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Risk Management: Understand Vulnerabilities First

It’s easy to see where an organization underspent or overspent in the evaluation and mitigation of risks ““ there’s almost always a point where, in hindsight, the right amount of control is discovered.

The solution, according to Peter Spier, is a mix between business minded and technical risk management. The balance helps create a solution that is both cost and needs effective.

By using a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), an organization can identify “vulnerability access vectors, complexity, authentication requirements, and the potential impact to confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” However, having these security controls in place doesn’t make you invulnerable:

For example, suppose a database server is identified as being prone to one or more SQL injection vulnerabilities. It is isolated to a dedicated network segment with established access controls restricting communications to authorized internal hosts and the entirety of network assets protected by host-based and perimeter security controls including, respectively, both anti-virus protection and an intrusion prevention system. While the probability of exploit is arguably contained, the vulnerability remains.

This is one of the reasons why understanding vulnerability is essential: without understanding it is impossible to recognize what will and will not be effective in managing them, what risks will still exist, or what vulnerabilities were not addressed.

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