Reduces the Need for Frequent Vulnerability Scanning
It is proven that automated endpoint management solutions are beneficial in the fight against cybersecurity incidents. Compared to traditional endpoint management solutions, an automated endpoint management solution integrates every-day security operational tasks into a robust aggregate of intelligent processes, which seamlessly maps threats, vulnerabilities, and related risks to specific endpoints across different locations.
This simple benefit of engaging intelligent automation to resolve security challenges opens up an endless opportunity for process scalability and customization of IT effort-based policy requirements.
Additionally, the deployment of automation in the endpoint management space ensures the proactive remediation of vulnerabilities, not just reactive after vulnerability scanning results come in, thus maintaining a preventive compliance posture across an enterprise computing environment.
Therefore, using automation to empower IT is a value add, which introduces the following business and technical benefits:
24/7 availability of a security-focused IT posture where talent is insufficient.
Reduced complexities in operational security processes and the repositioning of human time and attention, to achieve efficiency and productive solutions while also saving costs.
Elimination of human error and lack of awareness and training while dealing with critical security systems.
Security orchestration, automation, and response controls are only as good as the people implementing and managing them. Therefore, the results from an automated endpoint security management tool is directly correlated to the maintenance of said tool as well as the level of security awareness of the IT teams managing said tool.
For instance, if an endpoint security management tool requires an occasional password reset, it is crucial that IT employees adhere to a properly-defined organizational password management policy – failure to implement such policy-mandated cyber-hygiene automatically decreases the effectiveness of an automated security solution.
aiden and Vulnerability Scanning
aiden empowers IT teams to fix vulnerabilities and intelligently remediate emerging security threats within a global IT infrastructure by providing a security orchestration, automation, and response tool that focuses on a policy-based endpoint management structure for Windows Operating Systems.
With aiden’s automated endpoint management capabilities, a Managed Security Service Solution becomes accessible to endpoints across multiple geo-locations, thus eliminating challenges to operational security associated with the rapidly growing WFH corporate culture.
Therefore, organizations can be rest assured that security policies are being implemented; regulatory compliance requirements are being met; and WFH-related cyber-risks are adequately managed while moving forward at a pace that keeps an organization ahead of its competitors.
WFH has increased the range of challenges related to security vulnerabilities and attacks. Organizations need to implement modern security measures with the evolution of these threats. Intelligent automated endpoint management can provide one such solution as it is capable of finding and proactively remediating vulnerabilities, making the organization secure without wasting their valuable time and reducing reliance on vulnerability scanning to point them in the right direction.